A Brief Look at Crime 10/12 – 10/18

Tourists, employees talk about violent incidents on the Las Vegas Strip

People vacationing in Las Vegas say their visits are not the same as they used to be. With more than 1,100 recent arrests, many say they aren’t comfortable going out at night. And it’s not only people visiting who are concerned, it is also employees who work in the tourist corridor. They say it is different, and they hope something is done before it gets worse. “It is scary, you know,” said Joe Won, visiting from Texas. “After 9’clock, a different type of crowd comes out, and it is just uncomfortable with me and the family.” Randy Bennett, visiting from Florida, said, “It feels a little differently right now. I don’t see as many of the security people as what used to be I felt on bicycles.”

“We have been noticing a trend out there since August,” said Sheriff Joe Lombardo in an interview earlier Wednesday. “We have increased substantially the officers that are present throughout the weekends, on Fridays and Saturdays,” Lombardo revealed. He says he believes they have mitigated a lot of problems: “We have effected over 1,000 arrests since we have been concentrating on those two particular areas. And interesting enough, sad enough, we have recovered over 60 firearms.” Lombardo says 40% of the arrests were felonies. On Facebook Live Wednesday, we asked people if they feel safe. Strip workers responded. One restaurant waiter wrote: “There are people who are clearly carrying firearms and using them, and fights are a daily occurrence.”  A cab driver said: “The clientele we have been receiving lately is making us cab drivers feel unsafe and on edge … I’ve had countless customers say that they will not come back to Vegas because they don’t feel safe.”

Man defrauded employer out of more than $9 million

A Wisconsin man will serve three years in prison after he defrauded his former employer out of millions of dollars, spending the funds on vacations, college tuition, online gambling and more, federal authorities said. Gold, who ran the company’s accounting and billing systems, was linked to two separate schemes that defrauded his former employer out of more than $9 million, authorities said. Finkle worked in sales.  From February 2015 through December 2018, Finkle conspired with Gold and Kenneth Pedroli, another employee, to defraud the company, authorities said. Authorities said the trio hatched a plan to buy electronic components that Pedroli made from JST for a business he ran in New York. As part of the scheme, authorities said, Finkle told Pedroli to put his orders and list prices at a fraction of JST’s published prices. Once Pedroli’s orders were submitted to JST at the discounted prices, the products were shipped to him. Finkle told Pedroli to pay only a portion of the invoice price and make the payments directly to him, authorities said.

Online gambling cyberattacks spike during pandemic lockdown

Malicious cyberattacks against online gambling sites soared during the pandemic lockdown as scammers looked to take advantage of the sites’ increased popularity. Technology analytics firm Neustar Security recently released its /Cyber Threats & Trends Report: Jan-Jun 2020/ which details a 151% surge in the number of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period last year. Worse, these attacks are getting more powerful and lasting longer. While attacks at the lower end of the scale involving 5 Gigabits (Gbps) or lower per second were up over 200% year-on-year – and such attacks represented over 70% of observed attacks – those at the other extreme (involving 100 Gbps or more) were up around 275%.

Schuylkill Co. mini-casino accused of using illegal gambling machines

Across the street from Minersville’s Spin City, former U.S. Congressman Tom Marino called for its shutdown. “This place has illegal slot machines. We at Pace-O-Matic, our games are legal. We have skilled games not like a slot machine,” said Marino. He now works for Pennsylvania Skill and conducted an investigation on Spin City with former prosecutors, and delivered their report to the Schuylkill County DA’s Office. “Eighty percent of the market across Pennsylvania has illegal poker machines and the only ones legally allowed to have slot machines are casinos,” said Marino.

Vegas casinos on notice after Boyd levied $300,000 fine

The Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) is sending a message – a loud and expensive one – to casinos in Las Vegas and elsewhere across the state. Last week, reports surfaced that a couple of security officers at Boyd Gaming’s Fremont Hotel & Casino had gone all Rambo-like on a patron who had been accused of stealing from another. Instead of taking the high road and handling the situation with civility, the officers reportedly jumped into full tactical mode and are said to have acted like they had captured an Al-Qaeda operative. After the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) got involved, it conducted and forwarded its findings to the NGC for the final resolution. The commission has now spoken and has slapped Boyd with a $300,000 fine.

MGC Chairman John Moran Jr. said after the commission met last Thursday to go over the NGCB’s findings that he was “very troubled” by what had transpired, but was reluctant to support the NGCB’s recommended fine. He was reluctant because he didn’t feel it was enough. He would have been happy to sign off on a more severe punishment and will in the future if similar events are reported. He warned casino operators to toe the line appropriately, stating, “I am not going to support only a $300,000 fine. It’s going to be a lot more.”

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

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