Category Archives: Crime

Florida goes after Pari-Mutuels as it Seeks to Enforce Designated-Player Card Games Ruling

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing and developing situation regarding designated player banked card games. This form of card game was offered for four years before its legality was challenged. Last year, however, the court determined the games to be illegal and a violation of the Seminole Compact which outlined exclusive card games at Seminole casinos. As recently reported by Casino Watch Focus that ruling is being challenged in appeals court and is set to be heard next month. In the mean time, swift enforcement has begun to stop these illegal card games. An online source explains:

Florida gambling chiefs have launched legal action against two pari-mutuel venues, the Sarasota Kennel Club and Pensacola Greyhound Racing, for their alleged failure to remove so-called “designated player games” from their premises.

Meanwhile, many of Florida’s other cardrooms and racetracks are bracing themselves for similar action, as the state moves to crack down on the controversial games.

This action is especially important given litigation was dropped by the Seminole’s in exchange for the state agreeing truly enforce the courts ruling. The online source continues:

The case had initially been brought by the State against the Seminoles for their refusal to stop offering banked games once their initial five-year compact expired in 2015. But the tribe countersued over the exclusivity violation, forcing the state into a humiliating retreat. In July, both parties agreed to an end to litigation and the state vowed it would take “aggressive enforcement action” against pari-mutuels that violated the ban on the games it had previously permitted.

Nick Iarossi, a lobbyist for Jacksonville Greyhound Racing, told Sunshine State News that the state’s actions this week show it intends to live up to its word. “They’re going to come in. They’re going to check tape. They’re going to watch games being played live. And if they see anything out of compliance being done, they’re going to issue administrative complaints and fines,” he said. “So everybody is double- and triple-checking to make sure they’re in compliance.” 

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A Brief Look at Crime 08/14 – 08/20

Gambling Addict Bludgeons Man With Hammer, Chopped Up Body Receives 22 Years Prison

An cold-blooded killer who bludgeoned a man with a hammer then chopped his body into pieces after the victim refused to give him a $100 loan to fuel his gambling addiction will now be spending 22 years in prison. David Napier of Calista, Western Australia killed his 70-year-old best friend, Richard Andrews. After the murder last August Napier also stole $2,000 in cash from Mr. Andrews. After the murder, Napier cleaned the property with bleach and sugar soap, and told neighbours he had gone on a holiday to Albany. The 53-year-old was swimming in $20,000 in gambling debts. He had previously borrowed thousands of dollars from Mr Andrews. Justice Bruno Fiannaca said the way Napier desecrated the body was calculated and ghastly, and described his behaviour as monstrous, callously concealed with an elaborate facade. ‘He was always someone who had shown you kindness,’ the judge said. ‘He was your only real friend. ‘You denied him dignity in death and you profited. ‘To ordinary, decent members of the community, your crimes would defy comprehension.’

‘We are coming for you’ says sheriff in wake of internet cafe bust

Sheriff’s Office shut down the Hot Spot Internet Cafe after serving a search warrant Tuesday morning in Ormond Beach. “This place walks like a duck, quacks like a duck (and) swims like a duck,” Sheriff Mike Chitwood said. “It’s a duck. It’s gambling.” Deputies confiscated dozens of games and thousands of dollars in cash. “They are parasites,” Chitwood said. “If you look at who their customers are, their customers are mostly elderly folks on a fixed income.” Chitwood said during a two-month undercover investigation, the Sheriff’s Office tracked $600,000 in just two months, and he believes the money was funneled to North Carolina. “This is a business that’s not regulated,” Chitwood said. “They’re not paying business tax. There’s not a fire marshal — no building code, nothing.” The sheriff said deputies will be serving cease and desist letters to other internet cafe operators in Volusia County. “We are coming for you,” Chitwood said. “The ball is already started. We’re coming out there. We’re going to make an arrest (and) seize your property under those Florida statutes.”

Methadone clinic operator gets prison for health care fraud

A defense attorney and a courtroom full of supporters depicted a woman who ran a methadone clinic for 20 years as a cross between a den mother and an angel of mercy to southwestern Pennsylvania’s growing population of opioid addicts, but a federal prosecutor countered that she was a “greedy” businesswoman who defrauded Medicaid to feed a gambling habit. The judge sentenced Rosalind Sugarmann, 62, to a year and a day in federal prison for her December guilty plea to health care fraud and illegally distributing the drug Suboxone, which can be used to wean addicts off heroin. In doing so, the judge rejected Assistant U.S. Attorney Shaun Sweeney’s request for at least 2 1/2 years in prison and defense attorney Efrem Grail ‘s arguments for probation. Sugarmann’s husband has twice filed for personal bankruptcy and Sugarmann once in recent years. Both also have tax liabilities and “substantial gambling losses” from 2009 to 2013, including more than $2 million in one year, Sweeney told the judge.

Gambler ensnared in Mohegan Sun scheme ‘succumbed to temptation’

Seduced by the bright lights and allure of the new casino in town, Mark Heltzel gave in to temptation, first snubbing his wife and daughters before turning his disregard to the law, court documents filed Monday said. The former skilled financial planner gambled away his home life and ultimately agreed to participate in a criminal scheme that defrauded Mohegan Sun Pocono out of more than $420,000, according to a memorandum filed ahead of Heltzel’s sentencing Friday in federal court. Fannick cited a pre-sentence report that said Heltzel’s alcohol abuse and “self-described gambling addiction” escalated as he began making daily trips to the casino to play blackjack. As Heltzel spent more time at the casino, he was no longer the devoted family man who would sooth Emily’s cold with Chinese noodles, or help Alex recover on the couch with the help of a “Lizzie McGuire” marathon, his wife wrote. “Soon, Mark found a new purpose,” she wrote. “Slowly, as he grew in popularity in this flashy establishment, he waned in popularity at home. Relationships began crumbling around him. Finally, one cold day in January 2016, our lives, already cracked at the seams, simply shattered (when Heltzel was charged).”

Man shot by trooper at St. Louis casino sentenced to prison

A suburban St. Louis man who was shot by a Missouri state trooper in a casino’s garage was sentenced to seven years in prison for charges arising from the confrontation. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports 29-year-old Javon Burton, of Vinita Park, pleaded guilty and was sentenced Wednesday for resisting arrest, possession of a controlled substance and unlawful use of a weapon. Court records say a trooper responding to a call of an assault in November 2015 at the Lumière Place was told someone was driving through the parking garage with a woman on the hood of his car. The records say when the trooper ordered Burton to get out of his car, Burton accelerated toward the trooper, who shot him. A search found methamphetamine and a loaded handgun in Burton’s car.

5 Plead Guilty in Multi-State Dog Fighting Op

According to court documents filed in connection with the cases, from October 2015 through June 1, 2016, the pleading defendants and their co-defendants and associates fought dogs – including to the death – and trafficked in dogs with other dog fighters in Indiana, Illinois, New Mexico, and elsewhere so that those dogs could be used in dog fights. They also maintained fighting dogs and dog fighting equipment such as dog treadmills, intravenous drug bags and lines, “breeding stands” used to immobilize female dogs, and chains weighing up to several pounds per linear foot. Agents found canine blood on the floor, walls, and ceiling of the basement of one defendant’s residence, indicating that the area was likely used as a dog fighting pit. “This office, along with our law enforcement partners and the Humane Society, is working to end this illegal activity and punish those who abuse animals for their own enjoyment.” “The provisions of the Animal Welfare Act were designed to protect animals from being used in illegal fighting ventures, which often entail other forms of criminal activity involving drugs, firearms and gambling,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Bethanne M. Dinkins of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General.

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A Brief Look at Crime 08/07 – 08/13

Two people arrested in connection to Jacksonville murders

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has announced the murder arrest of two people Wednesday. Police say the first shooting occurred on July 9 at around 9:30 pm. At the time, police were patrolling the area of Monica Drive and discovered a suspicious vehicle in the parking lot. When they approached the vehicle they discovered a 21-year-old Richard Green dead in a car. Homicide detectives responded and during their investigation, they learned Green was shot and killed in what police call a “drug deal gone bad.” As a result of their investigation, 20-year-old Patrick Steadman was arrested in connection with the murder. Police said the second murder happened back on June 4, where they discovered 22-year-old Kenard Hendley suffering from a gunshot wound to the back. Police say the victim was transported to the hospital and later died from his injuries, Police later learned the victim and several other people were inside a home gambling when the shooting occurred. According to police, Anthony Finch got upset that the victim was winning and shot him in the back as he was trying to leave the home.

Charity worker facing jail after admitting she stole £350,000 from British Red Cross to fund online gambling addiction

A CROOKED finance worker embezzled over £350,000 from the British Red Cross – under the guise of sending money to former delegates and staff. Mary Booth was “a trusted and valued” British Red Cross employee for 34 years and initially worked at the charity’s headquarters in London. She earned £45,000-per-year and retired with a full pension and lump sum after working at the charity’s Scottish headquarters in Paisley, Renfrewshire. But the seemingly trustworthy 56-year-old siphoned £359,551.27 from the charity’s accounts, which she paid in to her own bank accounts. She claims she scammed the charity – which helps needy souls across the world – so she could continue to fund her online gambling habit after splitting from her husband. And she is now facing jail and may have to sell her £350,000 home to pay back the money.

Tampa man sentenced to federal prison for embezzling nearly $850,000

A Tampa man has been arrested and sentenced to four years in federal prison after he embezzled nearly $850,000. U.S. District Judge [the suspect] to four years in federal prison for wire fraud. The Court also ordered him to forfeit the $848,136.04, which is traceable to proceeds of the crime and to pay restitution to his victims. According to testimony and court documents, Wheeler, a bookkeeper, embezzled from six different employers over the course of 15 years. He diverted nearly $850,000 from his various employers to bank accounts under his control. He subverted the internal controls of the companies to ultimately direct payments to himself. He also registered a number of fictitious names to conceal the diversions. Wheeler used most of the money for online gambling, a release from the United States Department of Justice stated.

Jeweler accused of $5M fraud scheme, using fake invoices

A Connecticut man has been charged in what federal authorities say is a $5 million fraud scheme using his Rhode Island jewelry store. Gerald Kent 51, of Groton, Connecticut, was ordered detained Thursday on charges of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Providence. Kent owns Kent Jewelry in Johnston, Rhode Island, which sells jewelry online using flash sale websites, such as Groupon and Zulily. Prosecutors said Kent struck a deal with a firm that buys unpaid invoices at a discount in return for cash, prosecutors said. But Kent sold that company fraudulent invoices, netting himself $3.6 million, they said. Kent’s lawyer would not comment on the charges after the hearing. Kent is scheduled to appear back in court July 26 for a detention hearing. Prosecutors told the federal judge overseeing the case that Kent is a prolific gambler and was arrested Wednesday at Foxwoods casino. They said casino records show Kent has visited Foxwoods 116 times this year alone and has gambled $43 million there during his life.

Trial set for tax collector accused of stealing from town

A Massachusetts town’s former tax collector, indicted nearly four years ago on charges that she stole more than $300,000 of the town’s money to sustain a gambling habit, faces trial this fall. The Telegram & Gazette reports that former Barre tax collector Marcia Langelier is scheduled go on trial Oct. 30. She has pleaded not guilty to charges including larceny and embezzlement. Prosecutors say she stole money from 2005 into 2011 while serving in the elected position. At her 2013 arraignment, prosecutors said she had accrued gambling losses of $350,000. Independent auditors had previously warned town officials that practices in the tax collector’s office could conceal “irregularities.”

Ex-Jazzercise employee sentenced in $1 million embezzlement

The former finance director of Jazzercise was sentenced Tuesday to more than seven years in prison for embezzling what authorities say was upwards of $1 million from the Carlsbad-based company and its owners, possibly to feed a gambling habit. Sherri O. Potts — who spent nearly nine years as the corporate director of finance for the physical-fitness firm — was arrested in Carlsbad in October on 50 theft-related charges, including forgery, fraudulent appropriation and grand theft by an employee. She pleaded guilty in March to one count of grand theft, three counts of forgery and one count of failing to report the stolen money on her tax returns. She also admitted that she stole more than $500,000. Superior Court Judge Michael Washington sentenced the 60-year-old Fallbrook resident to seven years, eight months in prison.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 07/31 – 08/06

Woman arrested in May death of 80-year-old Las Vegas man

A 25-year-old woman has been arrested in the death of an 80-year-old man in the west Las Vegas Valley in May.The Metropolitan Police Department said [a suspect] was arrested Thursday on charges of murder, grand larceny auto theft and robbery with a deadly weapon. The victim was previously identified by the Clark County coroner’s office, and his death was classified as a homicide. Normand was found dead by family members inside his condo on May 8 after he failed to show up to work for two days, Metro said. They found Normand dead from unknown causes, police said. Police found video footage from the night before showing Normand and McKinley leaving a Las Vegas casino together. The coroner has not yet released Normand’s cause of death, but police Lt. Dan McGrath said he had been stabbed.

Silicon Valley man sentenced in gambling fraud case

A Santa Clara County man who pleaded no contest to embezzling more than $400,000 from his former high school classmates and gambling the money away in Las Vegas, Monte Carlo and Dubai was sentenced Monday to five years in county jail, prosecutors said. He persuaded his former classmates to allow him to invest their money in shares of Pinterest and Facebook, saying he could get them stakes in the companies before they were publicly available, prosecutors said. Instead of investing the money or using the funds for his business venture, Sagiraju allegedly spent about $424,000 on himself during “lavish blackjack trips to Las Vegas casinos,” prosecutors said. After one of Sagiraju’s victims reported the fraud to the district attorney’s office in November 2014, prosecutors opened an investigation. Sagiraju was arrested in Las Vegas during Super Bowl weekend in early February 2016, prosecutors said. Following his arrest, another business partner told prosecutors that Sagiraju had embezzled nearly $2 million.

Spalding man killed when he stepped in front of a passenger train at Quadring 

A man with gambling debts left notes apologizing for his actions before deliberately stepping into the path of a 75mph, 38-tonne diesel train at Quadring. [He] left “suicide and farewell” notes for family and friends inside his works van on Town Drove before using a foot crossing onto the railway line at about 4.45pm on March 8. South Lincolnshire’s senior coroner Paul Cooper said: “He told friends and family (in the notes) he intended to take his own life and that’s what he did.” East Midlands Ambulance Service paramedics declared life extinct at the scene. Train driver Allan Donald blew the single coach, passenger train’s horn “in a long, constant tone” after spotting Mr Taylor in his bright red coat. His train was one-and-a-half coach lengths away when Mr Taylor walked “deliberately forward” and stood sideways in its path, tensing himself until the impact. Emergency brakes didn’t stop the train until it was three-quarters of a mile down the track.

Wimbledon Tennis Match-Fixing Alerts Triggered by Gambling

Potential match-fixing alerts were triggered at Wimbledon in the second quarter of the year by gambling patterns. Alerts were also triggered for the French Open. The Tennis Integrity Unit said on Wednesday that one match at Roland Garros and three at Wimbledon, two of them in the qualifying tournament and one in the main draw, would be assessed and reviewed, reported Reuters. Alerts are raised in response to unusual betting patterns, which are not in themselves evidence of match-fixing and can be due to a number of other factors, including conditions and player fitness. The integrity unit said 40 of 53 alerts received were for matches played on the lower level men’s ATP Challenger and ITF Futures circuits. Three were on the men’s ATP Tour, one on the women’s WTA Tour and five on the ITF women’s circuit. During the April-June period, 31,281 professional matches were played. The cumulative six-month match alert figure was 83, compared to 121 received for the same period in 2016.

Man admits to using federal loans for gambling debts

NJ.com reports 58-year-old John Cheng, of New Brunswick, pleaded guilty to loan application fraud Wednesday. Cheng faces up to 30 years in prison. Prosecutors say Cheng applied for a $1.75 million federal Small Business Administration loan along with a $2 million commercial loan in order to finance a restaurant in December 2007. Officials say Cheng received more than $2 million in loans in March 2008. Authorities say Cheng spent the money on family members, a tax bill and gambling debts instead of construction for the restaurant. Cheng must pay $2.6 million in restitution.

Absolute Poker’s Scott Tom Accepts $300K Plea Deal

Scott Tom, former Absolute Poker president and Black Friday defendant, apparently has reached a plea deal with US prosecutors that will see him facing minimal jail time, if any at all. Tom stood accused by federal authorities of multiple felonies related to online gambling, and by the poker community of facilitating a major cheating scandal. According to documents reviewed by CalvinAyre.com journalists and revealed publicly earlier this week, on May 31, prosecutors accepted an agreement for Tom to plead guilty to a single misdemeanor charge of being an accessory after the fact in the transmission of gambling information, for which he will pay a $300,000 fine. As one of 11 infamous 11 Black Friday defendants, Tom faced multiple felony charges, including violation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, conspiracy to violate the UIGEA, and operation of an illegal gambling business. The charges carried a potential sentence of up to 15 years in prison and $750,000 in fines.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 07/24 – 07/30

Former Hudson Valley Comptroller Charged With Multi-million-Dollar Fraud

A local man, employed by two local companies, is accused of stealing over $2.5 million to fund his gambling and more. A complaint unsealed in Southern District of New York court charged Mark Cina, 56, of Pleasant Valley with mail fraud. The charge comes from an alleged scheme where Cina embezzled over $2.5 million from two Town of Poughkeepsie manufacturing companies where he was comptroller, over the course of at least seven years. One company’s work included a solar-powered ring of lights encircling the top of MetLife Stadium. The other local company molded plastic. Cina had authority to sign checks for the companies and use the companies’ credit cards and ATM cards, officials say. Cina is accused of using the stolen funds to gamble, pay his rent, drive rental cars, dine out, get his car washed, bail out an arrestee and pay a phone charge for an inmate’s call.

Former worker at PA casino indicted in money laundering scheme

A former Mount Airy Casino Resort worker has been indicted by the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania > in a money laundering conspiracy. According to U.S. Attorney Bruce Brandler, 30-year-old Ashley Brosius was charged “in a criminal information with conspiracy to commit money laundering,” the /Pocono Record/ reports. Brosius, a resident of Stroudsburg, was a former player-coordinator at the Mount Pocono casino. According to U.S. Attorney Brandler, Brosius and a co-conspirator, who has not been indicted, used names that were stolen along with personal identification numbers which were linked to player’s club cards. The unindicted co-conspirator reportedly aided Brosius in using the stolen information to create copies of player club cards. Brosius reportedly loaded the duplicate cards with free slot play credits and gave them to the individual to use to gamble primarily at the slots, according to the news agency. The Pocono Record reports that the criminal complaint alleges that the money laundering scheme began in November of 2014 and continued until November 2015. The fraudulent play reportedly amounted to approximately $140,000.

Death the only way out for couple who committed suicide

It was a case of “till death do us part” for the couple who committed suicide over mounting debts in Ampang. Family members had advised the woman, 36, to leave her husband who had a gambling habit but divorce was out of the question because she loved him too much. Death seemed like the only way out for her and her husband, 41, in the face of debts amounting to as much as RM10,000 owed to loan sharks. A friend, who only wanted to be known as Chen, 36, said the husband had a gambling problem for years and was unemployed, which caused the couple to be in constant debt. “He borrowed and she would be the guarantor,” she said when met at Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (HUKM) on Saturday. Chen said the couple had made arrangements for their 13-year-old son to stay with his maternal grandparents before taking their lives.

FBI seizes $850,000 connected to illegal gambling case

The FBI has seized $850,000 in cash and watches from four Portland residents in connection to an investigation into illegal gambling. The four residents who were subject to seizure haven’t been criminally charged with any wrongdoing. The Portland Press Herald reports documents filed Monday in connection with the seizure contain references to portions of federal law that relate to illegal gambling, although they do not specifically say that investigators believe the cash is connected to illegal activity. A spokeswoman for the city says they are watching the case closely. Donald Clark, an assistant U.S. attorney and spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Portland, declined to discuss the seizure.

Treasurer stole £176,000 from Bristol Rovers Supporters Club to fund online gambling addiction

For decades Sandra Jaques was a devoted volunteer for Bristol Rovers Supporters Club. But, having been elected to the position of treasurer, when she fell under the grip of online gambling she dipped into the club’s coffers and paid herself £176,000. Jaques told police she became addicted to online gambling, using her own money initially and then the supporter’s club bank card. She said she was receiving counselling, she was sorry for what she had done and wanted to move to Spain at the conclusion of her court case. An impact statement from BRSC described Mrs Jaques as a “friend of long-standing, going back to childhood”. The club said her ability and loyalty had not been doubted and the club felt “sheer disbelief and betrayal”.

Woman steals $119K to feed gambling addiction, police say

A North Codorus Township woman was charged after she allegedly took $119,013 from her place of employment. Daniel Hoke, the owner of Hoke Mills Inc., told police that he discovered on March 18 that his company’s bank account was not reflecting what the deposit books were showing, according to an affidavit filed with District Judge Tony Little. Hoke’s accountant audited the deposit books and bank account, which found discrepancies in the amount of $119,013, the affidavit states. He told police two employees would prepare the deposits and Kale, the business manager, always took the deposits to the bank. Hoke also told police that Kale admitted to him that she took money from the deposits, police said in the affidavit. On April 4, police spoke with Kale, who told them she took the money. She said she was not aware of the total amount she had taken, but knew it was more than $100,000, the affidavit states. She also told police she has a gambling addiction.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 07/17 – 07/23

Horrifying moment gambler kills two people just seconds after losing his £20,000 life savings in a casino

Debt-riddled vet Osvaldo Campos Azocar, 42, went on a terrifying rampage after blowing more than £20,000 in the Monticello casino in Santiago, Chile. Osvaldo Campos Azocar is seen pulling out a weapon moments before shooting dead two people In CCTV footage he is seen standing up from a roulette table before pulling out a weapon and shooting a male dealer and a woman. Police said six others, whose names have not been released, are being treated in hospital. “Eight people were injured, two of them lost their lives”, a spokesperson told local media. After the terrifying shooting Campos locked himself in a bathroom for 17 hours amid fears he was holding hostages.

Tipton pleads guilty to rigging computerized lottery drawings

The cyber security expert and brainpower behind a lottery rigging scandal that netted $2 million in illegal winnings from five state lotteries pleaded guilty Thursday to a felony charge of ongoing criminal conduct charge. For the first time in an Iowa courtroom, Eddie Tipton admitted to playing a central role in the rigging scheme after more than two years of adamant denials in the face of mounting evidence against him. Lottery executives have stated that computerized drawings are easier for them to coordinate and are cheaper to operate — although the actual savings of computerized drawings is suspect, especially when accounting for a drop in sales due to lower player confidence. Tipton’s guilty plea will only create more player distrust. “I wrote software that included code that allowed me to technically predict wining numbers and I gave those numbers to other individuals who then won the lottery and shared those winnings with me,” he said.

Gambling addict jailed for stealing more than £200,000 from sick mother

A CARER who fleeced her sick mother out of more than £200,000 to feed her gambling addiction has been locked up for 15 months. ‘Foolish’ Gillian Bates splurged the cash on online gambling sites Jackpot Joy and Foxy Bingo while her late mother Marjorie Lee battled Alzheimer’s disease in a care home. The 69-year-old trembled in the dock, sobbing as Deputy Circuit Judge John Price criticised her for abusing her position after being given a power of attorney. Mrs Lee was moved to an Abingdon care home, where she was expected to live for five years, after receiving her diagnosis aged 86 in January 2014, prosecutor Cathy Olliver said. Her three children decided her house would be sold to pay the approximate £50,000 annual care home costs, with Bates given the power of attorney and selling the property for £243,000. The fraudster, of Malford Road, Oxford, began making a number of transactions from her mother’s account to her own, transferring a total of £277,100. Bates, who has been working as a carer for the elderly for the past 15 years, sat biting her nails in the dock as Mr Khan revealed her family were unaware of her addiction.

Ex-NFL Player Gets 15 Months for Role in Drugs and Gambling Racket

Derek Loville, a former NFL running back and three-time Super Bowl winner, was sentenced to 15 months in prison on Wednesday for dealing ecstasy and oxycodone for a criminal gang. Loville spent nine years in the NFL in the nineties, playing for the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49-ers and the Denver Broncos, winning the Super Bowl with the latter two teams. Hanson was convicted largely on the testimony of professional gambler, Robert J Cipriani, a colorful character who also goes by the name of “Robin Hood 702” because he allegedly gives his winnings to the poor. Cipriani claims he had met Hanson in at the Star Casino in Melbourne and was asked by the latter to launder $2.2 million at the blackjack tables. Hanson told him to play for a while before exchanging his chips into a check. But instead, Cipriani lost the lot and went to the FBI when Hanson demanded his money back. Loville claimed in court this week that he only became aware of the full scale of the operation after Hanson’s arrest and apologized for his actions.

FBI seizes nearly $849,000 in series of Portland raids allegedly tied to illegal gambling

In a series of raids around Portland this spring, the FBI seized nearly $849,000 worth of bank funds, cash and luxury watches which it says are tied to alleged violations of a federal law against running an illegal gambling business. The notice of seizure states the goods were taken “for violation of federal law” and cites a legal provision that allows for the seizure of property used in running illegal gambling businesses. The majority of the feds’ April haul was taken from Mardigan and Nixon, with $500,000 in cash seized from her safety deposit box, more than $104,000 taken from his business bank account, and $143,000 in cash and ten watches valued at more than $19,000 confiscated from their home, according to the forfeiture notice.

Former Hudson Valley Comptroller Charged With Multi-million-Dollar Fraud

A local man, employed by two local companies, is accused of stealing over $2.5 million to fund his gambling and more. The charge comes from an alleged scheme where Cina embezzled over $2.5 million from two Town of Poughkeepsie manufacturing companies where he was comptroller, over the course of at least seven years. One company’s work included a solar-powered ring of lights encircling the top of MetLife Stadium. The other local company molded plastic. Cina had authority to sign checks for the companies and use the companies’ credit cards and ATM cards, officials say. Cina is accused of using the stolen funds to gamble, pay his rent, drive rental cars, dine out, get his car washed, bail out an arrestee and pay a phone charge for an inmate’s call.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 07/10 – 07/16

Fake online stores reveal gamblers’ shadow banking system

A network of dummy online stores offering household goods has been used as a front for internet gambling payments, a Reuters examination has found. The seven sites, operated out of Europe, purport to sell items including fabric, DVD cases, maps, gift wrap, mechanical tape, pin badges and flags. In fact, they are fake outlets, part of a multinational system to disguise payments for the $40 billion global online gambling industry, which is illegal in many countries and some U.S. states. The findings raise questions about how e-commerce is policed worldwide. They also underline a strategy which fraud specialists say regulators, card issuers and banks have yet to tackle head-on. That strategy is “transaction laundering” – when one online merchant processes payment card transactions on behalf of another, which can help disguise the true nature of payments. The scheme found by Reuters involved websites which accepted payments for household items from a reporter but did not deliver any products. Instead, staff who answered helpdesk numbers on the sites said the outlets did not sell the product advertised, but that they were used to help process gambling payments, mostly for Americans. Categorising a gambling transaction as a purchase of something else is against the rules of card issuers including Visa and Mastercard, the card companies said in response to Reuters’ findings. “Transaction laundering is serious misconduct – often criminal,” said Dan Frechtling, head of product at G2 Web Services, a financial compliance company which works with leading banks and card issuers. “It violates the merchant’s agreement with its acquirer, allows prohibited goods and services to enter the payment system, and may flout anti-money laundering laws.”

Charming con man embezzled millions from trusting victims

Financial advisor Conrad Eagan was charming and almost like one of the family, according to the relatives of one of his clients who gathered in an Ottawa courtroom Thursday. But it was his nice guy routine that allowed him to swindle approximately $3.45 million from the elderly, pocketing money they had saved through their own hard work and perseverance to sate what one of his victims described as his “uncontrollable greed.” Court heard after Eagan convinced his clients to set up wills that would keep their inheritance in trust and pay out the beneficiaries, only 10 per cent of them invested assets annually. Since Eagan also ensured he was the executor, it gave him access to the estate accounts. Eagan’s lawyer, Oliver Abergel, explained that the fraud was partially the result of his client’s gambling problem. “What I did is inexcusable. It was cruel. People trusted me, I let them down,” said Eagan. “I’m sorry, and it’s not sorry for being caught. I did such a stupid thing.”

Woman stole £150k from vulnerable pensioner and spent it on gambling and holidays

A fraudster left a vulnerable pensioner penniless after fleecing her out of more than £150,000 which she blew on gambling, holidays and jewellery. Heartless Lynn Minrath befriended the woman and then took increasing control over her finances. Prosecutor David Bright said: “This is, in essence, a fraud case, a particularly mean one. “It is the tale of a dishonest younger woman taking financial advantage of a woman in her 70s.” Mr Bright said that in 2014 the pensioner had in excess of £250,000, mainly from the proceeds of the sale of her home in London prior to her moving in with her brother in Rugby. When Mr Bright put to her that she was gambling “thousands of pounds” of the pensioner’s money, she replied: “With her consent, and with her wishes.” She accepted she had carried on until the pensioner’s accounts had been emptied, but denied Mr Bright’s suggestion that she was “a thoroughly dishonest woman”. The court heard that in 2013, Minrath, whose victim has been reimbursed by around £130,000 by her bank, had been jailed for thefts and frauds from people while working as a child minder.

Temecula woman sentenced for stealing, gambling away $565,000

A Temecula woman who stole $565,000 from the Escondido- based concrete business where she worked and gambled the money away at local casinos was sentenced today to six years in state prison. Sheila Jo Jackson, 46, pleaded guilty last month to a half-dozen felony charges, including embezzlement, check forgery and grand theft, filed by the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office. Vista Superior Court Judge Michael Washington ordered Jackson to pay restitution to Betz Concrete, where she worked as a business manager. The thefts went back to at least 2012, said Deputy District Attorney Anna Winn. A bank representative contacted the concrete company about suspicious activity on its account and Jackson was arrested late last year, according to police.

Man ran half-dozen illegal gambling rooms in Austin area

Chong Pak, 53, has been arrested in connection to an illegal gambling operation in Austin. Police found nearly $750,000 in cash in Pak’s home after serving a warrant, officials said. Police believe Pak owned six to eight game rooms in the Austin area. Austin police have arrested a man in connection to citywide illegal gambling activities, but the case remains open as they expect to file more charges in the future against others, police said. People who play with these particular machines do not have a “legitimate” chance of winning, police said. These activities are of interest to police because of the related crimes that could occur, such as robberies and violent crimes, police said. Austin police believe there are about 80 illegal gambling operations housed in warehouses, homes and storefronts throughout the Austin area, said Austin police Cmdr. Troy Officer of APD’s organized crime unit.

Ex-casino worker admits role in ‘inside job’ robbery that led to murder of Brink’s guard

Ammar has been locked up since shortly after the Aug. 21, 2011, robbery, an insider job that led to the shooting death of Brink’s guard Alvaro Lopez Ramos. Ramos, 26, was fatally shot while picking up cash from the Calder Race Track and Casino, on the border of Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Jurors found Ammar not guilty of playing a role in the murder but convicted him of robbery, conspiracy and a related firearms offense at his 2012 trial. Four other people who pleaded guilty to their roles in the incident are serving federal prison terms ranging from five years to 50 years. Vladimir Louissaint, 31, of Miami Gardens, who confessed to firing the fatal shots, received the most severe punishment of 50 years. Ammar, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who was a security manager at the casino, remained imprisoned while his appeal was pending. His case is now being handled by U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro.

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