A Brief Look at Crime 06/14 – 06/20

Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison over Shooting at a Poker Game 

A man from New York State was sentenced to at a *minimum of 20-years-to-life in prison* on Monday this week. *Charquan Edwards*, who was *previously sentenced for shooting a man during a private poker game back in 2015,* faced a retrial. Initially, Edwards was sentenced to prison by now-retired *Judge John Brunetti* in 2015. However, the 2015 trial was overturned in 2019 by the appellate court after it found several issues with the sentence.

Back in 2015, Edwards, 23 at the time, participated in a poker game that turned out badly. Having lost twice, he returned *two times to re-enter the game with more money*. After losing for the third time, *he came back with a gun and attempted to flee with some $9,000* from the poker table cash

Since the initial accident in 2015, *multiple eyewitnesses have deceased*. However, during the retrial testimony, US State Supreme Court *Judge Gordon Cuffy* allowed the testimony of the deceased to be read in front of the jury. Although Judge Cuffy acknowledged that Edwards is an “/intelligent young man/“, he *reaffirmed the original sentence* by Judge Brunetti. Consequently, Edwards was re-sentenced to 20-years-to-life in prison. With that in mind, he will serve the sentence concurrently while *the court took into consideration the time which he already served* since his initial conviction.

Chester County Accountant Sentenced for Fraud Scheme

Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Christopher May, 32, of Paoli, PA, was sentenced to one year and four months in prison, and two years of supervised release by United States District Judge Timothy J. Savage for engaging in an embezzlement scheme through which he stole more than $1.2 million from his former employer.

In February 2021, the defendant pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud stemming from this scheme which he perpetrated over the course of about eight months. From roughly October 2019 until May 2020, while employed as a staff accountant at a local e-commerce automotive parts retailer based in Paoli, PA, May made more than 50 unauthorized Paypal transfers of his employer’s funds into his personal accounts. In total, he stole $1,213,500. He immediately spent nearly this entire amount gambling on sports and making payments to pornographic web camera models whom he met on the internet.

Man Jailed For Theft of $1M From Poker Pro Chad Power 

Clark County authorities have arrested and jailed one of two men believed to be responsible for a February residential burglary in which a safe containing a million dollars in cash and poker chips was taken from Las Vegas poker pro Chad Power. 32-year-old Brock Brewer of Las Vegas was arrested on Tuesday and charged with eight felonies connected to the burglary. Brewer and another man, who has yet to be identified, are believed to be responsible for the February 10 robbery at Power’s Henderson home. Police believe Brewer and the other robber trailed Power to his home at some point after observing him at a Vegas casino. On the day of the robbery, Power left his home to play poker before receiving an security-system alert.

By the time Power returned home, discovered the break-in and called the police, the robbers were long gone, though surveillance footage showed two maskless men leaving his home. A suspect, later identified as Brewer, had Power’s home safe on his shoulder as he left the scene. The police report about the theft, as noted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, noted that “Chad advised that inside the safe had been approximately $750,000 in cash in $100 bill denominations, mostly organized into $50,000 bricks. The safe had also contained approximately $250,000 in high-value poker chips.”

Mississippi Man Gets 16 Years for Armed Robbery of Casino

A Mississippi man convicted of robbing a Choctaw casino was sentenced Friday to 16 years in prison. William Christopher Belk, 33, of Quitman, pleaded guilty to robbery and the use of a firearm during a crime of violence, Acting U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca said in a news release. Belk entered the Bok Homa Casino, located on the Choctaw Indian REservation near Sandersville, Mississippi, on July 9, 2020, armed with a handgun, authorities said. Once inside, he pointed the gun at a casino security officer, took several items from the officer then fled in a resort vehicle. A Sandersville Police officer spotted the vehicle and tried to arrest Belk, who fired his weapon, injuring the officer. He then drove toward Laurel, Mississippi, where officers arrested him. A federal grand jury indicted Belk in August, charging him with robbery, use of a firearm during a crime of violence and theft from an Indian gaming establishment. He pleaded guilty in February.

Owner of third cockfighting venue admits participation in illegal animal fighting operation

An Emanuel County man has admitted operating an animal fighting venture, representing the third owner of a cockfighting operation in the Southern District to enter a guilty plea to federal charges. *Wendell Allan Strickland, *67, of Swainsboro, Ga., pled guilty in U.S. District Court to two counts of Sponsoring and Exhibiting an Animal in an Animal Fighting Venture; two counts of Conducting an Illegal Gambling Business; and one count of Possession and Transport of an Animal in an Animal Fighting Venture, all felonies; and one misdemeanor charge of Attending an Animal Fighting Venture, said Acting U.S. Attorney David H. Estes. In addition to forfeiture of the property on which illegal cockfights were held, Strickland faces a possible statutory penalty of up to five years in prison and significant financial penalties, followed by up to three years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.

“Animal fights are illegal and barbaric, and also are magnets for other criminal activity,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Estes. “With our law enforcement partners, we will continue to shut down these operations and hold the organizers accountable.”

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


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