Category Archives: Crime

A Brief Look at Crime 02/15 – 02/21

Las Vegas Strip: Police Make 1,229 Arrests Through Three-Month Operation

Las Vegas police arrested over 1,200 people during its three month operation against violent crime. Operation Persistent Pressure ran from September 18 to December 20, in response to a rise in violence in September. Crime levels in December were 1.8% higher year on year, but police say they will maintain their efforts. Las Vegas police made 1,229 arrests and confiscated 64 firearms in the Strip area during its three-month operation to stop the rise in crime levels.

Metro Captain Dori Koren said last Tuesday that the rise in crime and violence on the Strip “was resolved to some extent,” as police made “tremendous progress” in dealing with crimes on the tourist corridor. According to Koren, arrests included disorderly conducts, robberies, assaults, batteries, and illegal shootings with 36% people charged for gross misdemeanors or felonies. Violence Began to Rise Significantly in September In a statement issued Friday, Koren declared that violent crime in the Strip area started rising in September, with violent altercations including shootings and aggravated assaults.

Las Vegas Woman Gets Three Years in Federal Prison for Role in Sweepstakes Scam

A 50-year-old Las Vegas woman received a three-year federal prison sentence Wednesday for her role in a $9 million criminal scheme that targeted mostly elderly and other vulnerable victims who received fraudulent mailers claiming they won prizes. In addition to the prison time, Andrea Burrow was also sentenced to three subsequent years of supervised release. The court also ordered her to forfeit $272,000, according to a US Department of Justice release. U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro handed down the sentence in a Nevada federal district court.

Prosecutors sought a nearly five-year prison term. They did so because they claimed her criminal behavior started well before 2010, when this case originated. Court documents also show federal authorities seized more than $237,000 from a Bank of America safety deposit box and her Las Vegas residence in February 2018. The mail scheme sent bogus prize announcements to individuals. The letters claimed victims would receive a large cash prize if they paid a fee, typically between $20 to $30. Burrow, authorities said, opened the mail, sorted the payments, and kept track of those who submitted payments in a database. People who mailed payments were then targeted for additional prize scams.

Feds seek 5-year prison sentence for former sports talk radio host Marty Tirrell

Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to sentence former Des Moines sports talk radio host Marty Tirrell to five years in prison for a pattern of sports ticket scams they say stretches back more than a decade. Tirrell, 60, defrauded investors of more than $1.5 million by claiming to have access to tickets to major sporting events that he could re-sell at a higher rate, promising to split the profits, Acting U.S. Attorney Richard Westphal wrote in a sentencing brief filed Thursday. Westphal is also asking that Tirrell be ordered to pay $1.46 million in restitution to American Express, Wells Fargo, Bank of the West and five individuals identified only by their initials.”The Defendant has been defrauding businesses and individuals with his lies for years, with little to no consequences,” Westphal wrote. “Defendant continued to lie after he was under investigation in this matter, and the Government is concerned he won’t ever stop lying.”

Workers lose Christmas bonuses due to embezzler’s ‘horrible betrayal’ 

A woman whose theft from a small Grand Rapids business cost 45 employees their Christmas bonuses was sent to prison for what a judge called a pattern of “horrible’’ behavior. “It’s just a horrifying thing that you did; this betrayal,’’ Judge Curt Benson told 42-year-old Terry Jo Lamore. Lamore embezzled more than $150,000 from The Screen Print Department, which prints and embroiders T-shirts, jackets and hats in a brick factory on the city’s Northwest Side. The embezzlement came to light just before the pandemic, which served as a double hit for the locally-owned business. “Employees look forward to raises and Christmas bonuses,’’ Human Resources Manager Renee Orr said. “And this year that just didn’t happen with that $150,000 taken from us.’’ It is not new territory for Lamore, who lists an address in Belmont.  She embezzled more than $13,000 from a Kelloggsville Public Schools parent-teacher organization more than a decade ago. Benson said Lamore’s pattern of criminal behavior justifies prison. Investigators determined some of the embezzled funds were used for gambling.

Wattsburg School District’s ex-payroll chief gets 2-13 years for embezzling $320,000 

The defense said addiction and abuse contributed to a former payroll supervisor at the Wattsburg Area School District embezzling $320,000 from the district for more than three years ending when she resigned under pressure in February 2019. Erie County District Attorney Jack Daneri blamed the thefts on a gambling habit. He said the defendant, Rebecca A. Leone, 36, crafted a sophisticated plan to take the money by writing a total of 161 school district checks to herself and then “went out to play the slots at the casino,” referring to Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Summit Township. “She gambled it away,” Daneri said at Leone’s sentencing in Erie County Court on Friday. The prosecution’s points prevailed. Erie County Judge John J. Mead followed Daneri’s recommendation and sentenced Leone to state prison. Mead gave her two to 13 years. “This was not a crime of opportunity, but a systematic looting of the school district,”

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

A Brief Look at Crime 02/08 – 02/14

Lawsuit claims Miami homebuilder and a ‘band of thieves’ stole millions from customers

A Miami homebuilder has been sued, accused of stealing millions of dollars from his clients to finance his high-roller lifestyle of weekend gambling stints at the Hard Rock Casino, two Rolls Royces and a Range Rover, and a luxury condo in Brickell. According to a complaint filed in Miami-Dade circuit court late Wednesday, Francisco Mendez, owner of the Miami-based Pioneer Inter-Development real estate developer, overpaid the contractors working on several homes, then demanded they return the extra money to him as a kickback. “There is more of this kind of fraud than people would like to believe,” said John Criste, an attorney at Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton, the firm representing the plaintiffs. “But the fact that it is prevalent doesn’t make it right. In this instance, Mr. Mendez and his cohorts happened to get caught. They got caught because the instances of fraud in this case are egregious.”

San Diego’s hidden gambling problem: Illicit casinos attract gangs, drugs, violence

A task force raid in October found evidence of an illegal gambling parlor, with 16 video gaming machines, drugs, methamphetamine pipes and about $1,700 in cash concealed in drywall, according to an FBI search warrant affidavit. That same night, investigators busted a similar casino blocks away, operating in a unit behind a small house. The businesses are just two examples of a much larger illicit economy that has risen in urban centers and quiet residential neighborhoods throughout California, including San Diego County. Illegal gambling is a misdemeanor under state law. Authorities say these underground parlors operating in the region are closely tied to a more serious criminal element: gangs, drugs and violence.

Homicide, shootings, stabbings, thefts — all have been investigated in and around the sites, according to the FBI affidavits. Methamphetamine often goes hand-in-hand with play at many covert gaming halls and is often sold or supplied by operators on-site, according to court records. The stimulant can keep patrons in front of machines for hours in a hyper-focused and confident state. It also entices them to come back for more. “Illegal gambling dens bring drugs, violence, guns, and other organized criminal activity into San Diego neighborhoods,” said FBI spokeswoman Davene Butler. That violence has grown increasingly conspicuous in the last year.

Fugitive arrested in fatal gambling room shootout at Sycamore Township hotel

A fugitive was arrested Tuesday in what authorities are calling a gambling room shootout that killed two people, including a 15-year-old boy. The U.S. Marshals Service Southern Ohio Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team arrested Jay Harris on an outstanding warrant from Hamilton County for two counts of murder. According to a release from the U.S. Marshals Service, Harris was allegedly involved in a robbery at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Sycamore Township on Nov. 1, 2019. Authorities say the shootout stemmed from a night of gambling inside of a hotel room. That night of gambling included craps and betting on a Madden football video game, officials said, in which thousands of dollars exchanged hands.

Feds hint at expansive evidence as man with mob ties pleads guilty in sports betting case

A federal prosecutor hinted at expansive evidence including “a large number” of recordings as a man with purported mob ties pleaded guilty Wednesday to running an illegal sports gambling operation. Gregory Paloian, of Elmwood Park, also admitted he filed a false 2016 tax return. He entered his plea during a video conference before U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow, and he now faces a likely prison sentence of between two and three years. Kinney said Paloian’s operation involved “five or more people.” He said Paloian had agents who recruited gamblers. And he said they used a website in a foreign country to place bets. The prosecutor also said Paloian filed a 2016 tax return reflecting a negative income of $77,229, when he actually made at least $95,220 that year. Paloian’s plea agreement says he took wagers on professional football, basketball, baseball and hockey games, as well as college sporting events.

Alabama City Clerk Who Stole Money to Gamble Sentenced to Federal Prison

An Alabama woman will spend the next year in federal prison after pleading guilty to stealing more than $400,000 from two cities where she served as clerk. Kim Wright Green, 50, of Loxley, Alabama pleaded guilty a year ago to embezzling $400,030 from the cities of Creola and Prichard. Green was city clerk of Creola from January 2013 to February 2017, and city clerk of Prichard from May 2017 through August of 2019. Green admitted to federal prosecutors that she gambled some of the stolen money at casinos. However, specific casinos were not identified. Alabama does not have commercial casinos with slot machines and table games. But it is home to three tribal casinos owned and operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. Wind Creek Montgomery, Atmore, and Wetumpka operate Class II Native American gaming. Under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), Class II facilities can offer gaming machines that are based on bingo. Class II casinos are specifically prohibited from operating slot machines and house-banked table games (blackjack, roulette).

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

A Brief Look at Crime 02/01 – 02/07

Why has Las Vegas experienced a surge in homicides?

There have been 81 murders in Metro Police’s jurisdiction in 2020 to represent a 12.5% increase in comparison to the same time last year. They include: Two teenage brothers gunned down by their drunken father, a boy slain during a fight about video games and two young men killed at illegal house parties. Additionally, two babies were dropped to their death from staircases in separate incidents. And there’s the unsolved case of Lesly Palacio a young woman who went out for a drink with a family friend and never returned home. Her remains were found in a desert area north of Las Vegas.

In what’s already been a volatile and unpredictable year marked by a global pandemic and an eruption of social justice protests, major cities across the U.S. are seeing an uptick in slayings and aggravated assaults. In Las Vegas, police have investigated 1,931 aggravated assaults with a gun, which is about 230 more than last year, according to department figures. At least 10 fights or shootings have happened on the Las Vegas Strip. Additionally, the 21 justified homicides Metro has probed from January to Nov. 7 represent a 133% increase from the nine investigated last year, figures show. Those are killings deemed self-defense. The North Las Vegas Police Department has publicly reported 13 slayings this year, compared to nine last year, while Henderson Police have probed 11, which is two more than 2019. The numbers in Henderson include a recent triple murder in which a man shot four of his downstairs neighbors on Nov. 3.

Dr. William Sousa, professor at UNLV’s Department of Criminal Justice and director of the Center from Crime and Justice Policy, says there could be more than one explanation for the spike in crime. But a common theory being explored is that police departments diverted their resources to manage the social unrest to leave behind certain levels of preventive community policing, he said. Policing is more effective when officers are proactive in the communities they patrol as opposed to having to respond to calls for service, Sousa said. “It shouldn’t be a surprise if mechanisms helping to manage those problems … are no longer there,” Sousa said.

Pennsylvania, New Jersey Casinos Get 16K in Counterfeit Currency, Three Arrests Made 

Several Pennsylvania gaming properties and one in Atlantic City wound up getting fake bills last year, leading to the recent arrest of three suspects, with another person still on the loose. In total, $16,000 worth of 150 fake bills were passed at Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem — now called Wind Creek Bethlehem — as well as Parx Casino, Valley Forge Casino Resort, Harrah’s casinos, and SugarHouse Casino — now Rivers Casino Philadelphia, reported /Lehigh Valley, a local online news site. Three of the suspects were shown on casino surveillance cameras allegedly using the altered money at gaming tables, sometimes while playing blackjack, the report said. Also, the inquiry revealed a printing operation in a Philadelphia hotel room. Police claim the printing scheme made $1 bills look like $100 bills. They were bleached and then altered through a printing process. But each of the bills had the same serial number.

Belterra Park sued for more than $2.7M for allegedly withholding video gaming revenues from racehorse owners and trainers

A Cincinnati-area racino is being sued for withholding more than $2.7 million in video lottery gaming revenues from the Ohio Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. The association of racehorse owners and trainers filed the federal lawsuit Friday against Belterra Park in U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio in Columbus.

The suit alleges Belterra, located at 6301 Kellogg Road on the site of the old River Downs racetrack in suburban Anderson Twp., failed to pay the association its full share of video lottery proceeds from 2014 to 2018. According to the complaint, when Ohio legalized video lottery terminals in 2009, it required racinos like Belterra to split revenues between the track, the Ohio Lottery Commission, and the horsemen’s association, which was to receive between 9% and 11% of the proceeds.

Shootout that killed two in 2019 started as robbery of gambling in Sycamore Township hotel room

A shootout inside a Sycamore Township hotel room that killed two people started as a robbery of an illegal gambling night, according to a release from Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney Joseph T. Deters. Taymar Jones, 20, and Ja’Quan Howard, 15 were both killed Nov. 1, 2019, in a shooting at the Hampton Inn and Suites. Gambling on the dice game craps and a Madden video game went on for several hours with thousands of dollars changing hands before the attempted robbery, according to the release. Jones has been accused of being one of three robbers who entered the hotel room with a gun, according to Deters’ release. Howard was inside the room, and caught in the crossfire when the shooting started, according to the release. “This was a shoot-out situation,” Deters said in the release. On Monday, a Hamilton County grand jury indicted three men on murder charges in connection with the shooting deaths.

North Texas Cockfighting Operation Busted: 60 Live Roosters And Hens Recovered, 3 Men Arrested

A search warrant for a property in Hickory Creek Thursday morning, December 10, resulted in the arrest of three men for cockfighting and the recovery of 60 live birds and several deceased ones. It happened around 7:00 a.m. in the 1600 block of Turbeville Road. Lake Dallas Police and the Texas Highway Patrol assisted. Officers found several items typically used in cockfighting operations, including artificial spurs, along with documents indicating betting/gambling on the animals’ lives. Officers also found approximately 40 cages of various sizes, some not big enough for the animals to move around in freely. Many of the birds in cages did not have access to food or water. With the assistance of the Humane Society of North Texas Cruelty Investigations Division, Hickory Creek Police were able to recover 42 roosters and 18 hens.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 01/25 – 01/31

Huntingdon Co. man charged with embezzling over $100K from local charity

 Huntingdon man has been charged, accused of embezzling over $100,000 from a local charitable organization, according to a release from Huntingdon County District Attorney’s office. Authorities say 44-year-old Adam Pfingstl faces 12 felony counts of theft and receiving stolen property following an investigating (sic) by state police. Troopers say between April and December of this year, Pfingstl, who was the executive director of Huntingdon County PRIDE, stole the money from the organization and used it to pay for online gambling, personal online purchases and lottery tickets. Huntingdon County PRIDE is an organization that provides programs and services to disabled residents.

Illinois Gaming Board Seeks $5 Million Fine Against Major Video Gambling Company Accel Entertainment

The Illinois Gaming Board is seeking to levy a $5 million fine against Accel Entertainment, a west suburban-based company that has become one of the largest video gambling operators in the nation. The complaint from state gambling regulators alleges the company entered into a deal with the online sports betting company DraftKings in order to pay commissions to business owners to entice them into putting Accel gambling machines in their establishments. It’s illegal for video gambling operators to offer “inducements” to try and drum up or maintain video gambling business, and regulators allege the $21,000 in commissions paid out by Accel violate the Illinois Gaming Act.

LVMPD investigating homicide at The STRAT hotel room

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s homicide section is investigating a shooting at the STRAT Hotel and Casino that occurred Friday night. Officers responded to one of the towers at the STRAT at approximately 10:00 p.m. Friday after reports of someone being shot. Police, upon arriving, discovered a black male in his early 30s deceased on the scene. Investigators believe there was a birthday party in one of the rooms, where people who appeared to know each other got into an altercation that ended with gunshots. Police said many of the people fled and they are still looking for the suspect or suspects.

Shooting at Nevada Casino Leaves Woman Hospitalized, Boyfriend Behind Bars

A woman was hospitalized after sustaining injuries in a shooting at a Laughlin, Nevada, casino this weekend. A man identified as her boyfriend was taken into police custody, authorities said. The incident occurred before 7:20 am on Sunday in a hotel room at the Aquarius Casino Resort, according to the /Las Vegas Review-Journal/. The shooting allegedly happened during a struggle inside the hotel room. The woman’s boyfriend was arrested at the site without incident, the newspaper reported. On its website, the Aquarius bills itself as the “largest 24-hour gaming resort in Laughlin.” In August 2019, police shot and killed an armed man in the Aquarius parking lot after he had attempted to rob a cashiers’ cage inside the casino. The shooting on Sunday at the Aquarius is the second this weekend inside a hotel room at a Southern Nevada casino. 

Fentanyl, an $8,600 debt — and a fatal shooting in Marysville

Detectives believe a man found dead in Marysville earlier this month was shot in a drug deal-turned-robbery, according to police reports and charging papers filed in court. Jason M. Castle, 42, had a fentanyl addiction, and the suspected shooter, Lyon Nicholas Torns, 36, who goes by Nick, was his friend and drug dealer, according to Marysville police. Over the past year, the pair exchanged more than 6,000 text messages, police reports say. On Nov. 3, Castle began sending Torns text messages asking about money. Torns, who had a gambling problem, owed Castle as much as $8,600, deputy prosecutor Toni Montgomery wrote. “why did u do it again?” Castle wrote to Torns. “I’m not in a great spot I have spent 40k lately but no return yet. These pills are breaking me.” On Nov. 8, the day he was shot, Castle wrote Torns just before 1 a.m., arranging a meeting to buy 500 Fentanyl pills for $3,000.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 01/18 – 01/24

Ex-Los Angeles Councilman Pleads Not Guilty to Corruption Charges that Included Accepting Las Vegas Gambling Trips as Payment

Former City Council member Jose Huizar pleaded not guilty Monday to federal charges that he took bribes to help developers win favors for large building projects in the city’s burgeoning downtown district. Huizar entered the plea to a new racketeering indictment that added additional charges. The 41-count complaint includes allegations of bribery, honest services fraud and money laundering. Huizar was arrested in June on allegations that he masterminded a $1.5 million pay-to-play scheme tied to the approval of developments. They included a 77-story tower in Huizar’s district that would have been the largest skyscraper west of the Mississippi River. The developer, who already had a hotel in the district, was accused of providing cash and benefits worth $800,000 to Huizar and others that included a dozen trips to Las Vegas casinos and funds to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit against the councilman. Huizar left office earlier this year and pleaded not guilty to the earlier 34-count indictment. His trial was set for June 22.

Florida Man Gets Stuck With $93,000 Tax Bill After Letting Boss Use His Daily Fantasy Sports Account

A lawsuit filed in Florida alleges that a former employee of Oakes Farms and Seed to Table is stuck with a massive bill from the IRS for winnings that, he claims, are not his. Andrew Moste says he felt pressured by the company’s vice president, Steven Veneziano, to let the latter use his DraftKings daily fantasy sports account. Veneziano came out $216,000 ahead and owes $93,000 in taxes on those winnings. However, since it’s Moste’s account, that’s where the tax bill went. The suit alleges that Veneziano refused to hand over the cash. Instead, he attempted to convince Moste to participate in tax fraud with him. Moste is seeking a jury trial and asking for over $181,000 in damages.

This is the second time in as many months that DraftKings has been at the center of legal drama over alleged account sharing. The previous story likewise involved a bettor from Florida, who placed a staggering $3 million wager through a friend’s New Jersey sports betting account.

Feds charge employee with stealing $315K from northern Minnesota casino

An employee stole more than $315,000 from a northern Minnesota casino over more than six years, according to federal charges. Jennifer L. Boutto, 32, of Willow Valley Township, Minn., was charged Monday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis. The alleged embezzlement of $315,739.87 from the Fortune Bay Resort and Casino in Tower stretched from June 2013 to October 2019, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Fortune Bay is operated by the Bois Fort Band of Chippewa.

Connecticut Poker Player Pleads Guilty to $1M Tax Evasion, Faces Five Years in Prison

A Connecticut poker player and small business owner has pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion. The charge carries a maximum imprisonment of up to five years. The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut says Smith owns a commercial interior construction business called Centerline Interiors LLC, but made considerable income playing in poker tournaments across the country. “Even though the IRS notified Smith on multiple occasions that he was required to report all of his gambling income on his federal tax returns, Smith concealed his gambling income from his tax preparer and paid no income taxes on more than $1 million in gambling winnings,” a Department of Justice release explained.

Sports betting company, two casinos fined by state gambling regulators

An online sports gambling company and two casinos have been fined by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission for violations. Racing and Gaming Commission administrator Brian Ohorilko says DraftKings was fined for a late download of new self-ban list information. He says an audit by the commission determined the list was not uploaded within the required seven days — and he says they did note that no one on the ban list signed up or played. He says this was the first violation for the company.

The Rhythm City Casino in Davenport was fined for a violation involving surveillance cameras. “There was an instance in November of 2018 — the facility started experiencing some surveillance system issues — there was a complete loss of coverage on January first of 2019. It did include critical areas of the facility,” Ohorilko says. He says the problem happened again. “There was a second situation in February where there was the intermittent loss of critical areas for approximately four-and-a-half-hours. In that particular situation, the commission and DCI were not notified,” he says.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 01/11 – 01/17

Cleveland developer embezzled $885,000 from Eastside Market project during bad losing streak at casino

A Cleveland developer who found himself more than $1 million in the hole at the casino embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from a project to bring a grocery store and health services to the Glenville community, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Arthur Fayne, 58, faces nine counts of wire fraud from an indictment a grand jury in Toledo handed up last week. Prosecutors said Fayne stole more than $885,000 intended for a construction management contractor and an audio-visual technology installation subcontractor, as his company was used as an intermediary for payments made by a nonprofit behind the project. At the same time, Fayne was using his company’s money to gamble, losing large amounts between 2016 and 2018, according to the FBI.

U.S. Alleges Visa Fraud, Criminal Conspiracy at Saipan Casino

U.S. federal prosecutors indicted three people involved with Imperial Pacific International Holdings Ltd. controversial casino project in Saipan for employing undocumented workers, making illegal money transfers, and participating in a criminal conspiracy — adding to the legal troubles connected to the Hong Kong operator. Prosecutors allege the trio conspired to illegally hire large numbers of Chinese laborers to work on the casino site, “instructing prospective hires to lie to immigration inspectors” on arrival by claiming they were tourists. The indictment includes a conspiracy charge under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a powerful legal tool used in the past against Mafia families in New York as well as the Hells Angels motorcycle club.

A black Ferrari and $62,000 at the casino: How some are living large with COVID relief aid 

The financial aid was meant to help those most in need during the pandemic. But millions of dollars from a COVID-19 relief fund instead are falling in the wrong hands: It’s been misspent on jewelry store spending sprees, high-stakes casino trips and glitzy cars — like a flashy Lamborghini and Ferrari. Of the dozens of South Floridians accused of defrauding the government, some of them have been caught using their ill-gotten gains to live high-flying lifestyles, federal prosecutors say. Court records obtained by the South Florida Sun Sentinel shed new light on how extensive the COVID-19 relief fraud has been across the region. One man accused of fraud applied for and received a loan, claiming the money was for his business. Instead, he spent $95,000 at jewelry stores, $62,000 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, $6,630 on flights, $5,300 at Gucci, $2,000 at Dior, and $1,000 at Milano Exchange, prosecutors say.

Dunsmuir woman gambled away money she embezzled as property manager

A Dunsmuir woman accused of gambling away thousands of dollars she embezzled while working as a property manager was sentenced Wednesday to a suspended 10 years, four months in prison. Jeannine Marie Tobey, 73 of Dunsmuir, pleaded guilty in July to eight felonies, said Siskiyou County District Attorney Kirk Andrus. Given her  age and the current COVID-19 crisis she will not be required to serve immediate jail time. However, Andrus said, Tobey must pay all restitution by the end of her three-year probationary period on Dec. 1, 2023. “The victims deserve to collect money … that Ms. Tobey flushed down the toilet of an apparent gambling addiction,” Andrus said. “Tobey claimed that between 2014 and 2016 she began having serious financial trouble. Witnesses reported that she had a severe gambling problem,” Andrus said. Tobey admitted to the sergeant that she had removed thousands of dollars of client funds from the escrow account and had spent them gambling, said Andrus.

Bookmakers ‘helped gambling addict squander injury compensation’

Two leading bookmakers helped a severely disabled gambling addict fill out betting slips as he squandered his compensation from a botched operation, it has been claimed. Lawyers for Liam McCarron say that Ladbrokes Coral and Paddy Power failed to intervene over more than three years as his losses reached at least £500,000. McCarron had been a successful businessman until 2007, when he sustained “catastrophic” injuries during a medical procedure, leading to permanent and severe impairment of his movement and speech.

In a letter seen by the Guardian, McCarron’s lawyers say it should have been obvious to both companies that he was a vulnerable person who could not have been earning a salary and was likely to be gambling beyond his means. According to the claim, which has been forwarded to the Gambling Commission, staff at Ladbrokes  were aware that he was using the diminishing proceeds of a one-off payout, writing in internal notes in 2014 that he had “received substantial compensation”. But they allegedly failed to take proper steps to address his gambling disorder until 2017, when staff at Ladbrokes’ sister company, Coral, asked him to fill out a form proving his source of funds. He was unable to do so because he would have required the help of his wife, who was not aware of the extent of his gambling losses.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 01/04 – 01/10

Man sentenced to life in prison without parole for casino parking lot killing 

A family unleashed nearly two years’ worth of frustration and anger on Robert Pulvermacher in court Tuesday. A judge sentenced the man to life in prison for killing 88-year-old Harold Johnson outside of Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells. Pulvermacher didn’t say much during his sentencing hearing in Sauk County Court. He pleaded no contest to first-degree intentional homicide. The crime itself goes back to January 2019. According to a criminal complaint, Johnson lent $100 to Pulvermacher at the casino. Johnson returned two days later, expecting Pulvermacher to pay him back.

Surveillance video showed the two men walking outside together and getting into a car. Johnson’s body was found a day later with five stab wounds, including two in his neck. Several family members spoke before Tuesday’s sentencing. They said this may have started as a dispute over $100, but Johnson’s family said they’ve paid a much greater price. “You stole his wallet and left him to die in his car and you used his money and gambled for seven hours. You are a coward and a waste of skin and I hope you rot in prison and then in hell,” Johnson’s daughter Nancy said.

Cwmbran finance director stole £800k from We Fight Any Claim

A FINANCIAL director who swindled her own firm out of £800,000 to feed an online gambling addiction wept as she was taken to the cells. Lauren Farr, 34, conned Cwmbran company We Fight Any Claim for more than three years while working there as a trusted senior executive. She was remanded in custody by Judge Neil Bidder QC who told her she will be going straight to jail after she pleaded guilty to fraud. Her crime attracts a prison term of between five to eight years, Cardiff Crown Court was told. The defendant, of Spring Grove, Greenmeadow, Cwmbran, admitted defrauding We Fight Any Claim out of £825,751.

Ieuan Bennett, representing mother-of-two Farr, told Cardiff Crown Court: “She has been frozen with fear and trepidation with what is going to happen to her. “She is paralysed with anxiety. There is a back story to the defendant.” Mr Bennett added: “She became a senior figure in her field. She has overcome a drink problem which still haunts her. “She spent her money online with a wholescale gambling addiction. She hasn’t told her family. “I think she is still living in something of a state of denial. I think the realisation of her inevitable future is sinking in.”

Seven men indicted in connection with Eastman dog fighting ring

About two-and-a-half years after 63 pit-bulls were rescued from a large-scale dog fighting ring in Dodge County, seven men connected with it have been indicted in federal court. “Contests of animal cruelty not only are illegal, but also are cesspools of associated criminal activity including gambling, drug trafficking and illegal firearms possession,” U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine for the Southern District of Georgia said in a Wednesday news release about the indictments. “We won’t tolerate it, and with our prosecutors and law enforcement partners, we are determined to eradicate this barbaric practice. Most of the charges are felonies carrying up to five years each in prison upon conviction. Attending a dog fight is a misdemeanor that carries a punishment of up to one year in prison.

Secretary-Treasurer of Maryland Labor Union Pleads Guilty to Embezzling More Than $294,000

Sarah Geddes Holmes, age 65, of Clinton, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to the federal charges of embezzlement from a labor organization and bank fraud.  Holmes, who was the Secretary-Treasurer of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Local Lodge 24, admitted that she embezzled $294,585.18 from the union. Between May 2015 and June 2018, Local 24 represented approximately 423 members, who worked for 10 different employers at Andrews Air Force Base.   Local 24 members paid monthly dues that were intended to fund legitimate union purposes, including bargaining with employers, litigating grievances, and providing any administrative support that Local 24 required to conduct its business. Holmes used the fraudulently obtained union funds at casinos and to make personal purchases, including food, household goods, beauty supplies, online gaming, and other gambling-related charges. On 17 occasions, Holmes deposited fraudulent Local 24 checks, totaling $39,894.79 on the same day that her player card was used at Maryland Live! Casino.

Night of violence leaves 4 dead, draws Houston closer to 400 murders for the year

In a violent night across Houston, four men were slain in separate shootings, including a security guard killed at an illegal gambling site, police said. The killings bring the city’s murder count to 380, marking a nearly 50% increase from this time last year. The first shooting occurred around 6:45 p.m. Thursday on the 8000 block of   Winthrop Lane in southeast Houston, said Lt. M. Pavel, a Houston Police Department night commander. The victim, in his 20s, walked outside of his house and a red truck pulled up, Pavel said. After a short while, the victim’s sister heard six or seven gunshots. She ran outside and saw her brother had been shot. Paramedics pronounced him dead.

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A Brief Look at Crime 12/21 – 01/03

North Shore butcher who made $3.7M from illegal gambling

The year Domenic Poeta purchased a $1.5 million home in Highland Park, the feds say he told the IRS he made less than $12,000. That was in 2008. The year before, Poeta allegedly reported $38,975 in income. In 2009, he reported $18,835. But prosecutors say the North Shore butcher’s spending managed to dwarf his reported income because he ran an illegal sports gambling business on the side. Poeta, 63, admitted earlier this year that he made more than $3.7 million from that bookmaking business between 2012 and 2017, dodging $1.4 million in taxes. So Monday, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly sentenced Poeta to a year in federal prison and ordered him to pay the $1.4 million he owes.

Woman sentenced for $287K embezzlement from Warren County employer

A Kettering woman was sentenced Tuesday to four years in prison for embezzlement of $287,887 from her Warren County employer. Judge Robert Peeler sentenced Alison McGaughey, 40, for telecommunications fraud and identity fraud during a hearing in Warren County Common Pleas Court. Peeler also ordered restitution of more than $37,000 to the employer victimized in the case, Nelson & Associates, a low-income housing developer and manager.

In addition, the judge ordered McGaughey to make restitution of more than $122,000 to Great American Insurance, which partially compensated the company for its loss McGaughey was indicted in March on charges of telecommunications fraud, aggravated theft, unauthorized use of property, identity fraud and tampering with records. She was accused of stealing the money to cover gambling debts and pay for vacations and personal items, as well as altering computer records and forging bank statements to cover up the thefts.

‘Tony Meatballs’ among 15 mobsters busted in Philadelphia

A reputed wiseguy nicknamed “Tony Meatballs” is among more than a dirty dozen alleged South Philly  mobsters charged in a sweeping federal indictment unsealed Monday. The suspects are accused of everything from illegal sports betting to heroin-peddling to offering loans at 400 percent interest — not to mention plotting to kidnap and possibly murder a drug dealer to save their reputations after the guy sold them fake narcotics. “The charges unsealed today against these 15 alleged members and associates of the Philadelphia La Cosa Nostra show that the mafia remains a criminal presence in our city and beyond,” said Michael Driscoll, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division, in a statement. “From loansharking and illegal gambling to drug trafficking and extortion, the mob continues to keep its fingers in many different pots, in its ceaseless quest for illegal profits.

Shooting leads officers to possible gambling den at motel

A 30-year-old man was shot at a motel in the Del Cerro neighborhood Saturday, and officers believe the violence was tied to some kind of illegal gambling operation. The shooting was reported just before 6 a.m. at the Rodeway Inn on Adobe Falls Road, according to Officer Tony Martinez of the San Diego Police Department. Officers arrived and found a man across the street from the motel who had been shot in his stomach and buttocks. The victim was taken to the hospital for treatment, but was expected to survive, according to Martinez. As investigators worked through the scene, they stumbled upon something unexpected: some kind of illegal gambling operation on the second floor of the motel. “Inside one of the rooms, officers found what looked like possible illegal gambling,” San Diego Police Lt. David Bautista explained. Bautista didn’t elaborate on the nature of the set-up, but conversations on a police scanner indicated there were gambling machines of some sort set up in the room.

California Underground Slots Fugitive Pleads Guilty to Illegal Gambling, Money Laundering After Israel Extradition

One of two Israeli brothers behind an illegal slot machine empire that once stretched across Northern California is finally facing justice in the US. Orel Gohar, 30, fled to Israel in 2017 as the net closed in on the operation, dubbed the Gohar Organization by authorities. Gohar was arrested by Israeli police in Tel Aviv in December 2019, where he had been “moving frequently between apartments to evade authorities,  according to court documents. On Tuesday, he pleaded guilty in the US District Court for the Eastern District of California to illegal gambling, money laundering, and failing to appear. *Prosecutors believe the brains behind the operation was Yaniv Gohar, Orel’s brother, who was sentenced to four years in prison in September 2019. Meanwhile, Orel was the point man of the operation, who boasted of personally earning $500k per year from the gambling ring. 

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A Brief Look at Crime 12/14 -12/20

‘Monster’ Granny Murdered Her Husband And A Lookalike Woman To Feed Gambling Addiction

David Riess was a kind, small-town Minnesota worm farmer, but as a former family friend put it, his wife, Lois Riess a “monster.” It was Lois who murdered David at their home in March 2018 before fleeing to Florida, where she killed a look-alike stranger, Pamela Hutchinson. Same murder weapon: a 22-caliber pistol. Same modus operandi: bodies left to rot in a bathroom, where towels were positioned to hide the horrid smell of decomposition. Same motive: to snag money to feed her gambling addiction. 

At the end, Lois’ crimes spanned two states. She was prosecuted first in Florida, where she faced an array of charges including homicide, grand theft, grand theft auto, and identity theft   — which meant the possibility of the death penalty. But due to an “overburdened” legal system, justice would be delayed, according to Grace. Eventually, in December 2019, prosecutors took the death penalty off the table in exchange for a guilty plea from Lois. She was sentenced to life prison for the murder of Hutchinson — whom she eventually admitted she killed because they looked alike.

Macau Clamps Down on 97 Illegal Gambling Sites in 2020 (China)

Macau has reported that *97 websites* linked to illicit gambling or fraud have been shut so far in *2020*, and specifically covering the first eight months of the year through *August*. Macau police authorities arrested a number of individuals suspected of running the websites and facilitating illegal gambling transactions. Overall, *125 websites* were identified that broke the existing legislation that forbids online gambling activities. However, police was able to act against only *97* of those as the remainder of the websites was hosted overseas and beyond the reach of Macau authorities. All of these developments were featured in the *Policy Address 2021* published on *Monday*, and outlining Macau’s fight against illegal gambling operations. City Chief Executive *Ho Iat Seng* spoke during a Legislative Assembly meeting, and said that he and the government remained committed to fighting illegal gambling operations and raise awareness for responsible gambling.

Australian media regulator blocks 180 online illegal gambling sites

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) that is responsible for regulating internet and digital media in the country has blocked four more websites that host illegal gambling and casino services. The total has now reached 180 since the ACMA started to block illegal URLs from November 2019. The ACMA stated that these online gaming and gambling websites have violated Interactive Gambling Act of the country and have been blocked following complaints from the Australian customers.

Woman sentenced in St. Louis federal court to 2 years for embezzling from glass company

An O’Fallon, Missouri, woman was sentenced to two years in prison Thursday after pleading guilty to embezzling $433,000 from her employer. Susan E. Darrow was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Audrey Fleissig on one count of federal bank fraud after entering a guilty plea in August. In the plea agreement, Darrow admitted that from April 2014 to December 2019 she transferred money from the bank account of her employer, the Missouri Valley Glass Co., to her personal accounts. She started at the St. Charles County construction contractor as an office manager in 2013. Darrow spent large amounts of the money at casinos as well as to pay off home renovations and debt, according to her plea agreement. A tax consultant discovered the missing funds in 2019 and Darrow admitted to the embezzlement, according to the plea. The business owner had to take out personal loans to avoid bankruptcy as a result of the fraud, the plea states. In addition to prison time, Darrow was ordered to pay about $363,000 in restitution.

North Shore butcher who made $3.7M from illegal gambling business gets one year in prison 

The year Domenic Poeta purchased a $1.5 million home in Highland Park, the feds say he told the IRS he made less than $12,000. That was in 2008. The year before, Poeta allegedly reported $38,975 in income. In 2009, he reported $18,835. But prosecutors say the North Shore butcher’s spending managed to dwarf his reported income because he ran an illegal sports gambling business on the side. Poeta, 63, admitted earlier this year that he made more than $3.7 million from that bookmaking business between 2012 and 2017, dodging $1.4 million in taxes. So Monday, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly sentenced Poeta to a year in federal prison and ordered him to pay the $1.4 million he owes. “The amount involved here is pretty breathtaking, quite honestly,” Kennelly said during the hearing, which took place by videoconference. “And it’s quite likely an undercount by a pretty significant amount.” Prosecutors said they calculated the amount of taxes Poeta dodged only based on checks deposited into Poeta’s personal bank accounts by seven known gamblers in payment of losing wagers. They said Poeta actually began collecting illegal — and unreported — income long before 2012.

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A Brief Look at Crime 12/07 – 12/13

Gambler Kidnapped Son of Debtor Over $4 Million Loan

A kidnapper who snatched a 12-year-old boy off the street in a bid to recoup an AU$5.5 million ($4 million USD) gambling debt from the boy’s father apologized to his victim as he was handed a seven-year prison Tuesday. Australia’s ABC reports that Zhen Jie “Kenny” Zhang, 55, told the boy he was “deeply sorry” for the ordeal he subjected him to on May 11-12, 2018 when he bundled him into his Jeep outside his home on Australia’s Gold Coast. Zhang kept the boy prisoner for 16 hours, during which time a mask was tied onto his face. After he made several attempts to escape, a towel was stuffed into his mouth and his head was tied to a car seat. Prosecutors said the boy was only given water twice and allowed to urinate once during his period of captivity. Photographs of the boy in this state, described by prosecutors as “disturbing,” were shown to the court. A text was sent to his parents that read: “Watch out… wait for pick up the body.” The boy was found by police in the back of the car 150 miles away from where he had been abducted after a tip from a member of the public. “If you feel afraid please forgive me for that; your father was acting terribly [and] owed me a substantial amount of money,” the kidnapper told the boy in court through a Mandarin interpreter. “I felt I had no other option.”

Journalist Tied to a Pole, Beaten For Reporting on Illegal Gambling (India)

The image of a local journalist being tied to an electric pole while a group of men assault him in a broad daylight has gone viral in Assam. Milan Mahanta, a correspondent for the Assamese daily /Pratidin,/ had stopped at a /paan/ shop on Sunday afternoon at Mirza, a town located in Kamrup district, when the assault took place. Mirza is around 35 kilometres from state capital, Guwahati. Incidentally, the attack took place on the day the nation marked National Press Day. The incident has sparked uproar on social media, with many expressing concern for journalists working in Assam under the present political dispensation. Mahanta was on his way to attend a meeting when a group of seven men surrounded him and dragged him from the /paan/ shop before tying him to an electric pole with cables at Mirza Teeniali, a well-known spot  located in the centre of Mirza town. For the past week, Mahanta has been reporting on illegal gambling activities, which have been mushrooming with the onset of Diwali festivities. He angered an alleged local ruffian who, as accused by locals in Mirza, has also indulged in land grabbing activities.

New Research Shows Online Gambling Account Takeovers Are On the Rise, Especially During Covid-19 Lockdown

New research has revealed that over 50% of online gambling companies have faced an increase in fraud involving account takeover. The increase is presumably happening because of the surge in online gambling activity during the coronavirus lockdown that literally stripped them of land-based gambling options. The fraud detection and payment acceptance company /Ravelin/ shared that the results of a new survey showed that 52% of companies that operate in *the online gambling sector* have seen a considerable rise in account takeover activity over the past year. As /Ravelin/ explained, so-called “account takeover activity” is associated with fraudsters gaining access to a third-party account that does not belong to them to steal money.

In fact, online gambling operators remained in second place after only taxi companies in terms of the average number of account takeover attacks on an annual basis. *Online gambling firms saw an average of 60 account takeover attacks* on an annual basis, while taxi firms experienced 65 attacks on average. The results of the report showed that the attacks involve *unauthorized individuals getting customer details* to take control of their online accounts and then *sell the compromised data to third parties* or *use the account themselves* to spend large amounts on various goods or services.

Men pretended to be detectives so they could ‘confiscate’ gaming machines from Houston store, police say 

Houston police are looking for the suspects accused of impersonating a public servant so they could steal gaming machines from a store. The crime happened on Oct. 27 shortly after 8 p.m., according to the Houston Police Department. Two men walked into the Valero at 6915 Telephone and identified themselves as detectives with the gaming commission authority, and they told the clerk they had a seizure order to confiscate the machines due to illegal gambling. The men had badges and handguns. They also had dollies to load up the equipment on the back of large, white Chevrolet 2500 pickup truck. The suspects fled the scene and have not yet been identified or arrested. Houston police noted that Texas does not even have a state gaming commission, and the “seizure order” that was presented to the clerk had what appeared to have an official stamp and had a signature with a fake judge’s name. Police believe the pair may have done this before, but the victims may have feared reporting the crimes. Each of the stolen machines is valued at $2,500 plus any cash that was inside them.

Ex-office manager gets prison for $1 million embezzlement scheme

The former office manager of a Fayette County medical practice was sentenced Thursday to 28 months in federal prison for embezzling nearly $1 million over five years. U.S. District Judge Mark Hornak imposed that term on Cynthia Demniak, who had pleaded guilty in July to wire fraud and filing false tax returns following an investigation by the IRS and U.S. postal inspectors. Demniak, 60, of Leckrone, Pa., had been the office manager at Grandview Medical Management in Uniontown. Between 2013 and 2018, she embezzled $926,940 and used it for personal expenses and to feed her gambling addiction. For tax years 2013 through 2018, she also underreported the stolen money on her federal income tax returns and as a result owed $270,426 to the IRS.

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A Brief Look at Crime 11/30 – 12/06

Two Las Vegas Men Indicted for Alleged Multimillion-Dollar Sports Betting Scheme

Two men in Las Vegas have been indicted on federal charges in Nevada for allegedly running a multimillion-dollar sports betting scheme and defrauding more than 600 investors. A federal grand jury returned a 14-count indictment against John Frank Thomas III, 75, and Thomas Joseph Becker, 72, both of Las Vegas. Each is facing a count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 13 counts of wire fraud.

US Attorney Nicholas Trutanich of the District of Nevada alleges that the two men advertised their supposed sports betting expertise to potential investors and promised large returns. Thomas and Becker marketed the following entities: Sports Psychometrics, Vegas Basketball Club, Vegas Football Club, Einstein Sports Advisory, Quantum Sports Advisory, Wellington Sports Club, and Welscorp, Inc. According to the DOJ, Thomas and Becker touted their “special insights” and strategies to generate, on average, a net return of between $40-80 per $100 wagered through their investment vehicles. Instead, the feds allege, the two were simply operating a Ponzi scheme.

Covid-19: Match-Fixing, Money Laundering & The Criminal Threat To Sport

During the month of October, 2020, FIFA and sports integrity monitors like Sportsradar have warned of a significant rise in match-fixing, money laundering and suspicious gambling patterns due to “the negative economic impact of Covid-19, as corruption becomes more organized”. They are joined by gambling companies, sports associations, business analysts and specialists in sports crime—to warn that lock-down has brought endemic fraud to sports fixtures—both in developing countries, and in Western leagues. Tan You Chen, Sportradar’s senior manager has speculated that “Match-fixers could even hide in plain sight by controlling teams and players through sponsorship deals”—a statement seconded by Interpol’s European branch, Europol. Chen also warned that “By becoming sponsors, they are now able to bring up to 5 players of their own group to the team, which makes it easier to control. Many clubs are struggling financially, some on the verge of bankruptcy, and are in desperate need of funds.”

PokerStars founder sentenced and fined for directing illegal gambling business in US

Isai Scheinberg, founder of PokerStars, has been sentenced to time served and a $30,000 fine after he plead guilty to the charge of directing illegal gambling business in United States. Scheinberg, 73-yard-old Israeli, confessed to the federal crime charge which effectively ended a prosecution going on from the year 2011. This confession could have meant 12-18 months of prison sentence for Scheinberg but considering the fact that he surrendered before US authorities and the PokerStars took on the $304 million of Full Tilt Poker’s liability worked in his favour. Considering the above circumstances, he was awarded the time already served by him in the US prison. PokerStars was created and founded by Scheinberg in 2011 based on his skills in mathematics and software development. The site of PokerStars created by him became the biggest online poker websites of all times. It landed in trouble for being violative of Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act in 2006, where US authorities seized the domain names of the websites and indicted Scheinberg and others for violation of the law.

Man Indicted for Embezzling $380K from Federal Law Enforcement Union

A federal grand jury returned an indictment this week charging a Quantico man with wire fraud in connection with his scheme to embezzle over $380,000 from his former union, which represented federal law enforcement officers. According to allegations in the indictment, Arthur Penn, 64, served from 1999 through 2015 as the Chairman of the Fraternal Order of Police Defense Protective Service Labor Committee Pentagon, a local union that represented officers of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency. During his tenure, Penn allegedly routinely embezzled funds from the Union for his personal benefit, and spent the stolen funds on gambling, to pay for a personal trip to the Dominican Republic, and for his day-to-day living expenses. Penn sought to conceal and prevent the detection of his embezzlement by failing to make regular reports to Union members, by violating his obligation to file regular financial reports with the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, and by siphoning off most of the embezzled funds through cash transactions, thereby avoiding the creation of financial records that would have revealed the fraud.

Circus Circus Shooting Leads to Arrest of Juvenile for Attempted Murder

An unnamed youngster was arrested on multiple charges for Saturday night’s shooting at Circus Circus Hotel and Casino’s Metrodome which left four wounded on the Las Vegas Strip, police announced Monday. The alleged assailant is charged with attempted murder, battery with a deadly weapon, discharging a firearm where person is endangered, and minor in possession of a firearm, the /Las Vegas Review-Journal/ said. The alleged shooter was apprehended Saturday night after he was located in a hotel room at Circus Circus. During a violent dispute at the Las Vegas Strip theme park, the “male juvenile … pulled out a handgun and fired at the victims,” according to police statements quoted by the Review-Journal.

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A Brief Look at Crime 11/23 – 11/29

Aria hotel-casino in Las Vegas receives $12K COVID-19 penalty from OSHA 

Aria hotel-casino in Las Vegas and Eureka Owl Club in Eureka each received penalties from the state for COVID-19 safety violations last week, according to the Division of Industrial Relations’ Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration, also known as OSHA. The citation to Aria Resort & Casino was issued after an investigation was initiated as a result of a complaint or referral filed with Nevada OSHA alleging workplace safety hazards. Nevada OSHA has issued a total of 177 notices of citation and penalty related to violations of required COVID-19 health and safety measures in effect since mid-March.

Criminals use Windows REvil ransomware to hit big casino supplier

Cyber criminals have used the Windows REvil ransomware to attack the Las Vegas-based Gaming Partners International Corporation, a manufacturer and supplier of casinos table game equipment. Its products include casino chips, table game layouts, playing cards, dice, gaming furniture, and accessories and it sells to casinos throughout the world.

A man who claimed to be a member of the REvil gang had said in an interview given to the YouTube channel RussianOSINT on 23 October that the group was getting ready to attack a major gaming development firm and an announcement would be made about it soon. He appears to have been referring to the attack on Gaming Partners International Corporation. The attackers claimed all servers and working computers at GPI had been compromised and the data encrypted. They said 540GB of data had been exfiltrated, including technical documents, financial documents and contracts with casinos in Las Vegas, Macao and Europe, adding that bank documents had also been stolen.

Woman dies in early morning shooting in Deadwood

Deadwood Police officers responded to a call of a shooting at The Buffalo Bodega Gaming Complex just after midnight Saturday. Upon arrival, officers discovered a female victim on the dance floor. Officers and medical personnel from the Lawrence County Ambulance Service began life-saving measures but they were unsuccessful. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. The victim’s identity is not being released pending family notification. The ongoing investigation will be completed by the Deadwood Police Department with assistance from the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department.

IT worker, 42, jailed after stealing 27 laptops from hospital

An IT worker has been jailed for more than two years after admitting to stealing 27 laptops worth over £12,000 from a hospital during the Covid-19 pandemic to pay off his gambling debts Neil Murthick, 42, who was employed as an agency worker, would steal two or three laptops at a time from Darlington Memorial Hospital and sell them to fund his gambling addiction, Teesside Crown Court heard. He took the computers, which were meant to help NHS staff work from home, between December 31 until May 27. While his defence solicitor tried to get the thieving employee a suspended sentence, a judge warned the public would be ‘outraged,’ if Murthick received anything less than time in prison.

Federal Money Laundering Case Prompts PGCB to Fine Mount Airy Casino $90K 

The Mount Airy Casino Resort was fined $90,000, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PCGB) announced last week, for nearly 500 instances where employees exceeded the discretionary free slot play limit. The PGCB discovered that 10 casino employees awarded a total of $262,500 in unallowable free plays at the Poconos resort. That included one employee who pleaded guilty to a federal charge of conspiracy to launder money after she provided an unindicted co-conspirator with $140,000 in free slot play. Free slot play is a promotional offering most casinos use to reward customers for their business and engender return visits. But Pennsylvania requires casinos to submit a “comp matrix” to the PGCB for its approval. That matrix details what employees can offer free plays and the amount each employee can offer.

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A Brief Look at Crime 11/16 -11/22

Italy fines Google €100k for gambling ad ban violation

Italy’s gambling advertising ban has led the country’s telecom watchdog to slap a financial penalty on search engine giant Google. On Thursday, the Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni (AGCOM) announced that it had imposed a ‘pecuniary administrative sanction’ against Google Ireland Ltd for violating the gambling advertising prohibitions in Italy’s so-called Dignity Decree. The Decree, which was announced in mid-2018 and took effect the following January, prohibited nearly all forms of gambling advertising and sponsorship activity. The restriction was intended to counter Italy’s problem gambling rates but locally licensed operators claimed the changes would result in a marketing surge by operators not holding Italian licenses. The specifics of AGCOM’s Google animus relate to paid search ads for, a French marketing affiliate. AGCOM’s announcement didn’t specify the size of Google’s penalty but French media reported that the fine was €100k. AGCOM said the fact that Sublimecasino’s Google presence was paid advertising meant that Google couldn’t hide behind claims that it was merely a conduit through which the site’s presence became known to Italian gamblers. Shortly after the Decree was announced, Google appeared to be taking all the right steps, informing gambling operators that as of July 16, 2018, “only state lotteries with deferred drawing will be allowed to run gambling advertisements in Italy.”

Atlantic City Casino Sting: Two Men, One Woman Indicted Over Sex Plot Involving 14-Year-Old Girl

Three suspects caught in an unnamed Atlantic City casino sex sting involving a 14-year-old girl were indicted by a grand jury on Tuesday. The inditement charges a man and woman with human trafficking. The charges also name a retired New Jersey corrections officer who arranged for the teen to meet him for sex at his home. His charges were unrelated to the casino sting. The pair accused of human trafficking could spend up to life in prison if convicted. All three defendants are from New Jersey. The indictments stem from a New Jersey State Police inquiry into personal ads last November. As part of the investigation, police responded to an online escort ad and arranged to meet the girl at the casino-hotel. The teen showed up as planned on Nov 27. She met an undercover officer and offered to have sex in exchange for money. The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by the New Jersey State Police Casino Gaming Bureau and the Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau, with assistance from the FBI Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force. The indictments come a day after the local Casino Reinvestment Development Authority donated more than $230,000 to the Volunteers of America Delaware Valley to combat human trafficking in Atlantic City, the /Press of Atlantic City/ reported.

Former Kappa Alpha Psi exec is charged with embezzling $3M to feed a gambling habit

Federal authorities have charged a former executive of one of the nation’s largest Black fraternities with embezzling nearly $3 million — money they say he stole to support a gambling habit. He was fired in December 2018, after fraternity officials discovered the missing money and confronted him about his alleged theft. Anderson then confessed, according to court filings in the case, telling fraternity officials he was struggling with gambling and drinking addictions and had spent most of the funds at Harrah’s Casino. In an indictment filed Wednesday, prosecutors said Anderson began pilfering from the fraternity’s coffers in June 2012 through checks he either made out to himself or five other individuals whose signatures he forged while exchanging them for cash.

California Casino Files $38m Fraud, Money Laundering Lawsuit Against Former Execs 

Tribal owners of a California casino have filed a fraud and money laundering lawsuit in Sacramento federal court, claiming that two of its former senior employees skimmed over $1m for expenses and personal trips. The Sacramento Bee/ reported that the Berry Creek Rancheria of Maidu Indians – owners of Gold Country Casino Resort in Oroville – said that while actual losses are over $2.9m, it is also seeking more than $26m in punitive damages and over $8.8m in Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization damages. The complaint, filed on October 22, alleges former chief financial officer Deborah Howard and ex-tribal administrator Jesse Brown embezzled over $1m in a scheme involving a “secret credit card.” The suit also claims that the two laundered money from the tribal smoke shop to pay for trips to Las Vegas and Disneyland, including flights, concert tickets, and limousine rentals.

Police officer killed by cockfighting rooster’s blade while breaking up match

A police in the Philippines killed by a rooster’s blade while raiding a cockfight, an official reported Tuesday, according to a report. The rooster’s gaff, a sharp blade fixed to its leg for fighting, somehow cut through the officer’s femoral artery on his thigh, BBC News reported. The officer, identified as Lieutenant Christine Bolok, was pronounced dead at the hospital. Cockfighting is a popular sport in the Philippines, but it has been made temporarily illegal in an effort to contain the coronavirus. Three were arrested in connection with the cockfight and police are looking for three others. Seven roosters were confiscated in the raid, according to the BBC. Under normal circumstances, the sport, which is illegal in the United States because it’s considered animal cruelty, is allowed on Sundays and holidays in licensed cockpits in the Philippines.

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A Brief Look at Crime 11/09 – 11/15

‘Conman’ stockbroker jailed for defrauding clients 

A stockbroker who funded a jet-set lifestyle by stealing his clients’ money has been jailed for six years. James Bufton, 26, stole more than £250,000 from eight victims – including a dying man, close friends and his own family – and spent it on his gambling addiction, hotel stays and helicopter flights to the Cheltenham races. When they demanded their money back and he started receiving threats, Bufton attempted to defraud HM Revenue & Customs of almost £1.3 million to meet his spiralling debts. Newport Crown Court heard that Bufton, who ran two finance companies, sweet-talked his victims with promises of high returns if they invested in non-existent stocks and shares. Timothy Evans, prosecuting, said that when the financial returns failed to materialise, Bufton would “rob Peter to pay Paul”. He spun them a web of lies, including claiming he had a brain tumour. Passing sentence, Judge Daniel Williams told Bufton: “You certainly sought to portray yourself as a successful and trustworthy investor with a lifestyle to match your glittering success. “You consumed much of it on conspicuous displays of wealth and gambled much of it away too.

Former union head accused of embezzling military labor union’s funds for online gambling

The former head of the New England chapter of the United States Army mechanics union was indicted earlier this week over claims he embezzled nearly $39,000 in funds from the organization and used the money to cover gambling costs, authorities said. Oldham, who is from Whitman, Massachusetts, was indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday and arrested on charges of wire fraud, knowingly making false statements and filing false tax returns, according to authorities. The union is comprised of military and civilian mechanics employed by the U.S. Army, and the New England chapter’s local office is in Taunton. After his predecessor retired, Oldham gained sole control of the union account, and that is when the alleged wire fraud scheme started, prosecutors said.

$7M Sports Betting Software Scheme Leads to Likely Prison Sentence for Alleged Utah Fraudster 

A Utah man has pleaded guilty to taking part in an allegedly fraudulent multi-million-dollar athletic wagering software plot via a business identified as Sindakit Software LLC. He now faces a 10-year sentence in prison. Christopher D. Hales, age 39, of Lehi, entered the plea last week in Utah federal court to wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy charges. The illicit plan led “investors” to lose at least $7 million, prosecutors revealed. The investors were promised their money would be turned into winning wagers by using the firm’s software. But the allegedly fraudulent enterprise did not have a proprietary sports betting software or even an algorithm, prosecutors said. Hales allegedly cooked up the plot with an unnamed co-conspirator in 2018 when Hales was in a halfway house for a sentence from an earlier fraud case, according to a statement from Utah US Attorney John W. Huber.

Coonan admits Crown ‘enabled’ money laundering at casino

Crown Resorts chairman Helen Coonan has conceded the casino giant facilitated money laundering at its Melbourne casino, but blamed it on “ineptitude” rather than the company deliberately “turning a blind eye” to criminals banking their dirty cash with the company. The comments made in evidence to the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority’s probity inquiry into Crown on Tuesday came a day after the financial crimes watchdog, AUSTRAC, said it was formally Crown for potential breaches of anti-money laundering laws. During her second day of evidence at the inquiry, Ms Coonan was asked about Crown’s relationship with its largest high-roller “junket” tour partner, Suncity, which is run by the alleged former Macau triad member Alvin Chau. Suncity operated a private gaming room at Crown Melbourne up until late last year when the Macau-based junket shut it down following reports in /The Age/, /Sydney Morning Herald/ and 60 Minutes  about Mr Chau’s criminal links. That series of reports triggered the ILGA inquiry, which will recommend whether Crown should keep the licence for its new Sydney casino at Barangaroo.

Police Confiscate Guns in Crackdown on Las Vegas Strip Violence

Police are seizing guns and arresting dozens of people while attempting to stem violent crime on the Las Vegas Strip. Last Friday and Saturday, authorities confiscated 10 illegal firearms and seized nearly $30,000 in cash during the effort, according to /KLAS-TV/. Authorities also made 110 arrests last weekend as part of the crackdown. Of that total, 38 were felony arrests. Police made nearly 600 “proactive stops” during this period. Most were pedestrian stops. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and Nevada Highway Patrol are working together in what police call Operation Persistent Pressure to quell a surge in violence along the resort corridor. The increase in violence has left several people wounded in gunfire at or near major resorts on the Strip. Sheriff Joe Lombardo conceded this violence could hurt tourism if ignored. However, he stressed his department is devoting resources to stop the violence.

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A Brief Look at Crime 11/02 – 11/08

Locals concerned over recent Las Vegas Strip crime, as aggravated assaults climb

The recent streak of violence on the Las Vegas Strip continued early Friday morning, with another fight leading to another shooting. This shooting happened in the MGM Grand on the casino floor near elevators, nobody was hurt. This comes after a fight on a bus led to a stabbing outside the Paris Hotel and Casino on Wednesday, after a fight led to a shooting outside the Flamingo on Sunday, and several more incidents over the past month and a half. “There’s too much violence going on down there, and I just don’t feel safe,” local Janet Kidd said. She doesn’t plan on spending any time on the Strip any time soon. Another local, Sheila Herckis, had to go to the Strip for an errand on Friday morning. She feels the same way. “There’s too much crime here in the past couple of months,” she said. “Before the COVID I would go on the Strip, kill a couple of hours. Not now. I’m home at 4:00. I just have to do an errand here.”

Feds charge suburban man, 66, with running illegal sports gambling business

Federal prosecutors have charged a 66-year-old Elmwood Park man with running an illegal sports bookmaking business in Chicago and two near-west suburbs. Gregory Emmet Paloian allegedly ran the gambling business from 2015 to 2019 in Chicago, Elmwood Park and Melrose Park, according to a two-page charging document filed Friday in Chicago. Federal authorities want Paloian to forfeit a 2017 Audi and more than $274,000. Paloian, who is charged with one count of conducting an illegal gambling business, is due for an arraignment Wednesday. The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.

Gunman shoots four men, one fatally, inside Brooklyn gambling den 

A gunman opened fire inside a backroom gambling den in Brooklyn, shooting four men — one fatally, police said Thursday. Medics rushed one victim, a man in his 30s shot in the chest, to Brookdale University Hospital, where he died, authorities said. Cops were working to determine his identity. A 44-year-old man blasted in the arm was taken to the same hospital in stable condition. A 31-year-old male shot in the leg and a 32-year-old man wounded in the shoulder were taken to Kings County Hospital in stable condition, cops said. The killer ran off and has not been caught. Police were trying to determine if the gunman was a robber or a disgruntled gambler, sources said. All of the victims have criminal records, a second source said. The man killed had recently been hospitalized with coronavirus symptoms, neighbors said. “He’s a sweet fellow,” said Michelle Smith, 51, who knew the victim by his street name, Pimp. “He just got released from the hospital for COVID

Chester County Judge Michael Cabry charged with using campaign money to feed gambling habit

A Chester County district judge is alleged to have used money from his campaign finance account to feed a six-figure gambling habit at various casinos in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, according to a criminal complaint filed against him by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office. Magisterial District Judge Michael J. Cabry III, whose district court covers the Honey Brook area in the northwestern part of the county, was arrested Tuesday and charged with one felony count of theft by unlawful taking, a single count of perjury, a misdemeanor, and four violations of campaign finance laws. The complaint stated that in total, Cabry wagered more than $110,700 in 2017, although because of a large win at Delaware Park of more than $100,000, his total loss for the year was slightly over $9,000. Still, he complaint filed by Dormer alleges that bank records review in the case show Cabry’s finances were “severely depleted” during the time he was gamboling with his campaign money.

Gambling granny shoots husband dead then kills a stranger to steal her identity

On 23 March, 2018, a man was found dead under a blanket at the home he shared with his wife in Blooming Prairie, Minnesota. David Riess, 54, had been shot dead with a 22-calibre gun and his body was hidden in the bathroom. David had been missing for more than two weeks. His wife Lois had told David’s colleagues that he was busy preparing for a fishing trip and, after that, revealed he was feeling unwell. He lived with Lois at a house on the farm in Blooming Prairie. Their children had grown up and had kids of their own, making the couple both proud grandparents.

When officers turned up at the house, they found David’s dead body hidden in the bathroom with bullet wounds in his chest. He’d been covered with a blanket and his killer had jammed towels under the bathroom door to try to stop the smell of death escaping into the rest of the house. The family’s white Cadillac was missing and so was Lois. Had she been murdered, too? Investigators quickly discovered that Lois had forged cheques from David’s business account and had put $11,000 into her own name. They could see Lois’s gambling addiction was out of control and they concluded that the money was to plug her spiralling debt and to fund her habit. Suddenly Lois became the prime suspect for her husband’s brutal murder.

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