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.

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