A Brief Look at Crime 9/07 – 9/13

2 Charged In Alleged $4 Million Gambling Scheme Involving Livermore Casino Dealer

Two people have been charged in an alleged Livermore gambling scheme involving a theft of about $4 million, state prosecutors said Monday. Husband and wife Eric Nguyen and Khan “Tina” Tran were charged and arraigned in connection with the alleged theft from the 580 Casino in Livermore where Tran worked as a Baccarat dealer. Prosecutors allege that the pair conspired to cheat at Baccarat between 2015 and 2017. Allegedly Tran would look at the sequence of cards and disclose that sequence to Nguyen who would place large bets when he saw the sequence. Prosecutors charged Tran and Nguyen with felony grand theft, conspiracy to commit grand theft as well as an enhancement that alleges a theft of more than $500,000. The pair was arrested May 6 in Harris County, Texas.

The ‘Lottery Lawyer’ promised winners he’d protect their money. Then he stole millions, feds say

For nearly a decade, Jason Kurland promoted himself as the go-to lawyer for lottery winners. If his self-proclaimed moniker of the “Lottery Lawyer” wasn’t enough, he also did endless interviews and tweeted at winners, always with the hashtag #callme. His promise was simple: He would help them navigate the lottery system and protect big winners from the predators coming for their cash. In fact, Kurland was the one stealing tens of millions from his clients, federal prosecutors said on Tuesday. And he allegedly worked with a known mob associate to execute his scheme. An indictment from the U.S. attorney of the Eastern District of New York alleges that Kurland, 46, defrauded three lottery winning clients out of $107 million. One of his alleged partners was Christopher Chierchio, 52, who prosecutors say is a known soldier for the Genovese crime family. “The defendants callously thought they could line their pockets with lottery winnings without consequence, but today their luck ran out,” said Seth D. DuCharme, the acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, in a news release.

Nearly 60 Gaming Machines Seized in Illegal Gambling Raid

Pennsylvania State Police along with Berks County law enforcement officers seized nearly 60 electronic gaming machines during a raid on a business, authorities said Friday. Berks County District Attorney John Adams announced Thursday’s operation during a news conference, saying almost $68,000 had been confiscated along with the machines from the 777 Casino in Kenhorst, Pennsylvania, operated by Windfall Amusements. No charges had been filed as of Friday in what Adams said was an ongoing investigation. Adams said the tip about allegedly illegal gambling machines came from an anonymous source who contacted the State Police. He said investigators read about the business in newspaper articles because the operators had sought approvals from several borough entities to adjust its hours of operations and to add additional gaming machines. Capt. James Jones with the State Police said it’s not unusual for gaming facilities to operate in the open.

Woman stole nearly $246,000 from employer, charges say

A Montgomery woman is accused of embezzling nearly $246,000 from her employer over the past five years to pay for personal items, trips and gambling. Anderson Engineering is an engineering and investigation services company in New Prague. The company said funds were stolen over various time periods between 2015 and 2020. Whiteis said that when confronted with the accusations, Mills resigned and allegedly admitted to the embezzlement. The complaint said Mills stole the funds by paying herself more via payroll, personal charges on company cards, theft through PayPal transactions and thefts from bank accounts. Authorities said that in a taped interview, after being advised of her rights, Mills said she used the money for personal purchases and trips and that she gambled. Mills allegedly said she intended to pay back the funds but that “it got completely out of control.”

Third arrest made in murder case linked to ‘illegal gambling den’ in Paradise Hills home

Homicide detectives have arrested a third man suspected of taking part in a June killing at a Paradise Hills home where two of the suspects, who are brothers, were allegedly running an illegal gambling den and cannabis grow operation.  Investigators arrested the third suspect, 30-year-old Joshua Barnum, on Tuesday on suspicion of murder, according to San Diego police homicide Lt. Andra Brown. Barnum is accused of taking part in the June 5 slaying of 44-year-old San Diego resident Sean Heidleberg Nixon, who was strangled with a strap from a tent used for growing cannabis, prosecutors said. During court hearings in July and last week for the Sales Montano brothers, Deputy District Attorney Michael Reilly described what allegedly led up to the June 5 slaying. Reilly said the brothers were running the gambling den out of the garage of a home on Freed Manor Lane, south of Bullock Drive, in Paradise Hills. According to the prosecutor, Nixon attempted to take a fanny pack containing $30 and was initially kicked out, but was later allowed back inside. Later that night, the brothers “launched a surprise, coordinated attack” on Nixon while the victim’s back was turned, Reilly said.

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