A Brief Look at Crime 06/07 – 06/13

Trainer Bob Baffert suspended from Belmont after Kentucky Derby winner fails drug test

The New York Racing Association (NYRA) temporarily suspended Bob Baffert, the trainer for Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit, in the aftermath of the horse failing a post-race drug test. NYRA President and CEO Dave O’Rourke announced the suspension in a statement on Monday, citing Medina Spirit’s positive post-Kentucky Derby drug test and previous drug violations discovered among Baffert’s horses. During the time of the suspension Baffert will be forbidden from running any horses or occupying stall space at Belmont Park, Saratoga Race Course and the Aqueduct Racetrack, effectively barring Medina Spirit from entering the Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the Triple Crown, which will take place in June. The NYRA said it expects to make a final decision regarding the length and terms of Baffert’s suspension based on the results of the ongoing investigation in Kentucky, including Medina Spirit’s post-race test.

Woman called in bomb threat at Seminole Hard Rock casino after losing playing slots

Police arrested a woman accused of calling in a bomb threat to the Seminole Hard Rock casino in Tampa after she lost hundreds while playing the slot machines. Clearwater police said Adele Belizaire of Spring Hill got mad after she lost $380 in the slot machines at the casino. When Belizaire returned to her hotel room on Clearwater Beach around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, investigators said “her self-admitted anger issues got the best of her.” That’s when she called the casino from her cell phone and said she left a bomb on the property. Authorities at the casino contacted Clearwater police, who worked to identify Belizaire and confirm where she was staying. Officers arrested her early Wednesday at her hotel and booked her into the Pinellas County Jail. She is charged with making a false report about planting a bomb, explosive or weapon of mass destruction.

Bettors File Lawsuit Against Bob Baffert & Medina Spirit Owners for Racketeering Fraud

Attorneys for four bettors filed a class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court in California late Thursday against Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, his company and Zedan Racing, owners of Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit. The bettors are suing Baffert for racketeering and fraud, alleging that Medina Spirit’s win in the Derby constituted illegal gambling. Days after winning, the horse tested positive for Betamethasone, a steroid that reduces inflammation but is not allowed within two weeks of racing because it helps to serve as a masking agent to more serious doping drugs. If a second sample comes back as positive, Medina Spirit will be stripped of the win and its owners would be forced to return the $1.86 million winner’s prize. That’s not the case for the bettors. Anyone who bet on Medina Spirit would get to keep their money and anyone who bet on the presumptive new winner Mandaloun would not be given credit.

“Bettors…rely on participants’ representation that they comport with these laws, regulations and rules in order to properly determine which horses to be on,” the lawsuit reads. “Defendants and other owners and trainers intend that bettors rely on these representations in order to encourage wagering in racing, thereby increasing the purse total.” The bettors, Michael Beychock, Justin Wunderler, Michael Meegan and Keith Mauer, all had Mandaloun in their betting combinations. The two largest bettors — Beychok and Wunderler — said they would have made in between $10,000 and $100,000 if Mandaloun won the Derby or was given the win in the betting world. The bettors ask for the money that they say is rightfully deserved plus additional damages, among other things.

Lincolnshire taxi firm manager jailed for fraud over gambling addiction

A Boston taxi firm manager who stole his company’s COVID bounce back loan has been jailed for two years and eight months (32 months). James Lloyd, 39, successfully applied for the loan on behalf of the firm and within days of the money arriving in the company bank account he transferred it into one of his personal accounts. Lloyd turned to online gambling at the start of lockdown to boost his family income, as at the time he was off work after contracting a lung disease and his wife’s hairdressing salon was closed because of the COVID restrictions. 

He was trusted by the owners of Angels Taxis based in Boston, and was a signatory on the company bank account and was given company bank accounts. But his gambling spiralled out of control and he stole over £140,000 to fund his habit. Lucy Jones, prosecuting, told Lincoln Crown Court that Lloyd was a friend of Julian and Toni Vines, who owned the company, and was trusted to manage the taxi firm. She said “It gave him the opportunity to access the company’s funds and fund his addiction to gambling. “From December 2018 up until the police became involved in August 2020 the defendant spent over £208,000 on gambling websites.

Another Win-River Casino Elderly Winner Robbed, Attacked in California 

An elderly man was kidnapped, beaten up, and robbed Saturday after winning money at Redding, Calif.’s Win-River Resort & Casino. /KHSL/, a local TV station, reported the unnamed victim was forced to give a ride to a man.  Both had been at the casino. When they reached a wooded area in Redding, the bandit ordered the victim into the woods. The suspect then “violently assaulted” the man, Shasta County Sheriff’s deputies said. The victim struggled with the 6 foot, 220-pound suspect. But the older man was again attacked and lost consciousness. He also lost blood from his injuries. Upon wakening in the woods, he realized the suspect had stolen much of the money the man had won at the casino. Still, he soon was able to contact Shasta County Sheriff’s deputies. 

They discovered the suspect had gotten a ride from a driver of a pickup truck. Deputies later located the suspect. He was identified as Anthony Marcell RobbinsWray, 29, of Shasta Lake, Calif. *He admitted to assaulting the man, deputies were quoted by /KHSL/. Most of the man’s casino winnings were still in RobbinsWray’s possession upon his arrest.* Upon checking Win-River surveillance video, the suspect was at the casino earlier, /KHSL/ said. The clothes he was wearing while at the casino were later located at the residence where he was arrested, deputies said. RobbinsWray was arrested for assault, robbery, elder abuse, and kidnapping with the intent to commit robbery, /KHSL/ said

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