A Brief Look at Crime 7/19 – 7/25

Missouri Highway Patrol seizes more gaming machines from Springfield convenience store

A couple was arrested after they left a 3-year-old child alone in a hotel room while they gambled in the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, authorities said. Tom Tan Nguyen, 53, and Tin Thi Ngoc Nguyen, 37, were arrested Tuesday by Seminole Police on charges of child neglect without great bodily harm, Broward County jail records showed. Tom Tan Nguyen appeared in Broward bond court Wednesday, where prosecutors alleged that he and Tin Thi Ngoc Nguyen left the child in the room for several hours while they gambled downstairs. The child was able to get out of the room and became locked out of the room, prosecutors said. The couple, who were visiting from Tampa, were given pre-trial release but ordered not to have contact with the child.

Lucky Star: Six Oklahoma casinos hit by ransomware 

Lucky Star officials say they have contacted the FBI to investigate as multiple Oklahoma casinos get hit with a cyber-crime attack. The lights are down at the Lucky Star Casino in Concho, one of six tribal casinos in western Oklahoma to be hacked. “The money is there and that’s why they are a prime target,” said Teresa Rule, cyber crime expert. Lucky Star Casino officials issued a statement Monday, saying in part… “Lucky Star Casino has unfortunately joined the growing list of government agencies, businesses, and other casinos to be hit by a  ransomware attack.” But casino officials have not said what the hackers are demanding. Experts say since almost all the games in casinos are now computerized in some way or another, hackers use ransomware holds the casino main frame hostage. “They are big bullies – ‘if you will give me this much money, then I’ll give you control of your systems back,’” said Rule.”  Rule says sometimes casinos pay the ransom to get back to business, but she says that just feeds the system.

Kansas Man Gets Prison Sentence in Fraud Case Involving Small Credit Union

A former University of Kansas Medical Center administrator was sentenced to two years in federal prison last week for stealing more than $556,000 from an account he controlled at the $31 million KUMC Credit Union. U.S. District Court Judge Daniel D. Crabtree in Kansas City also ordered Michael Ahlers to pay restitution of $680,681 and serve three years of supervised release following his prison term. Ahlers pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of federal tax evasion in February. In new court documents, Ahlers attorney said his client was an alcoholic with a gambling addiction, who also owned a financially troubled liquor store while working as an administrative officer at KUMC’s Occupational Therapy Education Department. Prosecutors said Ahlers spent most of the funds on gambling, vacation trips, bars and restaurants.

Omaha Sports Academy founder accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars

Authorities are investigating a founder of the Omaha Sports Academy youth basketball program in connection with the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars meant for the business. Officials are collecting records and looking into the financial activity of Bob Franzese, said Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine. Franzese, 48, who was co-owner and general manager of OSA, was removed from the program in April. Kleine said investigators suspect Franzese was using the money for gambling. Willie Douglas, co-owner of Fast Break Sports LLC, told Omaha police on June 22 that the alleged embezzlement occurred from December 2016 to this April. Fast Break Sports LLC is the limited liability company associated with OSA and Predator Basketball League, according to Nebraska secretary of state records. Franzese, who had as much as a 25% ownership stake in OSA, was removed as general manager in April. The alleged theft was discovered as part of a recent audit.

Anti-cockfighting group starts ad campaign to pressure law enforcement 

Two animal protection groups that have gone after cockfighting for the last two years are using advertising to try to raise public pressure to force law enforcement to act. Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) and the Humane Farming Association (HFA) are partnering with Kentuckians to expose illegal cockfighting operations by purchasing ads in major newspapers in the state. Titled, “COCKFIGHTING IS DESTROYING KENTUCKY COMMUNITIES”, the hard-hitting ads detail a variety of issues the groups say are tied to cockfighting, “such as animal cruelty, drug dealing, illegal firearms, organized crime and rampant illegal gambling.”

The ad also points out alleged protection cockfighting pits have received from the Kentucky State Police, which the groups have notified several times of cockfights with no action taken. In addition, the group has pointed out alleged local law enforcement involvement, such as two Clay County deputies who were caught on video at one cockfight and a Laurel County Sheriff’s employee also has made social media posts suggesting involvement in cockfighting, the groups said.

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