A Brief Look at Crime 01/17 – 01/23

Hilton Former Revenue Manager Arrested in $28M Hotel Room Fraud 

Denny Bhakta used casinos to launder the money that he illegally obtained. He offered investors opportunities that are just too good to pass. He alleged in fake documents that he’s tied to Hilton and United Airlines. Denny Bhakta, who was an ex-Hilton San Diego Bayfront revenue manager, was arrested on Tuesday after allegedly defrauding investors of around $28 million. As the FBI reports, the San Diego man used a discount scheme involving bogus hotel room blocks and laundered the money through well-known casinos in Las Vegas, such as The Cosmopolitan and ARIA, the Department of Justice states in a press release.

In the SEC complaint, the phrase “money laundering” is avoided and instead, it is just stated that the money was used for gambling purposes. Suzanne Turner, FBI Special Agent in Charge, stated that this case will be a warning to all those who intend to participate in these types of activities and noted that the FBI will work with the SEC to make sure that investment fraud is rooted out.

Woman Steals $240K to Fuel Gambling Addiction, Found Guilty of Wire Fraud

A former teacher pleaded guilty to wire fraud last week, announced the Department of Justice in Georgia. The woman embezzled some $240,000 which was used to help recover from gambling losses and fuel her gambling addiction. The investigation uncovered that the woman diverted many contributions from different organizations to her account. Before her job as a teacher, Trice worked as a volunteer campaign coordinator at the UNCF between 2005 and 2017. The investigators found that while at UNCF, she diverted many small contributions to her account. Suspicious of embezzlement, the UNCF ended her relationship with Trice. Investigators uncovered that she had stopped working at the dental office due to similar allegations. “Trenna Trice abused the trust of two non-profits, a small business and many individual citizens when   she chose to steal money intended for others to fund her gambling addiction.”

Former state worker sentenced for embezzling more than $855,000 from environment department

A former state employee has been sentenced to one year in jail and three years of probation for embezzling more than $800,000 from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. While working with EGLE as an environmental quality specialist, Joseph Pettit helped release bond money back to companies that had drilled in or operated a mineral well in Michigan and facilitated transfers of money back to its original owner, according to the Attorney General’s Office. He also created fake vendors and diverted the bond money into his personal bank accounts, according to the AG’s office. Pettit said some of his issues stemmed from a gambling addiction, for which he is now seeking treatment.

Devils Lake eye doctor employee accused of stealing $350k to gamble

The business manager at a Devils Lake eye clinic is facing potential jail time after investigators say she embezzled more than a quarter of a million dollars. According to the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Nancy Weaver took nearly $350,000 in cash deposits from the office of Drs. Krein and Moen over a six-year period starting in 2014. They say she lost almost all of it while gambling at the Spirit Lake Casino. If convicted, Weaver could get up to 20 years in prison.

Innocent New York Townhouse Really a Brothel, Gambling Den, Lawsuit Asserts

A townhouse in the Murray Hill section of New York City is a “den of iniquity”. It has been converted into a members-only club operating 24 hours a day. A lawsuit hopes to have the operations shut down. A townhouse worth nearly $7 million in the Murray Hill neighborhood of New York City has been converted into a club for members only by squatters. The residents of the townhouse host a brothel, poker games and after-hours parties. Now, a lawsuit hopes to get them evicted.

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