A Brief Look at Crime 05/18 – 05/24

Bookmakers are accused of trying to lure back problem gamblers during coronavirus lockdown with promotions on social media

Bookmakers have been accused of using ‘predatory’ tactics to lure back former gambling addicts during the coronavirus lockdown. With betting shops closed, firms have flooded social media with promotions offering welcome bonuses of up to £1,500. Health professionals, addiction specialists and MPs said people who had kicked their habit were struggling to cope with the targeted adverts, texts and emails. The country’s top mental health official said the deliberate targeting of ex-addicts was ‘shameless’ and ‘below the belt’. And a report by a former detective has accused bookmakers of failing to check whether gamblers are using stolen money. 

The Daily Mail’s Stop the Gambling Predators campaign continues to call for greater protection for addicts. This is vital because the suspension of sports means betting companies are pouring their efforts into advertising online casinos, which are more addictive. Almost one in ten of those who play online slots or use casino and bingo websites are problem gamblers compared to 2.5 per cent of those who place sports bets, according to the most recent analysis by the Gambling Commission. Experts fear that vulnerable gamblers trapped at home are being lured by adverts, which offer free spins and welcome bonuses, on platforms including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Claire Murdoch, NHS mental health director, told The Sunday Times: ‘These tactics are shameless. They are predatory and need to stop.

Phoenix Police Search Suspected Cockfighting Operation Site 

A search of a suspected cockfighting operation resulted in 10 people being given citations and numerous roosters being seized, Phoenix police said Friday. Spectators tried to run off when police animal cruelty investigators and Arizona Humane Society personnel arrived to conduct the search Thursday, police said in a statement. According to police, 203 roosters and two dogs described as being in poor health were seized. Investigators obtained a search warrant as a result of a call reporting possible animal cruelty and gambling., police said. Police said their investigation continued.

Mai Vu Vang Arrested In Georgia After Eluding Arrest For 2 Years For $450,000 Swindle

A Brooklyn Center woman was arrested in Georgia last month after allegedly eluding the authorities for more than two years. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman says 51-year-old Mai Vu Vang was brought back to Minneapolis over the weekend; she faces six counts of theft by swindle for a scam that allegedly stole nearly half a million dollars from the Minnesota Hmong community. Court documents say Vang left for Georgia while an investigation by the Fridley Police Department and Minnesota Commerce Fraud Bureau was still active. In June 2017 she was charged in Clark County with false reporting of a crime and obstruction of law enforcement officers. The Hennepin County attorney filed the theft by swindle charges by warrant in December 2017.

Charges in Hennepin County accuse her of orchestrating a fraud scheme — by convincing people to invest in a ginseng farm she claimed to own near Wausau, Wisconsin. Nine victims lost a total of more than $450,000, according to investigators. They say one couple who new Vang from church “gave her their life savings.” At the same time, according to investigators Mystic Lake Casino records show that Vang spent more than one million dollars at the casino between 2012 and 2014. Investigators say “her buy-in increased each year as she took money from the victims,” from less than $75,000 in 2012 to nearly $665,000 in 2014.

Third murder arrest connected to a Jacksonville August robbery

Rayshawnda Robertson was arrested on murder and robbery charges in connection with the death of Clyde Anthony Hamilton back in August. Jacksonville police announced Thursday that they arrested a third person in connection with an August robbery that turned deadly when a security guard was shot. Rayshawnda Robertson, 21, was arrested Wednesday on charges of murder and armed robbery. Last August, police said, a man and woman tried to rob an internet casino, and during the robbery, someone shot Clyde Anthony Hamilton, a 37-year-old security guard who later died. Police didn’t say if they believed they knew who shot the guard. In Florida, someone who commits a felony can be convicted of murder if anyone dies as a result of that felony. Now, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said a police investigation led them to Robertson as a third suspect. It’s not clear what role Robertson Played. Police already arrested Anthony Craig Ansley, a 23-year-old initially identified as Robertson’s boyfriend, and Dewayne Carson Flowers Jr., 30. Ansley and Flowers were also charged with two other robberies.

11 individuals charged with taking Tribal casino funds, includes former Tribal Council members

The charges relate to wrongdoing first uncovered in a Notice of Violation issued by the National Indian Gaming Commission in April 2019. The NIGC, the federal agency that regulates tribal gaming, alleged that nearly $1.5 million dollars of funds had been taken by individuals at the expense of tribal resources, in violation of the laws and regulations that restrict how casino revenues can be used.

The lawsuits filed in the St. Croix Tribal Court allege the defendants used their connections with Tribal and Casino leadership to request payments from the Tribe’s casinos. In some cases, the Tribe alleges the defendants received thousands of dollars in travel advances without providing documentation that the trip occurred, failed to return unused amounts, and sought reimbursement for the same trips from other tribal programs. In other cases, the Tribe alleges the defendants received payments for various projects that never materialized. The Tribe seeks a return of all unlawful payments, damages, and for the defendants that are members of the St. Croix Tribe, a declaration that they are ineligible to run for Tribal Council in the future.

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