Daily Archives: February 5, 2020

A Brief Look at Crime 01/20 – 02/02

Former casino director of benefits accused of stealing $75K in gift cards

The former director of benefits for Penn National Gaming is facing charges after authorities say she stole and used more than $75,000 worth of gift cards intended for the company’s employees. According to a news release from the Berks County district attorney’s office, Denise M. Bitler, 56, of Collegeville is facing charges that include theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received,theft by unlawful taking or disposition, theft by deception, access device fraud, unlawful use of a computer and receiving stolen property. Berks County detectives began their investigation July 9 when they were contacted by Penn National Gaming in Wyomissing, which owns and operates 41 casinos and racetracks in 19 states, including the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Grantville. The losses suffered by Penn National in this case come to $75,350, according to detectives. Charges were filed Wednesday, and Bitler surrendered to the authorities Thursday.

Elderly mother of former Virginia state lawmaker indicted on felony embezzlement charges

The 89-year-old mother of a late former state lawmaker is accused of stealing more than $180,000 over a three-year stretch from an American Legion Women’s Auxiliary in Hampton, where she had been treasurer for more than four decades. Anna S. Gear — who lives in a nursing home and turns 90 in February — was indicted by a Hampton grand jury on Dec. 2 with eight counts of felony embezzlement from the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 48 between February of 2015 and May of 2018. One of Anna Gear’s sons said that “all of the money” went to another son, former state Del. Thomas D. “Tom” Gear, to feed his gambling addiction. It came to light, he said, when Tom Gear died by suicide in June 2018. “He was a compulsive gambling addict of the worst kind,” said Donald “Don” Gear, 58, of Hampton. “Sports gambling and day trading on the stock market on the margin. He would go to casinos. And he frequently did all three of these things at the same time … He had a bookmaker and was always going to Atlantic City.”

Dead dogs allegedly fed to spectators of dog-fighting ring

Police in Brazil made a grisly discovery after raiding an international dog-fighting ring in which organizers allegedly barbecued the losing animals and fed them to its spectators. Brazilian police said 41 people — including doctors, veterinarians, a military police officer, foreigners and teenagers — were arrested last Saturday when they stormed a farm in Mairipora on the outskirts of Sao Paulo’s metropolitan area. Authorities said they rescued 19 pit bulls — some were seriously injured and others dead — and found a barbecue with a large piece of dog meat that was served to participants at the event. The suspects face charges of criminal association, mistreatment of animals with aggravating death and gambling.

‘Crazy Eddie’ nephew accused of cheating investors of $800K, gambling their money

The nephew of “Crazy” Eddie Antar was charged with theft on Tuesday for allegedly stealing nearly $800,000 from investors in New Jersey and New York and using much of the money to gamble. Sam A. Antar, 44, of New York, also was named in a civil complaint filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, authorities said. Antar’s victims trusted him to invest their money as promised, said Veronica Allende, director of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice. “Instead he allegedly used their money for gambling or spent it on himself and his family.”

Suspect in Montana Casino Shooting Had Long Criminal History

A Montana man connected to a casino shooting that left three people dead had a long criminal history and was being sought by police before the attack, according to public records and court documents filed Wednesday. Deputy U.S. marshals shot and killed 41-year-old Ricky Lee Gardipee early Tuesday in the city of Great Falls, about a mile (1.5 kilometers) away from the Emerald City Casino where three people were killed and a fourth was wounded, a coroner said. The Great Falls Tribune reports that Gardipee also was wanted for misdemeanor assault at the time of the shooting, which occurred about 2 a.m. Tuesday in the casino along one of the city’s main commercial strips. He was fatally shot about three hours later behind an elementary school. Police found the three bodies inside the casino when they arrived. The victims were 53-year-old Cheryl Ann Larsen, 60-year-old Wendy Joanne Carlson and 61-year-old Steve Mitchell Hale.

4 Staten Islanders charged in $11M illegal gambling operation

Six men from Staten Island and New Jersey — including a reputed Bonanno crime family captain — have been charged with allegedly running an illegal Internet-based gambling operation that netted more than $11 million in wagers, the Brooklyn district attorney announced on Wednesday. The alleged scheme, which ran between Sept. 2018 and March 2019, involved members of the conspiracy accepting sports wagers for professional and collegiate games from customers through various means from Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island, New Jersey and elsewhere, according to a release from the office of Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. “Illegal gambling is not a victimless crime, but an unlawful conduct that is often connected to loansharking, money laundering and to organized crime,” Gonzalez said. “These defendants are charged with allegedly running lucrative gambling operations that took in millions of dollars in bets. We have now shut down their enterprises and will seek to hold them accountable.”

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