Daily Archives: September 13, 2021

A Brief Look at Crime 9/06 – 9/12

Father and Sons Are Charged in $21 Million Lottery Fraud

No statistical model could explain it, and when a Massachusetts man and his two sons cashed in more than 13,000 winning lottery tickets worth nearly $21 million over eight years, federal prosecutors and lottery officials said it was anything but luck. “A statistician will say that there’s some astronomical odd,” Michael R. Sweeney, the executive director of the Massachusetts State Lottery, said in an interview. “But the reality is, it’s zero.”

In a 19-page indictment that was unsealed on Monday in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, Ali Jaafar and his sons Mohamed Jaafar and Yousef Jaafar were collectively charged with more than a dozen counts of fraud, money laundering and tax evasion for taking part in what the authorities say was a ticket-cashing scheme. A vast majority of the tickets were the scratch-off type that are typically sold at convenience stores, prosecutors said.

From 2011 to 2019, according to the indictment, the Jaafars claimed the prizes on behalf of the actual winners, who potentially avoided having their winnings garnished for unpaid taxes or child support, a requirement for any prize over $600 in Massachusetts. The Jaafars then falsely reported six- and seven-figure gambling losses on their tax returns, allowing them to drastically reduce the taxes they paid on the winnings, prosecutors said.

Father charged after leaving children in car at casino 

A Westmoreland County father is facing charges after leaving his two children under the age of 3 alone in the car while he went to the casino. State police said the two children, ages 1 and 3, were left alone in a running vehicle last Saturday afternoon at Live! Casino Pittsburgh for nearly half an hour. Police said their dad, 28-year-old Zachary Bohinski went inside to place a takeout order for nachos at Guy Fieri’s restaurant. Instead of returning to the car, he decided to pass the time waiting for his order to be completed inside. “Instead of returning to the vehicle he goes into the casino and starts to play slot machines,” Pennsylvania State Trooper Steve Limani said. The children were left in the car for 28 minutes.

Woodland Man Suspected Of Kidnapping Woman Off Cache Creek Casino Property 

Deputies say a Yolo County kidnapping suspect was also apparently involved in a hit-and-run earlier in the day. The Yolo County Sheriff’s Office says, early Monday afternoon, a woman reported that a man had offered to give her a ride to the Cache Creek Casino mini-mart. She got in his truck, but the man instead started driving off casino property. She asked to leave the truck several times, deputies say. Eventually, the man ended up at a dead-end on County Road 78A. After he parked, the woman says she noticed that the man had a gun. Right at that moment, however, some ranchers showed up to work – giving the woman the distraction to get out of the truck. She was to wave down the ranchers, who soon took her back to the casino to get help where she then called authorities. Deputies later tracked the suspect’s truck to the 19000 block of County Road 78A. A stolen 9mm pistol was also found inside the truck, deputies say.

US Sports Betting Fraud Attempts Rise Significantly During Pandemic 

Sports betting fraud attempts skyrocketed in the second quarter of 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic peaked. A new TransUnion report released Wednesday found gaming to be the most susceptible industry to fraud attempts. The US digital fraud attempt rate in gaming jumped 261.9% from the second quarter of 2020 to the second quarter of 2021. Travel and leisure was second with a 136.6% jump. Dissecting those figures, sports betting fraud attempts jumped 114% in the same time frame, according to Melissa Gaddis, senior director of customer success at TransUnion. The report is based on “billions of transactions” from TruValidate, a system used for identity proofing, authentication and fraud analytics.

“[We’re] seeing increases in transaction volumes and people who perpetrate fraud go where the money is,” Gaddis told LSR. US sports betting transactions are increasing rapidly. Overall, fraud attempts increased 16.5% globally, according to the report. The general rise was in part because of transaction growth between the two quarters. The second quarter of 2020 included the most significant shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Globally, gaming was the most significant target for fraud attempts, rising 393%. Travel was second at 155.9%.

Nonprofit Head Accused of Stealing Money Meant to Feed Kids

A director of a nonprofit for youth in one of Mississippi poorest counties has been arrested for allegedly stealing state funds meant to feed needy children. Carol Jackson, the executive director and founder of Sunflower County’s On Track Community Development Corporation was indicted earlier this month on fraud charges, Mississippi State Auditor Shad White said Monday. Jackson is accused of submitting fraudulent documents and stealing more than $40,000 in Mississippi Department of Education money. She allegedly used state funds to write herself more than $20,000 in checks, withdrew thousands of dollars from an ATM at a local casino and spent nearly $2,000 on personal travel. “We will hold the line when someone steals any taxpayer funds, but we are even more motivated when someone steals money intended for children,” White said in a statement.

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