A Brief Look at Crime 9/14 – 9/20

Man Admits Killing Brother at Atlantic City Casino Hotel

A Philadelphia man who fatally beat his younger brother in an Atlantic City casino hotel room last year has pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter. John Villante, 39, entered his plea Thursday, according to Atlantic County prosecutors. He’s scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 26. Villante’s younger brother, Joseph, was found May 28 in a hotel room at Harrah’s casino. An autopsy determined the 32-year-old Philadelphia man died from numerous injuries, including blunt force trauma to the head. Investigators also found defensive wounds on the victim’s hands. Villante was arrested two days later in Philadelphia. At that time, he denied any involvement in the death, telling police his brother must have fallen in the shower.

Arizona woman arrested for allegedly stealing $1 million from international poker star

An Arizona woman accused of stealing $1 million worth of gambling chips, cash and other valuables from the home of a professional poker player has been arrested in Nevada. International champion Antonio Esfandiari and his father, Bejan Esfandiari had just returned home from a trip to California on July 13,m when they discovered $150,000 in cash and another $300,000 to $500,000 in poker chips were missing from their safe inside the Panorama Towers condominium near the Strip, according to the Las Vegas-Review Journal. Police said a platinum diamond bracelet worth $350,000, a Hublot Aerofusion watch worth $35,000, a Cartier watch worth $6,000, a Gucci silver watch worth $2,000, a Patek Philippe watch valued at $7,000 and a gold suitcase were also taken. Esfandiari, who has been on the poker-playing scene for more than 20 years, told authorities that only one other person, a woman identified Svitlana Silva, had access to the residence. The 46-year-old suspect had been living with Esfandiari and his father on and off for a few months, the Journal reported. She also had regularly used his iPhone and iPad which had similar passwords to the key code on the safe, according to the police report.

Giants’ DeAndre Baker hit with $100K civil suit alleging he stole $74K from three men at gunpoint in Florida

Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker is now facing a $100,000 civil lawsuit from three men alleging he robbed them at gunpoint on May 13. Meanwhile, Judge Mariya Weekes has pushed the arraignment for Baker’s criminal case, with regards to the same incident, from September 15 to January 20, 2021, which is well after the 2020 NFL regular season is slated to conclude. The 22-year-old already faces four charges of armed robbery for allegedly robbing four men at gunpoint and pushing an accomplice to shoot one of them at a gambling party in Miramar, Florida.

As reported by the New York Daily News, Baker is on the NFL’sCommissioner Exempt List — which means Baker wouldn’t be able to play in the NFL this season unless he resolves his case in some other way at an earlier date. While the Giants have not released Baker or assigned another player his famous jersey No. 27, insiders told the Daily News in July that they did not expect him to remain a part of the team much longer. That said, the new lawsuit filed in Broward County Court on Monday, August 31, includes a civil action summons requiring law enforcement agencies and Baker to supply all relevant information and a written defense respectively. All three plaintiffs have reportedly demanded a jury trial.

Colchester, Connecticut Woman Sentenced to Prison for Gambling Motivated Embezzlement 

John H. Durham,United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that [a Colchester woman] was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Kari A. Dooley in Bridgeport to six months of imprisonment, followed by two years of supervised release, for embezzling from her employer. According to court documents and statements in court today, [she] was employed as a bookkeeper for Greylock Property Group LLC and its owner. Between approximately July 2017 and August 2018, [she] used her access to her employers’ bank accounts to embezzle $413,180 of their money by making withdrawals at ATMs, writing checks to herself, and transferring funds to her own accounts. Judge Dooley ordered [her] to make full restitution, and to participate in mental health treatment and a gambling addiction treatment program while she is on supervised release.

Guns and gambling: New details in the mysterious disappearance and death of Vida Smith

The mystery surrounding Vida Smith’s disappearance and death involves gambling and guns, CBC News has learned. Kevin Barton, 60, is charged with manslaughter, accused of killing Smith, 69, who was his friend and business partner. Her body has not been found since her disappearance in Calgary earlier this summer. The relationship between the accused and his alleged victim involved blackjack card counting with ties to casinos across the country and in Las Vegas, according to sources. Barton is now also charged with 27 firearms-related offences. The offence date listed on court documents is July 30, the day Barton was arrested. Some of the charges involve allegations that five guns — two rifles and three handguns — were found in a Cadillac Escalade, the same vehicle police allege Barton travelled to Edmonton in the day after Smith was last seen. CBC News has agreed not to identify members of Calgary’s gambling community, casino employees and police officers connected to the investigation who spoke about Barton.

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


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