Daily Archives: March 8, 2021

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.”

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