Monthly Archives: December 2020

Guest Article: Editorial: Why won’t state and local officials enforce Missouri gaming laws?

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing issue of shutting down illegal slot machines that popped up all over in Missouri gas stations and similar business.  Those machines were finally the subject of a proper lawsuit  giving way to full enforcement of Missouri’s regulations to only allow slot machines in regulated casinos.  However, that enforcement has been almost non-existent.  Nearly two months ago it was reported that enforcement wasn’t happening as expected  and it doesn’t seem to have picked up too much.  The following article is from the Editorial Board at the St Louis Post Dispatch and can be read in its entirety HERE, with a few highlights below: 

It is illegal in Missouri to host gambling machines except in licensed casinos. The law is clear on that, and just for good measure, a judge in September confirmed it. So why are state officials and local prosecutors still failing to confront the bars and gas stations that are hosting thousands of these unlicensed video gambling machines?

Some argue that gambling should be legalized across the state altogether, if only because it’s already everywhere anyway. But legalization must come with oversight and taxation, which still isn’t being applied to these rogue games. That must change, especially at a time when the state should be scrounging for every bit of revenue it can find.

At issue are some 14,000 video machines in business venues all over the state that players pay to play on the chance of making more money back. If that sounds like exactly what goes on in a casino, well, it is. Yet the machines aren’t licensed, taxed or regulated by the state, in blatant violation of Missouri’s gaming statutes…

There is no reasonable justification for it. They’re just doing it, and getting away with it, in large part because the industry lobbies heavily and contributes to politicians’ campaigns, including Gov. Mike Parson’s.

The fact is, the judge’s ruling wasn’t even necessary for state officials and local prosecutors to move on this. The purveyors of these machines are breaking the law. Until the law changes, they and the business venues that host them should be raided, prosecuted and fined. Period. They have gambled on Missouri’s patience long enough.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 12/14 -12/20

‘Monster’ Granny Murdered Her Husband And A Lookalike Woman To Feed Gambling Addiction

David Riess was a kind, small-town Minnesota worm farmer, but as a former family friend put it, his wife, Lois Riess a “monster.” It was Lois who murdered David at their home in March 2018 before fleeing to Florida, where she killed a look-alike stranger, Pamela Hutchinson. Same murder weapon: a 22-caliber pistol. Same modus operandi: bodies left to rot in a bathroom, where towels were positioned to hide the horrid smell of decomposition. Same motive: to snag money to feed her gambling addiction. 

At the end, Lois’ crimes spanned two states. She was prosecuted first in Florida, where she faced an array of charges including homicide, grand theft, grand theft auto, and identity theft   — which meant the possibility of the death penalty. But due to an “overburdened” legal system, justice would be delayed, according to Grace. Eventually, in December 2019, prosecutors took the death penalty off the table in exchange for a guilty plea from Lois. She was sentenced to life prison for the murder of Hutchinson — whom she eventually admitted she killed because they looked alike.

Macau Clamps Down on 97 Illegal Gambling Sites in 2020 (China)

Macau has reported that *97 websites* linked to illicit gambling or fraud have been shut so far in *2020*, and specifically covering the first eight months of the year through *August*. Macau police authorities arrested a number of individuals suspected of running the websites and facilitating illegal gambling transactions. Overall, *125 websites* were identified that broke the existing legislation that forbids online gambling activities. However, police was able to act against only *97* of those as the remainder of the websites was hosted overseas and beyond the reach of Macau authorities. All of these developments were featured in the *Policy Address 2021* published on *Monday*, and outlining Macau’s fight against illegal gambling operations. City Chief Executive *Ho Iat Seng* spoke during a Legislative Assembly meeting, and said that he and the government remained committed to fighting illegal gambling operations and raise awareness for responsible gambling.

Australian media regulator blocks 180 online illegal gambling sites

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) that is responsible for regulating internet and digital media in the country has blocked four more websites that host illegal gambling and casino services. The total has now reached 180 since the ACMA started to block illegal URLs from November 2019. The ACMA stated that these online gaming and gambling websites have violated Interactive Gambling Act of the country and have been blocked following complaints from the Australian customers.

Woman sentenced in St. Louis federal court to 2 years for embezzling from glass company

An O’Fallon, Missouri, woman was sentenced to two years in prison Thursday after pleading guilty to embezzling $433,000 from her employer. Susan E. Darrow was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Audrey Fleissig on one count of federal bank fraud after entering a guilty plea in August. In the plea agreement, Darrow admitted that from April 2014 to December 2019 she transferred money from the bank account of her employer, the Missouri Valley Glass Co., to her personal accounts. She started at the St. Charles County construction contractor as an office manager in 2013. Darrow spent large amounts of the money at casinos as well as to pay off home renovations and debt, according to her plea agreement. A tax consultant discovered the missing funds in 2019 and Darrow admitted to the embezzlement, according to the plea. The business owner had to take out personal loans to avoid bankruptcy as a result of the fraud, the plea states. In addition to prison time, Darrow was ordered to pay about $363,000 in restitution.

North Shore butcher who made $3.7M from illegal gambling business gets one year in prison 

The year Domenic Poeta purchased a $1.5 million home in Highland Park, the feds say he told the IRS he made less than $12,000. That was in 2008. The year before, Poeta allegedly reported $38,975 in income. In 2009, he reported $18,835. But prosecutors say the North Shore butcher’s spending managed to dwarf his reported income because he ran an illegal sports gambling business on the side. Poeta, 63, admitted earlier this year that he made more than $3.7 million from that bookmaking business between 2012 and 2017, dodging $1.4 million in taxes. So Monday, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly sentenced Poeta to a year in federal prison and ordered him to pay the $1.4 million he owes. “The amount involved here is pretty breathtaking, quite honestly,” Kennelly said during the hearing, which took place by videoconference. “And it’s quite likely an undercount by a pretty significant amount.” Prosecutors said they calculated the amount of taxes Poeta dodged only based on checks deposited into Poeta’s personal bank accounts by seven known gamblers in payment of losing wagers. They said Poeta actually began collecting illegal — and unreported — income long before 2012.

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

New Covid-19 Guidelines lower Las Vegas Casino Occupancy to 25%

Casino Watch Focus has long reported on the ongoing efforts to ensure covid-19 isn’t being spread through mass gambling activities.  Casinos have received tremendous criticism for not taking the popper precautions, both to protect the public, and to protect those workers at those operating casinos.  Employees have had to sue or act as whistleblowers to expose the labor issues seen in various casinos.  Most recently, there was criticism over Vegas casinos entwined in properly reporting key information to the public.  So its no surprise that this industry in particular is looked at as playing a more critical role in the spread of Covid-19.  As a result, new guidelines have been passed that limit the occupancy further in Las Vegas casinos.  The Las Vegas Review Journal reports:

In a Sunday press conference, Sisolak said effective 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, occupancy limitations at casinos and their bars and restaurants will be reduced from 50 percent to 25 percent. Sisolak said he has had conversations with “most gaming operators” in the last 24 hours, and said the full force of the Nevada Gaming Control Board will be behind the implementation and enforcement of the new requirements. He added that if casinos do not follow the new requirements, “they will suffer the consequences.”

Newly-appointed Control Board Chairman Brin Gibson said the state’s gaming regulatory body will vigorously enforce the new gaming floor occupancy restrictions among the state’s licensees. “The more successfully Nevada mitigates the current spread of COVID over the next several weeks, the more likely we are to experience a complete return to current gaming floor occupancy percentages at that point” he said. The Nevada Gaming Commission already has acted on nine complaints brought by the Control Board against licensees since late July.

A spokesperson for Caesars Entertainment Inc. said the company will comply with Sisolak’s orders. Its restaurants and bars will remain open and continue to offer to-go options, and guests at most of its Nevada resorts will have the option to order pick up or delivery to their hotel Room. Wynn Resorts Ltd. spokesman Michael Weaver said the company will also implement the directives of the pause. “We believe the Governor made a prudent decision that will protect public health,” he said.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 12/07 – 12/13

Gambler Kidnapped Son of Debtor Over $4 Million Loan

A kidnapper who snatched a 12-year-old boy off the street in a bid to recoup an AU$5.5 million ($4 million USD) gambling debt from the boy’s father apologized to his victim as he was handed a seven-year prison Tuesday. Australia’s ABC reports that Zhen Jie “Kenny” Zhang, 55, told the boy he was “deeply sorry” for the ordeal he subjected him to on May 11-12, 2018 when he bundled him into his Jeep outside his home on Australia’s Gold Coast. Zhang kept the boy prisoner for 16 hours, during which time a mask was tied onto his face. After he made several attempts to escape, a towel was stuffed into his mouth and his head was tied to a car seat. Prosecutors said the boy was only given water twice and allowed to urinate once during his period of captivity. Photographs of the boy in this state, described by prosecutors as “disturbing,” were shown to the court. A text was sent to his parents that read: “Watch out… wait for pick up the body.” The boy was found by police in the back of the car 150 miles away from where he had been abducted after a tip from a member of the public. “If you feel afraid please forgive me for that; your father was acting terribly [and] owed me a substantial amount of money,” the kidnapper told the boy in court through a Mandarin interpreter. “I felt I had no other option.”

Journalist Tied to a Pole, Beaten For Reporting on Illegal Gambling (India)

The image of a local journalist being tied to an electric pole while a group of men assault him in a broad daylight has gone viral in Assam. Milan Mahanta, a correspondent for the Assamese daily /Pratidin,/ had stopped at a /paan/ shop on Sunday afternoon at Mirza, a town located in Kamrup district, when the assault took place. Mirza is around 35 kilometres from state capital, Guwahati. Incidentally, the attack took place on the day the nation marked National Press Day. The incident has sparked uproar on social media, with many expressing concern for journalists working in Assam under the present political dispensation. Mahanta was on his way to attend a meeting when a group of seven men surrounded him and dragged him from the /paan/ shop before tying him to an electric pole with cables at Mirza Teeniali, a well-known spot  located in the centre of Mirza town. For the past week, Mahanta has been reporting on illegal gambling activities, which have been mushrooming with the onset of Diwali festivities. He angered an alleged local ruffian who, as accused by locals in Mirza, has also indulged in land grabbing activities.

New Research Shows Online Gambling Account Takeovers Are On the Rise, Especially During Covid-19 Lockdown

New research has revealed that over 50% of online gambling companies have faced an increase in fraud involving account takeover. The increase is presumably happening because of the surge in online gambling activity during the coronavirus lockdown that literally stripped them of land-based gambling options. The fraud detection and payment acceptance company /Ravelin/ shared that the results of a new survey showed that 52% of companies that operate in *the online gambling sector* have seen a considerable rise in account takeover activity over the past year. As /Ravelin/ explained, so-called “account takeover activity” is associated with fraudsters gaining access to a third-party account that does not belong to them to steal money.

In fact, online gambling operators remained in second place after only taxi companies in terms of the average number of account takeover attacks on an annual basis. *Online gambling firms saw an average of 60 account takeover attacks* on an annual basis, while taxi firms experienced 65 attacks on average. The results of the report showed that the attacks involve *unauthorized individuals getting customer details* to take control of their online accounts and then *sell the compromised data to third parties* or *use the account themselves* to spend large amounts on various goods or services.

Men pretended to be detectives so they could ‘confiscate’ gaming machines from Houston store, police say 

Houston police are looking for the suspects accused of impersonating a public servant so they could steal gaming machines from a store. The crime happened on Oct. 27 shortly after 8 p.m., according to the Houston Police Department. Two men walked into the Valero at 6915 Telephone and identified themselves as detectives with the gaming commission authority, and they told the clerk they had a seizure order to confiscate the machines due to illegal gambling. The men had badges and handguns. They also had dollies to load up the equipment on the back of large, white Chevrolet 2500 pickup truck. The suspects fled the scene and have not yet been identified or arrested. Houston police noted that Texas does not even have a state gaming commission, and the “seizure order” that was presented to the clerk had what appeared to have an official stamp and had a signature with a fake judge’s name. Police believe the pair may have done this before, but the victims may have feared reporting the crimes. Each of the stolen machines is valued at $2,500 plus any cash that was inside them.

Ex-office manager gets prison for $1 million embezzlement scheme

The former office manager of a Fayette County medical practice was sentenced Thursday to 28 months in federal prison for embezzling nearly $1 million over five years. U.S. District Judge Mark Hornak imposed that term on Cynthia Demniak, who had pleaded guilty in July to wire fraud and filing false tax returns following an investigation by the IRS and U.S. postal inspectors. Demniak, 60, of Leckrone, Pa., had been the office manager at Grandview Medical Management in Uniontown. Between 2013 and 2018, she embezzled $926,940 and used it for personal expenses and to feed her gambling addiction. For tax years 2013 through 2018, she also underreported the stolen money on her federal income tax returns and as a result owed $270,426 to the IRS.

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

Loot Box Gambling in Video Games Front and Center of new UK Legislative Efforts

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing efforts to classify loot boxes as gambling.  Most recently, the Netherlands issues huge fines against video game publisher EA over this gambling type mechanic in their game Fifa and Spain has shifted focus to regulating these loot boxes as gambling to help protect the children who play these video games.  The UK has been examining the issue for a while, and a new effort being pushed by a local legislator is placing loot boxes front and center.  An online source reports:

Midlothian MP Owen Thompson called for the updating of gambling laws to include tougher action to prevent children and young people being encouraged into gambling-like behaviours while using video games. After the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Minister Nigel Huddleston outlined plans for a forthcoming gambling review, the Midlothian MP called for it to include measures to regulate the use of “loot boxes” in video games. Academic research has linked loot box spending to problem gambling in adolescents.

Mr Thompson called for an extension of the Gambling Act 2005 to include loot boxes and action to prevent video game companies from profiteering on the back of young people who develop gambling-like addictions.

Mr Thompson said: “It is well past time the UK’s gambling laws were made fit for the digital age. Of particular concern is the rise in gambling in children under 16. One important step would be to close the loopholes that allow gambling-like tools to be excessively used in children’s video games. “Parents don’t care about the legal definitions of gambling – they want to know their children are safe when playing popular video games and that means tighter regulations to protect from online harms.

When describing the nature of loot boxes, Mr. Thompson points out that academic research has explained the link to problem gambling and that these video game companies are operating in a legal loophole that needs to be addressed.  The online source continues:

“The presence of loot boxes can encourage young people who are enjoying a video game to spend money they can’t afford in order to keep going, and academic research shows this is linked to problem gambling. It is a very short step between that and addictions to other forms of gambling games like slot machines.

“This is a loophole in the law that needs to be closed down so that tougher regulatory measures can be taken. The Vice Chair of EA Games described loot boxes as ethical and fun, but as a gamer myself I find they can be a costly distraction at best, and capable of encouraging online harm at worst. I find it highly unethical to profit from excessive spend from teenagers on games of chance.

“We cannot wait for the industry to take tougher action – the UK Government needs to tighten the laws and ensure everything possible is done to ensure children and young people are protected when online.”

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

A Brief Look at Crime 11/30 – 12/06

Two Las Vegas Men Indicted for Alleged Multimillion-Dollar Sports Betting Scheme

Two men in Las Vegas have been indicted on federal charges in Nevada for allegedly running a multimillion-dollar sports betting scheme and defrauding more than 600 investors. A federal grand jury returned a 14-count indictment against John Frank Thomas III, 75, and Thomas Joseph Becker, 72, both of Las Vegas. Each is facing a count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 13 counts of wire fraud.

US Attorney Nicholas Trutanich of the District of Nevada alleges that the two men advertised their supposed sports betting expertise to potential investors and promised large returns. Thomas and Becker marketed the following entities: Sports Psychometrics, Vegas Basketball Club, Vegas Football Club, Einstein Sports Advisory, Quantum Sports Advisory, Wellington Sports Club, and Welscorp, Inc. According to the DOJ, Thomas and Becker touted their “special insights” and strategies to generate, on average, a net return of between $40-80 per $100 wagered through their investment vehicles. Instead, the feds allege, the two were simply operating a Ponzi scheme.

Covid-19: Match-Fixing, Money Laundering & The Criminal Threat To Sport

During the month of October, 2020, FIFA and sports integrity monitors like Sportsradar have warned of a significant rise in match-fixing, money laundering and suspicious gambling patterns due to “the negative economic impact of Covid-19, as corruption becomes more organized”. They are joined by gambling companies, sports associations, business analysts and specialists in sports crime—to warn that lock-down has brought endemic fraud to sports fixtures—both in developing countries, and in Western leagues. Tan You Chen, Sportradar’s senior manager has speculated that “Match-fixers could even hide in plain sight by controlling teams and players through sponsorship deals”—a statement seconded by Interpol’s European branch, Europol. Chen also warned that “By becoming sponsors, they are now able to bring up to 5 players of their own group to the team, which makes it easier to control. Many clubs are struggling financially, some on the verge of bankruptcy, and are in desperate need of funds.”

PokerStars founder sentenced and fined for directing illegal gambling business in US

Isai Scheinberg, founder of PokerStars, has been sentenced to time served and a $30,000 fine after he plead guilty to the charge of directing illegal gambling business in United States. Scheinberg, 73-yard-old Israeli, confessed to the federal crime charge which effectively ended a prosecution going on from the year 2011. This confession could have meant 12-18 months of prison sentence for Scheinberg but considering the fact that he surrendered before US authorities and the PokerStars took on the $304 million of Full Tilt Poker’s liability worked in his favour. Considering the above circumstances, he was awarded the time already served by him in the US prison. PokerStars was created and founded by Scheinberg in 2011 based on his skills in mathematics and software development. The site of PokerStars created by him became the biggest online poker websites of all times. It landed in trouble for being violative of Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act in 2006, where US authorities seized the domain names of the websites and indicted Scheinberg and others for violation of the law.

Man Indicted for Embezzling $380K from Federal Law Enforcement Union

A federal grand jury returned an indictment this week charging a Quantico man with wire fraud in connection with his scheme to embezzle over $380,000 from his former union, which represented federal law enforcement officers. According to allegations in the indictment, Arthur Penn, 64, served from 1999 through 2015 as the Chairman of the Fraternal Order of Police Defense Protective Service Labor Committee Pentagon, a local union that represented officers of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency. During his tenure, Penn allegedly routinely embezzled funds from the Union for his personal benefit, and spent the stolen funds on gambling, to pay for a personal trip to the Dominican Republic, and for his day-to-day living expenses. Penn sought to conceal and prevent the detection of his embezzlement by failing to make regular reports to Union members, by violating his obligation to file regular financial reports with the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, and by siphoning off most of the embezzled funds through cash transactions, thereby avoiding the creation of financial records that would have revealed the fraud.

Circus Circus Shooting Leads to Arrest of Juvenile for Attempted Murder

An unnamed youngster was arrested on multiple charges for Saturday night’s shooting at Circus Circus Hotel and Casino’s Metrodome which left four wounded on the Las Vegas Strip, police announced Monday. The alleged assailant is charged with attempted murder, battery with a deadly weapon, discharging a firearm where person is endangered, and minor in possession of a firearm, the /Las Vegas Review-Journal/ said. The alleged shooter was apprehended Saturday night after he was located in a hotel room at Circus Circus. During a violent dispute at the Las Vegas Strip theme park, the “male juvenile … pulled out a handgun and fired at the victims,” according to police statements quoted by the Review-Journal.

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

Nationwide Smoking Ban in Casinos Pushed by Advocacy Group to Protect Public Against Covid-19

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the recent smoking ban proposals for casinos as a means to prevent the spread of coronavirus.  These efforts have been fairly localized, but the impact of such a policy is self-evident.  Covid-19 is widely spread through air particulates and exhaling smoke puts many particulates and germs in the air.  The extension of such a policy on a national level, could therefore have tremendous benefit in preventing the spread of the virus, especially in gambling venues that haven’t decreased the volume of gamblers in the facilities by a large about or those that force smokers to congregate in one area, thus drastically increasing the consolidation of germs in the air.  An advocacy group has taken note and is pushing the policy on a national level.  An online source explains: 

The largest advocacy group in the nation that seeks to ban smoking in casinos said Thursday operators should be denied any federal COVID-19 relief funds unless the gaming industry goes smoke-free. Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights took that message to the American Gaming Association ahead of the Washington D.C. trade organization’s semi-annual board meeting, scheduled for Friday.

“We take issue with casinos potentially receiving such relief funding, (which) is necessitated by a pandemic involving respiratory issues, while still permitting an activity – indoor smoking – that promotes the spread of COVID-19,” Cynthia Hallett, CEO of the Berkley, California-based Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, wrote in the letter. She wrote that Miller should use his “leadership position to make the argument to your members about why smoke-free indoors is a smart policy.”

In their letter, they not only point out the clearly obvious hazards to allowing smoking indoors during a pandemic, but also the need for a strong enforcement measure, including holding back Covid-19 relief funding if facilities fail to protect the public though a smoking ban,  The online source continues: 

In her letter to Miller, Hallett wrote that “industry arguments against going smoke-free have grown stale and do not withstand scrutiny.” Casinos throughout the U.S. have reopened under various COVID-19 health and safety guidelines calling for cleaning and social distancing protocols. Most properties require everyone on the casino floor – employees and guests alike – to wear masks or facial coverings at all times, unless eating or drinking.

“Guests who wear a mask but are allowed to remove it while inside to smoke are blowing potentially hazardous droplets into shared air for fellow guests and gaming employees to breathe in, which increases the risk for transmission of COVID-19, amongst other health risks,” Hallett wrote. “No credible public health official would approve of this, but it’s standard operating procedure in most casinos.”

he said the letter was also shared with members of the Congressional Gaming Caucus and other congressional members who are leading COVID-19 relief negotiations. “We request that you only accept taxpayer dollars, which we agree are needed to sustain gaming jobs and business operations, if casino operators agree to adopt a smoke-free indoor policy that would help to keep employees and guests safe,” Hallett wrote.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 11/23 – 11/29

Aria hotel-casino in Las Vegas receives $12K COVID-19 penalty from OSHA 

Aria hotel-casino in Las Vegas and Eureka Owl Club in Eureka each received penalties from the state for COVID-19 safety violations last week, according to the Division of Industrial Relations’ Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration, also known as OSHA. The citation to Aria Resort & Casino was issued after an investigation was initiated as a result of a complaint or referral filed with Nevada OSHA alleging workplace safety hazards. Nevada OSHA has issued a total of 177 notices of citation and penalty related to violations of required COVID-19 health and safety measures in effect since mid-March.

Criminals use Windows REvil ransomware to hit big casino supplier

Cyber criminals have used the Windows REvil ransomware to attack the Las Vegas-based Gaming Partners International Corporation, a manufacturer and supplier of casinos table game equipment. Its products include casino chips, table game layouts, playing cards, dice, gaming furniture, and accessories and it sells to casinos throughout the world.

A man who claimed to be a member of the REvil gang had said in an interview given to the YouTube channel RussianOSINT on 23 October that the group was getting ready to attack a major gaming development firm and an announcement would be made about it soon. He appears to have been referring to the attack on Gaming Partners International Corporation. The attackers claimed all servers and working computers at GPI had been compromised and the data encrypted. They said 540GB of data had been exfiltrated, including technical documents, financial documents and contracts with casinos in Las Vegas, Macao and Europe, adding that bank documents had also been stolen.

Woman dies in early morning shooting in Deadwood

Deadwood Police officers responded to a call of a shooting at The Buffalo Bodega Gaming Complex just after midnight Saturday. Upon arrival, officers discovered a female victim on the dance floor. Officers and medical personnel from the Lawrence County Ambulance Service began life-saving measures but they were unsuccessful. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. The victim’s identity is not being released pending family notification. The ongoing investigation will be completed by the Deadwood Police Department with assistance from the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department.

IT worker, 42, jailed after stealing 27 laptops from hospital

An IT worker has been jailed for more than two years after admitting to stealing 27 laptops worth over £12,000 from a hospital during the Covid-19 pandemic to pay off his gambling debts Neil Murthick, 42, who was employed as an agency worker, would steal two or three laptops at a time from Darlington Memorial Hospital and sell them to fund his gambling addiction, Teesside Crown Court heard. He took the computers, which were meant to help NHS staff work from home, between December 31 until May 27. While his defence solicitor tried to get the thieving employee a suspended sentence, a judge warned the public would be ‘outraged,’ if Murthick received anything less than time in prison.

Federal Money Laundering Case Prompts PGCB to Fine Mount Airy Casino $90K 

The Mount Airy Casino Resort was fined $90,000, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PCGB) announced last week, for nearly 500 instances where employees exceeded the discretionary free slot play limit. The PGCB discovered that 10 casino employees awarded a total of $262,500 in unallowable free plays at the Poconos resort. That included one employee who pleaded guilty to a federal charge of conspiracy to launder money after she provided an unindicted co-conspirator with $140,000 in free slot play. Free slot play is a promotional offering most casinos use to reward customers for their business and engender return visits. But Pennsylvania requires casinos to submit a “comp matrix” to the PGCB for its approval. That matrix details what employees can offer free plays and the amount each employee can offer.

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