A Brief Look at Crime 02/14 – 02/20

Nun Who Embezzled $835K From Torrance School To Fund Gambling Habit To Be Sentenced

The retired principal of a Catholic elementary school in Torrance, who as a nun took a vow of poverty, faces sentencing Monday for embezzling more than $835,000 in school funds to support a gambling habit and other personal expenses. Mary Margaret Kreuper, 80, of Los Angeles, pleaded guilty in July to federal wire fraud and money laundering charges. Prosecutors recommend a 24-month prison sentence, three years of supervised release, and restitution. Kreuper acknowledged that for a period of 10 years ending in September 2018, she embezzled $835,339 from St. James Catholic School. As principal — a position she had for nearly 30 years before she retired — Kreuper was responsible for the money the school received to pay for tuition and fees, as well as for charitable donations, according to documents filed in Los Angeles federal court.

Sweepstakes business owner previously warned by officials is charged with over 50 criminal offenses for illegal gaming

The owner of a sweepstakes business in Lexington who was warned by law enforcement that he could be facing criminal charges for operating an illegal electronic gaming facility was arrested on Wednesday after a raid on the business on Winston Road. Albright has been charged, among other things, with felony continuing criminal enterprise, which is described as a continuing series of violations which are “in concert with five or more other persons with respect to whom the person occupies a position of organizer, supervisor or any other position of management, and from which the person obtains substantial income or resources to operating an illegal video game enterprise”, according the arrest report provided by the Davidson County Magistrates office.

Las Vegas casino triggered FBI’s Los Angeles bribery case

As a City Council member, Huizar was what casinos call a “politically exposed person.” He could gamble at the Palazzo only after filing papers showing he was not using public funds. Palazzo dealers kept close watch on Huang and Huizar when they arrived hours later in Parlor 8, a room for high rollers who typically bet with $25,000 and $100,000 chips. What they discovered triggered an FBI investigation that brought to light a sprawling corruption scandal at Los Angeles City Hall. Federal prosecutions so far have put another City Council member in prison and yielded four other felony guilty pleas. 

Huizar is awaiting trial on charges of running an extortion racket that shook down developers of top-tier properties in downtown Los Angeles. The casino chips, prosecutors say, were part of more than $800,000 in bribes that Huang paid the councilman in an attempt to win city approval of a 77-story tower that aimed to be the tallest on the West Coast. It was never built.

Man threatens to explode Las Vegas casino with grenade in his backside

A man is accused of threatening to blow up a Las Vegas casino, telling officers he had a grenade in his body, police said. Brian Gower, 46, faces one count of making threats of conveying false information concerning an act of terrorism after the incident Friday morning. According to police, Gower was arrested at The Strat Hotel and Casino after threatening to “blow the building up,” officers wrote in an arrest report. Police said while they were talking with Gower, he “was saying random things and talking about Joe Rogan and his ex-wife,” the report said. “At one point, Gower stated to [an] officer that he had a grenade in his [backside] and he wanted to [pass gas].” Officers said Gower had previously spoken to hotel security, telling them they had 15 minutes to evacuate the building, or it would explode. Officers did not find any explosives on Gower and took him to the Clark County jail.

Aberdeen man pleads guilty to playing with grant funds from Baltimore nonprofit

An Aberdeen man pleaded guilty on Jan. 20 to federal charges of filing false tax returns and wire fraud after embezzling funds intended for a Baltimore youth nonprofit, according to a press release from the US Department of Justice. Tyrone Sherrod owned a nonprofit organization in Baltimore City that provided after-school and summer education, as well as athletic programs, at a local elementary school from 2015 to 2019. In 2015, Sherrod applied for a grant from the U.S. Department of education to help fund these programs, and received approximately $1.1 million to be paid over three years. Between 2016 and 2018, Sherrod electronically submitted 19 bogus project invoice summaries that detailed payroll records, receipts and budget summaries, according to the Justice Department. These summaries showed a payroll of more than $746,000, while the nonprofit’s actual payroll during this period was closer to $212,000. According to his plea agreement, Sherrod lost much of the grant money because of casino gambling. From 2016 to 2018, his gambling losses were around $547,000. During the same period, Sherrod withdrew $552,405 in cash from a casino’s ATM.

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