Daily Archives: November 18, 2020

A Brief Look at Crime 11/09 – 11/15

‘Conman’ stockbroker jailed for defrauding clients 

A stockbroker who funded a jet-set lifestyle by stealing his clients’ money has been jailed for six years. James Bufton, 26, stole more than £250,000 from eight victims – including a dying man, close friends and his own family – and spent it on his gambling addiction, hotel stays and helicopter flights to the Cheltenham races. When they demanded their money back and he started receiving threats, Bufton attempted to defraud HM Revenue & Customs of almost £1.3 million to meet his spiralling debts. Newport Crown Court heard that Bufton, who ran two finance companies, sweet-talked his victims with promises of high returns if they invested in non-existent stocks and shares. Timothy Evans, prosecuting, said that when the financial returns failed to materialise, Bufton would “rob Peter to pay Paul”. He spun them a web of lies, including claiming he had a brain tumour. Passing sentence, Judge Daniel Williams told Bufton: “You certainly sought to portray yourself as a successful and trustworthy investor with a lifestyle to match your glittering success. “You consumed much of it on conspicuous displays of wealth and gambled much of it away too.

Former union head accused of embezzling military labor union’s funds for online gambling

The former head of the New England chapter of the United States Army mechanics union was indicted earlier this week over claims he embezzled nearly $39,000 in funds from the organization and used the money to cover gambling costs, authorities said. Oldham, who is from Whitman, Massachusetts, was indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday and arrested on charges of wire fraud, knowingly making false statements and filing false tax returns, according to authorities. The union is comprised of military and civilian mechanics employed by the U.S. Army, and the New England chapter’s local office is in Taunton. After his predecessor retired, Oldham gained sole control of the union account, and that is when the alleged wire fraud scheme started, prosecutors said.

$7M Sports Betting Software Scheme Leads to Likely Prison Sentence for Alleged Utah Fraudster 

A Utah man has pleaded guilty to taking part in an allegedly fraudulent multi-million-dollar athletic wagering software plot via a business identified as Sindakit Software LLC. He now faces a 10-year sentence in prison. Christopher D. Hales, age 39, of Lehi, entered the plea last week in Utah federal court to wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy charges. The illicit plan led “investors” to lose at least $7 million, prosecutors revealed. The investors were promised their money would be turned into winning wagers by using the firm’s software. But the allegedly fraudulent enterprise did not have a proprietary sports betting software or even an algorithm, prosecutors said. Hales allegedly cooked up the plot with an unnamed co-conspirator in 2018 when Hales was in a halfway house for a sentence from an earlier fraud case, according to a statement from Utah US Attorney John W. Huber.

Coonan admits Crown ‘enabled’ money laundering at casino

Crown Resorts chairman Helen Coonan has conceded the casino giant facilitated money laundering at its Melbourne casino, but blamed it on “ineptitude” rather than the company deliberately “turning a blind eye” to criminals banking their dirty cash with the company. The comments made in evidence to the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority’s probity inquiry into Crown on Tuesday came a day after the financial crimes watchdog, AUSTRAC, said it was formally Crown for potential breaches of anti-money laundering laws. During her second day of evidence at the inquiry, Ms Coonan was asked about Crown’s relationship with its largest high-roller “junket” tour partner, Suncity, which is run by the alleged former Macau triad member Alvin Chau. Suncity operated a private gaming room at Crown Melbourne up until late last year when the Macau-based junket shut it down following reports in /The Age/, /Sydney Morning Herald/ and 60 Minutes  about Mr Chau’s criminal links. That series of reports triggered the ILGA inquiry, which will recommend whether Crown should keep the licence for its new Sydney casino at Barangaroo.

Police Confiscate Guns in Crackdown on Las Vegas Strip Violence

Police are seizing guns and arresting dozens of people while attempting to stem violent crime on the Las Vegas Strip. Last Friday and Saturday, authorities confiscated 10 illegal firearms and seized nearly $30,000 in cash during the effort, according to /KLAS-TV/. Authorities also made 110 arrests last weekend as part of the crackdown. Of that total, 38 were felony arrests. Police made nearly 600 “proactive stops” during this period. Most were pedestrian stops. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and Nevada Highway Patrol are working together in what police call Operation Persistent Pressure to quell a surge in violence along the resort corridor. The increase in violence has left several people wounded in gunfire at or near major resorts on the Strip. Sheriff Joe Lombardo conceded this violence could hurt tourism if ignored. However, he stressed his department is devoting resources to stop the violence.

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