A Brief Look at Crime 07/13 – 07/19

Woman Left 4 Year Old Girl Alone While She was Gambling

A New Jersey  woman who pleaded guilty to leaving her 4-year-old girl alone in a hotel room while she gambled at an eastern Pennsylvania  casino last fall has been placed on five years’ probation. LehighValleyLive.com reports that 27-year-old Rebecca Yandoli said Tuesday she’s taken steps to make sure that such a thing wouldn’t happen again, and Northampton County prosecutors then agreed that probation was appropriate.

Police were called to the Wind Creek Casino in Bethlehem around 4 a.m.on Nov. 16 after the girl was found wandering alone in the casino’s hotel lobby. The girl told the officers she was looking for Yandoli, who was soon found gambling on the main floor of the casino. Authorities say the Whitehouse Station resident told officers she had left the girl alone in the hotel room around 1:15 a.m. and then went to gamble. She pleaded guilty in February to child endangerment. Her attorney said she had an “overwhelming compulsion” to gamble.

FBI credits counter terrorism task force with thwarting a Tampa mass-shooting potentially planned for a casino

Federal investigators allege 23-year-old Muhammed AI-Azhari, of Tampa, was in the process of secretly buying high-poweredguns and silencers and was also researching IEDs, suicide vests, and explosive poisons. The complaint says he scoped out potential targets like Honeymoon Island and the FBI’s Tampa Field Office, but also researched Clearwater Beach, Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa and the Seminole Hard Rock Casino. “It’s the casino’s size and the amount of people in there it would’ve been a pristine target for him,” said local counter terrorism expert Bill Warner.   “And once in there, if he set up a position near the front door or just inside the front door all those people couldn’t get out.”

The complaint shows the FBI had been tracking AI-Azhari for some time. In 2015, he was sentenced to three years on terrorism charges in Saudi Arabia before he was deported to the United States in December of 2018 living in both Florida and California. He returned to Tampa in 2019, and less than a year later in April of 2020, federal investigators say he began trying to purchase guns illegally on eBay. He was arrested May 1 by Tampa Police after the complaint alleges he showed up at a Tampa Home Depot, where he worked, carrying a gun.

Helena man sentenced for stealing $390K from armored truck

A former armored truck company employee convicted at trial of spending stolen money from the company he worked for on gambling, day trading and a trip to France was sentenced Monday to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release. After a four-day trial in January, a jury found John Gregory Alexander Herrin, 30, of Helena, guilty of one count of interstate transportation of stolen property and eight counts of money laundering. 

Herrin went to Las Vegas twice in 2014, stayed in a high-end casino, gambled and went shopping with a female companion. He made large cash deposits at the casino and bought a watch for $22,600 with cash. On return from his first trip, Herrin deposited a casino cashier’s check for $123,500 and $37,350 cash, for a total of $160,870, into his checking account. Prior to the deposit, Herrin’s account had a $945.65 balance, according to prosecutors. Herrin allegedly told the bank teller he went to Las Vegas with $500 and won $160,000 gambling.

1 killed, 2 injured in Merritt Island shootout over gambling dispute

A 19-year-old man was killed and two others were injured Wednesday evening during a shootout on Merritt Island that stemmed from a gambling dispute, according to News 6 partner Florida Today reported. The triple shooting happened around 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Courtenay Palms Apartments in the 700 block of North Courtenay Parkway. Brevard County sheriff’s deputies responded to the complex and found three people suffering from gunshot wounds. Investigators were looking into whether one of the shooting victims went to the complex to confront the others when a shootout broke out. The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office did not return calls about the shooting or confirm whether there were any suspects on the loose or other public safety concerns. The shooting death becomes Brevard County’s 15th reported homicide for the year.

Treasurer steals more than £18,000 from charity pre-school to fund spiralling gambling problem

A trusted pre-school group treasurer stole more than £18,400 in a “despicable” breach of trust to help fund a spiralling gambling problem. She tried to pretend that the charitable organisation’s bank account had been repeatedly hacked in a bid to “cover her tracks” but her actions could have jeopardised the future of the group and its committee felt betrayed by her blatant lies, a court heard. Jeremy Evans, prosecuting, told Grimsby Crown Court  that the offence of “bookkeeper fraud” was a case of Dennis “robbing Peter to pay Paul” to fund a gambling addiction. “She would handle all the payments from clients, bills and staff wages that wanted payment,” said Mr Evans. The committee said that [she] “blatantly lied” to them and they felt “betrayed” by her and “foolish for believing her fabricated stories”.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION


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