Monthly Archives: March 2021

Miami Beach Mayor Worried about New Casinos Being Discussed in Backdoor Meetings, but Could a New Trump Casino or Other Really Come to Fruition?

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing attempts to expand gambling via a new Vegas-Style casino in the Miami area.  Most attempts are geared toward establishing new casinos, but now discussions are underway that seek to transfer existing licenses to new jurisdictions.  Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber is speaking out in hopes of bringing the process to light.  The Miami-Herald reports:

Republican leaders in Tallahassee are quietly considering an effort to allow casino owners to transfer gambling licenses to venues in locales that have banned gaming and preempt local restrictions, setting up a fight between cities, anti-gaming forces and state lawmakers in Florida, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber warned Wednesday.

Gelber raised his concerns during the city’s commission meeting, saying that private conversations in Tallahassee could lead to legislation that would allow for a casino at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel. Jeffrey Soffer — who owns the Fontainebleau and the Big Easy Casino in Broward County — has pushed for years to allow for gambling at his Beach resort.

Gelber also alluded to efforts by Genting Group, which owns the former Miami Herald bayfront property near downtown Miami, to build a casino resort. Also Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that the Trump Organization is lobbying for legislation in Tallahassee that would allow for a casino at the Trump National Doral Miami.

“This is a very frightening moment,” Gelber said, later telling the Miami Herald that “the measure … is going to first help give it to the Fontainebleau, and then one of those other two locations.”

Speculation grew about a Trump Casino in particular, but just how likely is it that they could expand the casino business in Florida at this time?  A deep dive by an online casino trade source indicates its not very like, and some obstacles exist for other casino companies as well:

The troubles facing former President Donald Trump’s faltering business empire were well documented by /Bloomberg News/ this week. Jumping back into the casino industry, however, probably isn’t the most viable solution that would be offered up by Trump’s creditors. They are owed some $590 million in loans that come due over the next few years.

Based on Trump’s gaming industry track record, bankruptcy lawyers could be the only group excited by news reports that he may be eyeing a casino for his struggling Trump National Doral golf club near Miami. However, Florida’s Seminole Indian Tribe, Disney Corp., and the state constitution block the path for another Trump gaming enterprise.

Together, the Seminoles and Disney have spent millions of dollars defeating Florida gaming expansion efforts. In 2018, they threw their considerable weight behind the passage of Amendment 3, which changed the state constitution. Casino-style gambling can’t be expanded away from tribal lands unless it is approved in a statewide ballot measure that earns at least 60% support.

Republican legislators in Florida are reportedly considering a bill that would allow the gaming-license transfer process. But the idea has drawn opposition from the anti-gaming lobby. Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber told the Associated Press that the governor and legislative Republicans would have to choose between “loyalty to Trump or loyalty to their constituents.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis may be a Trump ally, but who is going to bet against the Seminoles, Disney, and the constitution? Even if Trump were to acquire a gaming license, good luck financing a casino deal.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 03/22 – 03/28

Sports gambler Benjamin Tucker Patz pleads guilty to threatening to kill Rays players

A sports gambler pleaded guilty on Wednesday to threatening to kill four Tampa Bay Rays players via Instagram direct messages after a loss in 2019, authorities said via NBC News. Benjamin Tucker Patz is a 24-year-old gambler known as “Parlay Patz” for reportedly winning more than $1.1 million via parlays He pleaded guilty to transmitting threats in interstate or foreign commerce and faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison. He was initially charged one year ago. He told one player “0-5 against the Chicago White Sox isn’t going to cut it” and threatened that “because of your sins” Patz would behead him and his family, authorities said. Authorities wrote in the release that Patz “sent the messages knowing that they would be viewed by the player and his family members as a true threat to injure the person of another.”

Zynga Hit With Lawsuit Over “Illegal” Social Slots Games 

On Friday in the Northern District of California, a consumer filed a class-action complaint against video game developer Zynga Inc. over its social slots video games that purportedly violate various California laws. According to the complaint, Zynga leadership “decided that the company should move in the direction of online gambling.” Accordingly, “(a)fter Zynga recognized the profitability of modeling its online games after the gambling industry, Zynga began developing and offering ‘social slots’ games.” The complaint defines “social slots” games as “virtual slot machines that allow users to make bets using virtual ‘coins.’” Reportedly, some of Zynga’s current social slots games are: “Hit it Rich!”; “Black Diamond Casino”; “Wizard of Oz Slots”; “Willy Wonka Slots”; “Game of Thrones Slots Casino.”

The plaintiff claimed that Zynga “intentionally modeled its ‘social slots’ games precisely after Vegas-style slot machines. Users make ‘bets’ on ‘spins’ using in-game currency. Users are given an initial allotment of free in-game currency. But when users exhaust their supplies of free in-game currency, they must purchase more to keep playing – and must do so with real money.” As a result, the plaintiff contended that Zynga’s “social slots” games “are unlawful slot machines under California law,” that purportedly use the “same psychological tricks that casinos and physical slot machines use to cause users to become addicted. This keeps users playing – and spending.” Allegedly, Zynga markets these social slots games as “legal video games” without disclosing that they are “in fact illegal slot machines.”

Former Joplin bank branch manager pleads guilty to embezzlement

A former manager of a Guaranty Bank branch in Joplin has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $158,000 from her employer over a six-month period. Kendra E. Richardson, 44, who in July of last year was sent a target letter by the U.S. attorney’s office in connection with the crime, waived formal indictment on the charge and pleaded guilty to embezzlement at a hearing Thursday in federal court in Springfield. Her plea agreement with the U.S. attorney’s office in Springfield states that she was a manager for a Guaranty Bank branch in Joplin when she embezzled $158,154.45 between June and December 2018. According to the plea agreement, she was able to conceal the theft through her control of regular audits of the currency in the bank’s vault and her misrepresentation of the true amounts present there at various times. The document further states that she “used a large portion of the embezzled money for gambling.” The plea agreement contains an admission of the defendant that she owes the bank restitution of the full amount that she is accused of having taken.

Minnesota casino employee pleads guilty to pocketing $315K from tribal organization

An employee for the Fortune Bay Resort Casino in Tower, Minn., pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing more than $315,000 from the Indian Tribal Organization through a phony cash-refund scheme. Jennifer Lynn Boutto, 32, worked as a front desk clerk at the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa-owned casino, a position that allowed her to give cash refunds to customers with little oversight. In 2013, Boutto started identifying high-roller patrons and issuing phony cash refunds against their invoices after they checked out, according to the plea agreement, filed in Minnesota U.S. District Court. Then she took the money from the casino vault and pocketed it. Over seven years, Boutto enacted the scheme almost 3,000 times, stealing $315,740, according to court records. The plea agreement recommends up to two years in prison and $75,000 in restitution. She will be sentenced later this year.

Security Officer, Employee Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide at Las Vegas Casino 

A Wynn Las Vegas security officer and an employee of the hotel-casino are dead in what police say was an apparent murder-suicide in a parking garage at the Strip location on Tuesday. An employee who had not been at work or called in for two days used his company badge to enter the employee garage Tuesday, police said. Use of the “proxy” card alerted security that the employee was on the site. A security officer who went to check on him was shot multiple times, said Lt. Ray Spencer of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Police were called to the scene at about 5:45 pm. The employee was seated in his car when he shot the security officer. The officer was standing at the car door, Spencer said in a news conference Tuesday night. The officer was pronounced dead at the scene. After shooting the security officer, the employee got out of his car and shot himself once, Spencer said. He also was pronounced dead at the scene.

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

As Gambling Growth is Expected to Soar with this Year’s March Madness, Employers and Addicted Gamblers to Face Troubling Results

Casino Watch Focus has long reported on the Madness of March and the impact this massive gambling event has on communities everywhere.  Last year, there was no NCAA National Basketball Tournament due to an abundance of caution following the beginning of a global pandemic.  So with a year off and many eager gamblers, it’s no surprise that the estimate for total bet and the total amount gambling are so incredibly high. Fox Business breaks down the numbers:

March Madness, both the tournament and the betting frenzy surrounding it, will look different this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and online betting.

March Madness could be the most wagered on sporting events of all time, according to research from PlayUSA, which projected that the tournament could generate as much as $1.5 billion in legal bets. Online betting is expected to ramp up this year as the traditional system of paper brackets filled out in the office no longer works with most people working from home. Increased legalization of online betting is also making a huge difference.

During the last March Madness tournament, which took place in 2019, sports betting was only approved in a handful of states. This year, more than 20 states allow placing a bet online. Roughly 50 million Americans are expected to place bets this year, according to theAmerican Gambling Association.

With nearly 50 million people expected to gamble on the Tournament this year, clearly a lot of problem gamblers will find themselves in the mix, and the results could be unsettling.  An online source explains:

This year’s March Madness is highly anticipated after 2020’s NCAA Tournament was canceled due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. According to, the American Gaming Association projects more than 47 million Americans will place bets on March Madness — so it’s no coincidence that Problem Gambling Awareness Month falls in March.

The effort makes sure “people who are engaged in gambling, whether it’s brackets or other forms of gambling, are also aware that gambling can be a problem for some, and it can actually turn into an addiction,” said Jeffrey Wasserman, judicial outreach and development director for the Delaware Council on Gambling Problems.

Gambling disorders often tend to worsen, he added. Relationships can deteriorate, jobs can be lost, people could turn to criminal behavior to pay off debts — a pursuit Wasserman knows too well. “I’m 65 years old. I probably gambled since I was 18,” Wasserman said. “And my gambling addiction really progressed over the years, making me just a different person, making me discard my values and my value system I raised my kids with. Gambling became the most important thing in life for me.  After more than 30 years as an attorney, Wasserman lost his career because of gambling. He was in a dark place.

He’s been in recovery for the last five years. He attributed part of his turnaround to his family, who recognized he had a problem. Now with the Delaware Council on Gambling Problems, he’s helping people like him.

Individuals aren’t the only ones who can suffer from this multi-week gambling event.  In terms of cost to employers, the Charlotte Observer points to a Chicago-based study which says as much as $1.7 billion will be lost by employers in productivity, which breaks down to $109 million lost for every 10 minutes spent following the tournament. They believe there will be over 37 million workers participating in pools with 1.5 million watching games and results online from their desks. ESPN recently quantify the financial impact of just the gambling:

On the low end, the FBI estimated in 2013 that $2.6 billion was bet illegally on the tournament. On the high end, veteran bookmakers estimate the number to be anywhere from $12 billion to $26 billion. Friendly bracket pools are everywhere, with most everyone betting on the NCAA tournament in some form. But there are bets, and then there are bets. You don’t get to $26 billion with $20-per-sheet office pools.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 03/15 – 03/21

Madison woman gets prison for $3M in tax evasion skimming video gambling machine money

A Madison woman was sentenced Friday to a year and a day in federal prison for avoiding paying more than $3 million in taxes on money skimmed from the proceeds of video gambling machines in bars. Mary Lavine, 65, pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and to filing a false 2018 corporate income tax return for Bullseye Inc., a business she co-owned, Scott Blader, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, said in a statement. U.S. District Judge James Peterson also fined Lavine $75,000, ordered her to serve two years of supervised release after her prison term and ordered her to pay restitution of $834,770 to the IRS and $1,927,853 to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

Argument over gambling leads to deadly shooting in Clayton

Investigators in Clayton County believe an argument over gambling prompted a shooting that killed one man and led to a murder charge for another, authorities said. Around 2:40 a.m. Sunday, officers and deputies were called to Dundee Court in Jonesboro on a report of a man being shot, according to the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office. A man, whose name was not released, was already dead from gunshot wounds. “Witnesses told law enforcement that the shooting resulted over an argument over gambling and identified the shooter as Kevin Green who had already fled the scene,” the sheriff’s office posted on social media. Green, 33, was arrested without incident and charged with malice murder. He was being held without bond late Monday, jail records show.

Woman wins jackpot at local casino, found dead 2 days later 

A woman was found dead inside her apartment days after winning a jackpot at Northern Quest Casino. According to court documents, Jenny A. Jones was found dead by her step-father, Albert Asher, on February 17. Jones’ mother, Sue Asher, asked Albert Asher to check-in on Jones after she did not answer her phone calls for two-days. Court documents said the last time Sue Asher spoke to Jones was the night of February 15. On February 15, Jones told her mother over the phone that she just won a jackpot at Northern Quest Casino. During the call, Jones told her mother  her phone was about to die, which it did, disconnecting the call. When Albert Asher went to check on Jones two-days later, he found her door unlocked and her body in the living room. Responding police said there was blood on Jones’ face and more blood on her shirt. Police said the blood did not trickle down her face to her shirt. Police also located a small knife next to Jones’ body. They ruled the death suspicious.

Rooster kills man at illegal cockfight in India 

According to the Associated Press the rooster, with a 3-inch knife attached to its leg, panicked and cut 45-year-old Thangulla Satish, its owner, in the groin area during the fight near the village of Lothunur in Telangana state. “Satish was hit by the rooster’s knife in his groin and started bleeding heavily,” police inspector B. Jeevan said Sunday. The man died on his way to the hospital. Inspector Jeevan said the rooster had been taken into custody. At least two people have been similarly slashed during cockfights since 2010. Cockfighting was banned in India in 1960 but remains popular in the country’s southern states. The fights often involve a lot of betting and are given tacit approval by local politicians. They are usually tied to Hindu festivals, as well.

Victim who died from stabbing after Brooklyn gambling den robbery was good Samaritan trying to break up fight 

A frenzied brawl sparked by a gambling den robbery in Brooklyn left a man dead after he selflessly tried to stop the fight, his family said Sunday. Yong Zheng, 46, was returning from dinner with friends around 9:30 p.m.Friday when he stumbled upon two groups of men battling near Seventh Ave. and 57th St., police said. “As we were walking home, we heard [the victims] yelling, ‘Robbery, robbery!’” said Xiu Lin, 34, a close family friend of Zheng. “Without thinking, he went up to help and that cost him his life.” Zheng rushed into the fray and tried to defuse the fight that had spilled onto the sidewalk after a pack of crooks robbed an illegal gambling den on 58th St. police said. “From his point of view, he saw something happening, he saw a crime, and he just went to help,” said Lin. “It’s a tragic loss.” Video obtained by the Daily News shows Zheng dashing across the street to intervene and then stumbling back, draining blood across the sidewalk and being supported by a woman before collapsing. He was stabbed four times in the chest.

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

Massive State Online Gambling Expansion Proposed by Missouri House Legislator

Casino Watch Focus has reported on various methods of expanding gambling in Missouri.  Everything from new casinos, the recent efforts of online sports betting, to legalizing illegal slot machines operating outside of regulated casinos.  In Missouri, the constitution only allows for 13 casinos to operate. They are technically riverboats, but outside of the lottery or perhaps some fraternal bingo/charity type gambling events, everything operates through the casinos.  With the Supreme Court ruling that states can now offer online gambling, it’s no surprise Missouri legislators would be examining the possibility of expansion.  There are still state constitutional limits however, so proposed legislation must be tailored accordingly.  A new bill being introduced does look to casinos to handle online gambling, but is the expansion too great?  An online source examines the newly proposed legislation:  

For quite some time, Missouri  has been looking towards legalizing sports betting. Now, it seems that lawmakers are also looking at online casino and poker games. The Senate has been the driving force behind sports betting and now it is the House looking to add other online gambling options in the state. Representative Dan Houx introduced a new measure this week, HB 1364, which will allow for complete online gambling, in all verticals. This bill would actually replace the Senate measure instead of a separate initiative.

Poker is mentioned in the legislation, but only to classify it as well as sports betting as a game of skill. Operators in the state are allowed to offer games of chance and skill. For the sports betting portion, the measure is similar to SB 256, which is already introduced in the state. It also allows for up to three skins per license holder.

The bill allows for each of the 13 riverboat casinos in the state to have up to three skins. If everyone gets involved and all the skins are taken, the industry would be the largest in the US.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 03/08 – 03/14

San Diego County’s Sycuan Casino Site of Reported Shooting

California’s Sycuan Casino Resort reportedly was the scene of a shooting Wednesday evening. Homicide investigators went to the crime site. But as of early Thursday local authorities did not reveal if the solitary victim was alive. Details on the extent of wounds were not released to the local media. The victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment of injuries, according to /KSWB/, a San Diego TV station. The homicide unit of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department went to the area of Sycuan Casino in El Cajon at about 6 pm to investigate the crime, according to the /San Diego Union-Tribune/ newspaper. News reports from/KSWB/ said the shooting occurred at the gaming property. The tribal casino is operated by the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation. The property is located about 16 miles east of downtown San Diego.

Longtime Hells Angel shot dead on the Danforth was killed amid tension over illegal gambling, sources say 

A longtime Hells Angel biker who was shot to death in a parking garage on the Danforth was embroiled in a bitter ongoing dispute over control of illegal gambling in the area, several sources say. Harry Lainas, 47, of the Hells Angels’ Simcoe South charter, is Toronto’s ninth homicide victim of 2021 and the eighth killed in a shooting. Two sources said that criminals running illegal gambling networks are smarting because of social gathering restrictions because of COVID-19, saying the Super Bowl is generally a major moneymaker for illegal gamblers, but the game last Sunday was a bust. Tensions were perking in illegal gambling circles even before COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. Lainas was fired upon in the area roughly two years ago while collecting illegal gambling revenues in the same area where he was slain, source  who knew him said. Lainas was well-known by police and in the biker world.

Case Of Children Left In Hot Car Outside Casino Draws Sharp Gaming Board Discussion

It is common for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to addindividuals to its involuntary exclusion list  each month, barring them from casinos for various infractions such as theft and cheating. But the Feb. 10 meeting added an unusually high 19 names to a list that already exceeded 900, and one case in particular drew anxious discussion over how casinos handle cases of potential child endangerment.

The board had no hesitation permanently barring 42-year-old Michael Harper of Philadelphia from casinos for having left a 4-year-old and 2-year-old in a car for about a half hour at Rivers Casino Philadelphia while he placed a sports wager last Aug. 2. It was 93 degrees outside at the time and the car windows were cracked about a half-inch, the gaming board’s Bureau of Investigations and Enforcement reported. The casino’s security officers found Harper and had him permanently evicted. However, state police who are stationed at the casino did not arrive before he drove off, nor did local police who may file child neglect charges in such cases, according to the documents presented to the board by its Office of Enforcement Counsel.

1 dead after shooting outside illegal gambling location in Santa Ana: Police 

An investigation is underway following the death of a male victim who was shot outside an illegal gambling operation in Santa Ana, police said Wednesday. Officers found the victim in the 400 block of North Harbor Boulevard after responding to reports of a male down with gunshot wounds around 11 p.m. Tuesday, according to a Santa Ana Police Department news release. He was discovered with an apparent gunshot wound to the upper torso near the north entrance doors of the Cozy Corner Drive-In, the release stated. The victim was rushed to a local hospital where he later died. Authorities have not released his name or age. Investigators determined the shooting occurred outside an illegal gambling location in the 300 block of North Harbor Boulevard, according to police.

Over 70 Sports Betting Accounts In TN Closed Due To Illegal Super Bowl Wagering

The Tennessee Education Lottery said Wednesday that two of the state’s four regulated online sports books saw “illegal” betting activity on the most recently completed Super Bowl. At a meeting of its board of directors, the lottery said that there were “significant anomalies” with two operators. It didn’t say which books. As a result of the activity, 74 sports wagering accounts between the two platforms were permanently closed. “Several” open Super Bowl bets were voided. The lottery said that it wouldn’t provide any more information at this time as the investigation continues. The lottery said that it ended up declining operator requests to offer non-football props on the big game, such as the color of the Gatorade, which some other sports betting states in the U.S. allowed. The lottery didn’t provide any information on what kind of bets were suspicious. The four books handled a combined $15.5 million on the big game, and they paid out $12.6 million in winning bets, keeping the rest as revenue. Through Jan. 31, the books handled $523 million in wagers since the Nov. 1 launch, the lottery said.

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

Florida Opens Legislative Session with Sports Gambling Bills, but Can They Pass?

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing efforts to legalize sports betting in Florida.  Florida not only has championship caliber sports teams in the Buccaneers (2021 Super Bowl Champions), the Lightning (2020 Stanley Cup Champions) and Rays (2020 American League Champions), they also hosted the Super Bowl and were part of the NBA Bubble during the Covid-19 Lockdown.  So it’s no surprise that there are continual interests in legalizing sports betting in the Sunshine State.  The methods seem to change, but the results remain the same, no success. Last year’s legislative session saw attempts without success as well, and this year’s legislative session begins with renewed efforts and possibly some of the largest expanded sports gambling attempts yet.  An online source reports:

When the Florida State Legislature opens Tuesday morning, it will do so with sports wagering  as part of the docke

The latest trio of bills filed by Reps. Chip Lamarca and Anika Omphroy would allow for wagering a pro sports venues across Florida, including NFL stadiums (three), Major League Baseball parks (two), NHL arenas (two), NBA arenas (two), and Major League Soccer stadiums (four), sites that host PGA, LPGA, and PGA of America events, WNBA arenas, National Lacrosse League and Major League Lacrosse sites, and Indoor Football League venues. Besides that, sports betting would be available at tracks offering parimutuel betting (horse and dog), jai lai frontons and tribal casinos.

The legislation envisions in-person wagering at all mentioned sites, as well as statewide mobile wagering, though HB 1317 doesn’t specify how many skins each physical location would be entitled to. That said, if only one skin were allowed, Florida would still have more than 20 skins available, and that’s just counting digital platforms tethered to the pro venues identified in the bill.

The question remains however, will the key issues be addressed or will expanded gambling be held back?  The online source explains:

As lawmakers and the governor look to move forward and create hype about sports betting, the elephant in the room that no one seems to be addressing is Indian Country, which under its compacts has exclusivity for casino gaming. Tribal gaming dates to 1999 in Florida, when the Miccosukee Tribe opened its casino in suburban Miami. But the state’s biggest tribe is the Seminoles, who have six properties including two operated by Hard Rock.

For reasons unrelated to sports betting, the Seminoles in 2019 stopped paying the state $350 million a year from gaming revenue. At the time, the Seminoles claimed their gaming exclusivity was violated by banked card games that were allowed at the state’s racetracks and jai lai frontons. The current compact which was signed on April 7, 2010, allows the Seminoles to withhold payments if the compact is violated.

Before the Seminoles suspended payments in 2019, the tribe had reached a tentative agreement with Sen. Wilton Simpson that would have allowed sports betting at the Seminoles’ casino properties, as well as racetracks and jai alai frontons for an annual payment to the state of $700-$750 million. The deal ultimately collapsed. Then, last January, Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, filed HB 1195, a proposed compact, that would have granted the Seminoles exclusivity for online sports betting. While that bill proposed a more than two-fold step-up in annual payments to $750 million, the legislation never made it out of committee.

The hard truth for lawmakers is this: Until there is a compact, it’s highly unlikely that sports betting will gain a foothold in the legislature.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 02/22 – 03/07

Feds charge real estate broker with using millions of investors’ money to play lottery

Federal investigators say Viktor Gjonaj set up a fake title company and raised $26 million from investors by having them make out checks or wire their money to him or the company. They thought they were investing in real estate—but Gjonaj was spending the money on the lotto – as much as a million dollars a week. The feds say Gjonaj’s scheme fell apart in August of 2019 and when the smoke cleared, he had defrauded at least 24 investors of roughly $19 million.  “Honestly I never heard of that before, somebody just giving money to a title company to purchase real estate on their behalf,” said Guy Gailliard, real estate professional. “There are many checks and balances that should come into place, that you should know that this is an actual legitimate sale.” Real estate professionals were stunned hearing about the scheme.

His lawyer Steve Fishman offered this statement: “Victor Gjonaj was a well-respected businessman who, unfortunately, developed a gambling addiction which led him into this situation. His gambling addiction was well known to the state of Michigan, who still allowed him to continue to gamble on the lottery.” “When we talk responsibility, the responsibility will always fall back on the gambler and you know what? It should,” said Michael Burke.”Somebody who took this kind of money, I don’t believe we can lay it off to anybody else, but the gambler.” Burke is the executive director of the Michigan Association on Problem Gambling and is an expert in gambling addiction. “Normally when somebody loses that kind of money, they’ve been doing what we call chasing,” he said. “In other words, they gambled away all of their money and that is gone. And now they’re getting in trouble and they’ve got to get out of it and they go to other sources to get the money. What they want to do is win the money back so they can pay back the people they took the money from.”

Security Guard Shoots Man Dead at Florida Gambling Den

An unidentified man was shot and killed early Saturday morning by a security guard at a Florida gambling den. The incident took place at the Q-Time 777 in Lake City, Florida. Police said a security guard initially responded to a dispute between the man and another individual. After telling the man he needed to exit the premises, he later returned brandishing a handgun. Following shots fired, the security guard shot and killed the man. “At some point, he began shooting multiple shots inside of the business where there were other patrons inside,” explained Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Steven Khachigan. “At that point, a security guard, who was also armed, engaged the suspect in gunfire.” Though multiple gunshots were fired, no one else was injured in the gambling space. Police say the investigation is ongoing.

Huntly office manager embezzled £210k in fake transactions to fuel gambling addiction

An office  manager broke down in the dock as she was jailed for embezzling £210,000 to feed her gambling addiction. Louise Myles, 42, admitted making 1,061 fraudulent transactions from the property management firm where she worked, over a period of nearly four years. She was sentenced to 18 months in prison at Aberdeen Sheriff Court for stealing from the Huntly-based BMF Group between May 2013 and July 2017. None of the six-figure sum was able to be recovered. Myles’ deception was only discovered when the director of the company, Alexander Morison, found some unpaid bills and noticed others had been paid to an account he didn’t recognise. He was subsequently contacted by the Bank of Scotland and informed “questionable payments” totalling £20,000 had been made. The court heard he confronted Myles about it and she admitted taking the cash, claiming she was suffering from a gambling addiction. She’d handled the firm’s finances and bookkeeping since 2012.

However, the full extent of Myles’ deception was only revealed once bosses chose to terminate her employment. The Bank of Scotland later informed Mr Morison that Myles had made numerous money transfers to her personal account totalling around £210,000. Fiscal depute Colin Nielson said: “It was established the accused had manipulated the hand-written figures on cash ledgers so that the figures matched those on the cash flow statements, thus not rousing the suspicion of Mr Morison.

Aspers is fined £650,000 after damning Gambling Commission investigation found casino failed to look after businessman who killed himself an hour after losing £25,000

A casino has been fined £650,000 after a gambler killed himself after losing £25,000 in a single night on roulette and ‘crack cocaine’ slot machines. An investigation by the Gambling Commission into the death of Huseyin Yaman found that Aspers Casino had failed in its social responsibility to properly monitor the businessman during a night of heavy gambling. Mr Yaman was a VIP guest at the casino and was said to have previously racked up losses of around £100,000. On the night of his death, police had to be called to the casino after he became argumentative with staff and he was escorted from the premises. Apsers bosses had failed to adhere to its social responsibility code to look out for customers whose behaviour might indicate a problem with betting, the Gambling Commission report found.

The commission ruled that they failed to talk with Mr Yaman, who was not named in the report, identified only as Mr X. It said the casino had a ‘misguided assumption that Mr X could afford the level of losses. There were failures in record keeping.’ It said the scale of ‘failures in relation to Mr X were exceptional’ The casino was also criticised over its monitoring of cash purchases by its customers. They failed to make any inquiries of Mr Hassan in September 2017 when he spent £46,000 and £51,000 over two days. They also allowed him to go over the £5,000 limit on three other visits when he played on electronic roulette.

Seattle Bookkeeper Indicted for Swindling More Than $200K From Bike Company

Bicycle Retailer reports that a Seattle bookkeeper was indicted for nine counts of wire fraud, four counts of aggravated identity theft, and one count of destruction of evidence after allegedly embezzling more than $200,000 from a Seattle-area bike company. Prosecutors said the bookkeeper, Joan C. Trower, 50, forged checks from the company’s accounting software to herself and people she knew, among other schemes. The fake checks totaled $188,000. The indictment also said she transferred at least $26,000 to a fake accounting firm she created. All in all, the indictment said the cost to the company was between $200,000 and $300,000, which she used in part to gamble at local casinos. The indictment does not specify which bike company is involved, only that it is “a private company that manufactures and sells high-end mountain bikes and related accessories.”

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