Category Archives: Crime

A Brief Look at Crime 10/21 – 10/27

Suspects in Casino Killing Could Be Eligible For Death Penalty 

The two female defendants charged in the robbery and killing of an 84-year-old Long Beach woman at the Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula could be eligible for the death penalty if convicted, officials said Sunday. One of the suspects, 35-year-old Kimesha Monae Williams, is believed to be the sister of Los Angeles Clippers star forward Kawhi Leonard. Williams’ aunt told the Riverside Press-Enterprise on Saturday that Williams and Leonard are siblings. John Hall, spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, would not confirm the relationship, but told City News Service that Williams and 39-year-old Candace Tai Townsel were charged with murder with a special circumstance that makes them eligible for the death penalty. According to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Williams and Townsel followed Afaf Anis Assad of Long Beach into a bathroom at the casino on Aug. 31, where the duo attacked her and stole her purse, which contained $800 to $1,200. Assad was found unconscious on the bathroom floor and later died of her injuries at Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar.

Woman gets 33 months for bank fraud

A former Huntington accountant has been sentenced to serve less than three years in federal prison after being accused of embezzling over $1 million from a client’s account. Kimberly Dawn Price, also known as Kimberly Swan, 59, was sentenced to serve 33 months for bank fraud committed during her time as a staff accountant at the Huntington-based firm Hess, Stewart and Campbell PLLC. “It’s simple. Price was a thief who stole from an employer that implicitly trusted her,” U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart said Monday following sentencing. “And now she’s being held accountable.” A letter written to the court seeking leniency in her sentencing, filed by Price’s attorney Wesley Page, said the money was taken due to her gambling addiction. After losing her job, she worked at a gas station for about a year, but has since not worked and now receives Social Security spousal benefits after the death of her husband. Page said she gambled away “or otherwise lost” her savings and lives in subsidized housing in Huntington.

Berkhamsted Light Corporation manager jailed for £2m fraud 

A financial manager has been jailed for stealing £2.1m from the firm she worked for to fund a gambling addiction, a court has heard. Joyce Baker admitted fraud by abuse of position at Light Corporation, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, after using the cash to gamble online. She also pleaded guilty to contempt of court for not saying where the assets were. She was jailed for 5 years and 10 months. St Albans Crown Court heard Baker, 61, of Briery Way, Hemel Hempstead, stole money within six weeks of starting work at the company in 2012, and continued until she left in June 2018. Judge Stephen Warner said the “planned dishonesty” was committed “over many years in breach of a high degree of trust”. He added it was to “feed the scourge of a gambling addiction” and could not justify it. Prosecutor Walton Hornsby said she siphoned money into her accounts by authorising payments to an unknown supplier. The court also heard Baker cashed in a £26,000 pension plan by putting it into a concealed bank account.Only 50p was left after she transferred some to a sister and spent the rest on gambling, a holiday and household expenses.

Former Cape Coral real estate broker sentenced for fraud scheme

A Cape Coral real estate broker found guilty in June as part of a scheme to defraud an investor of more than a half million dollars has been sentenced to more than 5 years in prison. In 2015, he made false statements to the victim and convinced her to invest $300,000 in a real estate venture. Specifically, Eyerman indicated they would “flip” houses; that is, buy, rehab and re-sell properties. Instead of using the money for that purpose, Eyerman gambled away a large portion of the money at casinos and, over a matter of seven weeks, spent the remainder on personal luxury goods, including a custom Porsche 911, a $12,700 Rolex watch and a $50,000 down payment on his personal luxury waterfront residence in Cape Coral. Without telling the victim that he had already spent all of her initial investment, Eyerman went back to her in August 2015, seeking more money. This time, Eyerman lied about a second business opportunity – a purported new home construction company. Eyerman convinced the victim to provide him with another $261,000, which he immediately spent for personal use, including gambling most of it away at the Seminole Indian

Kentucky Law Enforcement Officers Exposed for Running Cruel, Illegal Cockfighting Operation

Investigators uncovered shocking evidence of an illegal cockfighting ring involving two Kentucky law enforcement officers. In pictures posted on Facebook, Ronnie Bennet and Kyle Simpson pose with roosters in arm and trophies from their “wins.” The roosters’ legs are wrapped with tape, likely where small knives are attached to inflict severe injuries on the opposing bird. In this abusive blood sport, two roosters are forced to fight to the death for human entertainment and profit. Roosters raised for cockfighting are bred, brutally trained, and sometimes medicated to be unnaturally aggressive. Before a fight, the breeder may mutilate the rooster by cutting off the bird’s wattle, comb, and ear lobes. The fight usually ends tragically, with at least one rooster dying from his injuries Cockfight breeders profit off of their animal’s “win”  and the other animal’s death — through associated gambling. SHARK and IDA sent the evidence implicating the two employees of Harlan County Detention Center and at least three other people to the FBI.

CBS Credit Union Manager Gets 14 Years for $40M Embezzlement 

Edward Rostohar admitted that he used the money to fund a gambling habit, buy luxury cars and watches and travel by private jet. The former manager of a credit union that served employees of the CBS television network has been sentenced to more than 14 years in prison for a two-decade embezzlement scheme that drained $40 million from the institution and forced it into insolvency. Edward Rostohar pleaded guilty to bank fraud in May. The 62-year-old admitted he used the money to fund a gambling habit, buy luxury cars and watches and travel by private jet. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles said Monday that Rostohar paid his wife a $5,000 weekly allowance and took trips with “women half his age.” The charges were announced in March, on the same day that the CBS Employees Federal Credit Union ceased operations. Its assets were assumed by University Credit Union in Los Angeles.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 10/14 – 10/20

Gambling addict convicted of murder after bludgeoning his close friend in cash row

A gambling addict has been convicted of murder after bludgeoning his close friend to death in their Batley home following a dispute over money. A jury of seven men and five women took two-and-a-half hours to unanimously find Abdul Kapade guilty of murder after a week-long trial at Leeds Crown Court The 49-year-old attacked Firoz Pagarkar, who he described as being ‘like a brother’ to him for 11 years, with a hammer while he was in bed in the early hours of January 3 this year. Mr Pagarkar, 46, died in hospital seven weeks later. Kapade told jurors that his friend owed him £20,000 and he was suffering from a psychiatric disorder after being told that he would not be getting the money. He sold his home in Highfield Court, Soothill, Batley, to his friend in December 2017 after he got into financial difficulties.

Montana woman gets prison time for embezzling from clients

A Montana woman who pleaded guilty to embezzling from clients of her money management business has been sentenced to nine months in prison and was ordered to pay $186,000 in restitution. U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen sentenced 78-year-old Ellen Van Ausdol of Bozeman Friday for taking over $250,000 from clients of Fiduciary Consulting and Management over a six-year period. She admitted using most of the money to pay gambling debts. People with developmental disabilities or who were otherwise unable to manage their own finances were court-appointed to have their money managed by Van Ausdol. She was a former Gallatin County District Court clerk. Court records say she repaid nearly $120,000 to clients in 2016, leaving about $133,000 in restitution remaining. She also owes the IRS nearly $53,000 for not paying income taxes on the stolen money.

Hollywood Casino Toledo Slots Allegedly Used for Attempted Laundering of $138,000

A man accused of trying to launder $138,843 of alleged “drug profits” through “fast feeding” at Hollywood Casino Toledo pleaded not guilty this week to all charges, according to Ohio federal court officials.The money laundering allegedly took place by a technique called “fast-feeding,” federal officials said. This is where someone takes large amounts of currency — earned from illegal activity — to a casino, puts some of it into slot machines, plays the machine briefly, and then gets a ticket for the unused currency. The remaining credit is swapped for a check from the casino, according to Kerry Myers, a former attorney and an accountant with the FBI who now teaches forensic accounting at the University of South Florida.Like banks, casinos are also required to file a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) with the US Treasury regarding any suspicious activity by any customer regardless of amount, he said. The failure to file the reports can subject the casinos to fines and increased regulatory oversight, he added. Casinos have paid hefty fines for non-compliance. “If money comes from a casino, it appears legitimate to the bank, since its actual source has been hidden,” McAvoy explained. “Gambling is thus used to give the funds the look of legitimacy so that they can then be allowed into the banking system without much questioning. If a bank thinks a transaction is suspicious, the funds will not be accepted and a Suspicious Activity Report on the transaction will be filed by the bank with regulators and law enforcement.” Casinos are also required to have anti-money laundering programs in place, just like banks.

Gunman killed by police tried robbing 2 casinos 

Police say a man shot and killed by officers after two botched casino robberies in the Colorado River resort town of Laughlin (LAW’-flin) had a gun in his hand when he got out of a vehicle after a nearly seven-hour standoff. Las Vegas police Capt. Nichole Splinter told reporters Monday that cashiers at both the Golden Nugget Laughlin Hotel and the Aquarius Casino Resort refused to hand over cash even though the man displayed a handgun both times. She says the man fired a shot as he fled an Aquarius security guard, but missed, before being surrounded by police in a parked vehicle in the parking lot at about 1:30 a.m. Splinter says the man was getting out of the vehicle when he was shot and killed by officers after 7 a.m.

Indiana Man Charged for Allegedly Running Bookmaking Scheme Involving $17M in Bets 

An Indiana illegal sports wagering operation where gamblers placed more than $17 million in bets since 2016 has led to the arrest of one suspect — just as the Hoosier state begins to offer legal athletic betting. The scheme, allegedly co-run by Bret A. Wells, 46, of New Palestine, earned more than $1.8 million in profits, according to the /Greenfield Daily Reporter/. The illicit operation involved more than 176,000 wagers since 2016, authorities revealed. Wells faces six charges. They include: a Level 5 count of corrupt business influence, a Level 6 count of professional gambling and knowingly engaging in bookmaking, and two Level 6 charges of promoting professional gambling, newspaper said. He was also charged with two counts of Level 6 theft where the value of property is between $750 and $50,000, the newspaper report said. That stemmed from stolen items allegedly found at Wells’s business.

Sam’s Club employee charged with embezzlement

An Albuquerque woman is accused of stealing half a million dollars from Sam’s Club and Walmart. According to a criminal complaint, detectives were first contacted by an investigator for Walmart back in May. It was learned that $510,000 had gone missing from Sam’s Club and a Walmart in Albuquerque over the past few years. Detectives say between 2013 and 2019, fraudulent checks linked to cash office employee, Michele Bernard, were swapped out for cash approximately 30 times. When questioned, detectives say Bernard admitted to the crime, saying she had gotten into gambling and had been doing it for years.

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

 


A Brief Look at Crime 10/07 – 10/13

Wichita attorney who spent client’s money pleads guilty

A Wichita attorney who spent nearly $1 million of a 103-year-old client’s trust money has pleaded guilty to two counts of felony theft. The Wichita Eagle reports 71-year-old Larry Toomey spent nearly $962,000 from the woman’s bank accounts for personal expenses. Court records show about $496,000 of that went to cover his gambling addiction. Prosecutors allege Toomey stole from the women for seven years. His client was in poor mental and physical health and was living in a Wichita nursing home.

Florida Casino Robbed of More than $5 Million

Casino thefts are not entirely uncommon. Over the past few decades, there have been numerous attempts to steal money from different gambling venues across the country. This week, eight men have been charged for their involvement in a Florida casino robbed of more than $5 million. This is one of the larger heists in recent memory. Today, we’re going to look at the details of this case. We’ll also discuss some of the biggest casino robberies in recent US history. Eight men have been officially charged with stealing more than $5 million for this casino, operated by the Miccosukee Native America tribe. The men are alleged to have tampered with the gambling machines to generate credit vouchers eventually converted to cash. This Florida casino robbed of millions is one of many dealing with robbery issues.

Ex-Lake Delton Fire and EMS secretary gets 15 months prison for embezzling $350K

A former secretary of the Lake Delton Fire Department and the Dells-Delton Emergency Medical Services commissions who nearly ”bankrupted” the agencies by embezzling $358,000 was sentenced Thursday in federal court to 15 months in prison. Stephanie Czuprynko, 54, of Wisconsin Dells, wrote herself more than 100 checks between February 2016 and November 2018, used signature stamps she made to authenticate them and doctored entries in accounting software to cover her theft, said District Judge William Conley. “The loss Czuprynko created wasn’t discovered until November, otherwise she would have bankrupted us,” said Wisconsin Dells Police Chief Daniel Hardman. The commissions did not have reserves to cover the embezzlement and the village of Lake Delton agreed to co-sign a loan from the Bank of Wisconsin Dells to keep the commissions operating, Hardman said.Czuprynko attributed her embezzlement to a gambling addiction. “It ruined my life,” she told Conley. Czyuprynko’s addiction dates to the opening of the Ho-Chunk casino in Baraboo in 1992. She initially attended with her husband. Twenty years later, her husband demanded she seek counseling after she took $10,000 from savings and lost it. She didn’t get treatment, continued gambling and hid it from her husband.

Ida woman accused of embezzling $300,000 from King Electrical in Sylvania

A former Toledo resident was indicted in federal court for allegedly embezzling more than $300,000 from her employer and using it to gamble and pay for electronics, airline tickets and other personal expenses. Traci Ann Grillo, 47, of Ida,, was indicted on nine counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. According to the indictment, Grillo worked for King Electrical Service in Sylvania from September 2014 through March 2019. As part of her job, King Electrical entrusted financial accounts to Grillo, including bank accounts, credit card accounts, and check-writing authority. Grillo is accused of embezzling more than $300,000 from King Electrical, the indictment says. She allegedly did this through several fraudulent means, including: salary overpayments to herself; personal use of the King Electrical checking account, such as writing checks to pay her son’s tuition at Kent State University; personal use of King Electrical credit cards, including for clothing, home furnishings, electronics, airline tickets and to pay her online gambling account, and obtaining high-interest rate loans under fraudulent pretenses, according to the indictment.

Former tribal leaders plead guilty in $6 million casino embezzlement case 

The allegations in the indictment  were breathtaking: three former officials of the tribe that runs the Rolling Hills Casino had embezzled $6 million and used the money to buy lavish homes, cars and gold coins and for travel overseas. The allegations laid out in 2017 in a 69-count indictment and an earlier federal civil suit claimed the three had gone on a “12-year looting spree” and used the money to buy tickets to World Series, Final Four and NBA games and charter private jets and then lied to federal agents investigating the conspiracy. All three pleaded guilty to conspiracy to embezzle from a tribal organization. John Crosby, 56, also pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return; Ines Crosby, 76, pleaded guilty to not filing a tax return in 2010; and Lohse, 64, pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return

The casino, which boasts a golf course, hotels, RV park, equestrian center and concert amphitheater, has been estimated to generate $100 million a year for the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians. In 2014, estimates indicated the casino generated $54,000 annually for each of the 300 adult members of the tribe. But the flood of gamblers’ cash created a split among tribal members, leading to a 2014 audit found $17 million had been spent on private jet travel, up to $93 million had been spent investments considered “high-risk, start-up companies,” and $61 million was spent on excessive overhead and compensation.

Alena Pastuch sentenced to seven-year prison term for $5.5-million fraud

Twelve years after she first started amassing millions from investors, five years after her arrest, disgraced Regina businesswoman Alena Marie Pastuch has been sentenced to seven years and three months in prison for fraud. Pastuch was also ordered to pay restitution to the victims. Any amount paid will be deducted from a $5.5-million fine, reflecting the amount of money defrauded. Elson gave her 12 years to pay after she serves, and if she fails to pay up, is subject to a further five-year prison sentence. One victim, who was in the court, doubts he’ll ever seen any money back. “I feel sorry for the people that will never recover,” he said. Brule noted, as fast as the money flowed in, it drained out to pay for Pastuch living the high life — gambling, staying in expensive hotels in Vegas, Although she’s subject to restitution orders — now both by the courts and the Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority, which first uncovered the fraud, some victims in their statements expressed hope for repayment, but also conceded it was unlikely. Of the $5.5 million invested, to date only $137,097 has ever been recovered by the victims.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 9/23 – 10/06

Oklahoma woman pleads guilty to grandson’s murder after leaving him in casino parking lot 

An Oklahoma City woman has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder by child neglect in Indian Country after she allegedly left her 5-year-old grandson in a hot car for hours last summer while she was at a casino. According to an affidavit, officials say 50-year-old Alanna Jean Orr was caring for her grandson on June 21, 2018, when she went to the Kickapoo Casino in Harrah. Officials say surveillance video showed Orr arriving at the casino at 1:23 p.m. and leaving at 7:28 p.m. Court records say her grandson was in the car during this time, with temperatures reaching 90 degrees that day. Officials say about 15 minutes after she left the casino, Orr called 911 to report that her grandson had choked and was not breathing. Emergency officials arrived and tried to resuscitate the five-year-old, “but found that rigor mortis had already begun.” Officials say Orr was arrested in April following her indictment by a federal grand jury for second-degree felony murder by child neglect in Indian Country. Investigators say the crime was subject to federal jurisdiction because Orr and the child are both Native American and the offense took place on tribal trust land. On Tuesday, Orr pleaded guilty to the indictment. During her hearing, Orr admitted that she caused her grandson’s death.

Former employee pleads guilty to stealing $200,000 from Whatcom casino (WA) 

A former Silver Reef Casino employee has pleaded guilty in federal court to stealing $200,000 from the business in November 2018. Shannon Marie Morris pleaded guilty June 12 to one count of theft by an employee of a gaming establishment on Indian lands in United States District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle, according to federal court records. In a statement supporting her guilty plea, Morris said that on Nov. 24, 2018, she entered the Silver Reef Casino, walked into the cash collection area, stole $200,000 from the casino and left with the money, according to court records. Morris was an employee at the casino at the time, records show. Morris is no longer employed at the casino, according to marketing director Eric Larsen. In a story previously reported in The Bellingham Herald, Morris allegedly called 911 to report that she had been forced by a man with a gun to commit the theft. She also allegedly told law enforcement that the man had mentioned wanting to plant a bomb in the casino.

Ladbrokes Coral hit by £5.9m penalty over vulnerable gamblers

Ladbrokes Coral will pay a £5.9m penalty, one of the largest imposed by the Gambling Commission, over “systemic failings” to protect problem gamblers who lost hundreds of thousands of pounds. The regulator detailed a litany of transgressions by Ladbrokes Coral between 2014 and 2017, finding that it failed to fulfil its obligations to “protect customers from gambling harm” and prevent money laundering. When the company became aware of the problem, it simply reduced the number of its customers it deemed “high risk”, rather than investing to protect them the commission’s investigation found. “These were systemic failings at a large operator, which resulted in consumers being harmed and stolen money flowing though the business and this is unacceptable,” the commission’s executive director, Richard Watson, said. The failures include neglecting to ask one customer who lost £1.5m over three years about their source of funds, despite clear signs of problem gambling such as logging into their account 10 times a day and losing £64,000 in a month.

Suspect Arrested in Homicide at Downtown Reno Hotel-Casino

Reno police have arrested a 22-year-old suspect in the killing of a California woman whose body was found earlier this month at a downtown hotel-casino. Tevin Johnson was booked on suspicion of open murder on Monday in the July 19 death of 37-year-old Amber Morris of Moreno Valley, California at the Circus Circus hotel-casino. Police say Johnson had been arrested the day after Morris’ body was found on an unrelated charge and detectives subsequently developed probable cause to arrest him for the slaying. He previously was being held at the Washoe County Jail on $150,000 cash-only-bond on a charge of illegally obtaining or using another person’s identification, but he’s now being held without bail. It’s not clear if he has a lawyer or will be appointed one at an upcoming court appearance.

Las Vegas Strip Casinos Allege Man Stole $625K Through Marker Credits

Three Las Vegas Strip casinos say a 46-year-old man stole from their gaming properties by arranging credit advances through markers. The /Las Vegas Review-Journal/ obtained an arrest warrant and criminal complaint from Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson’s office that shows Sang Lee allegedly secured eight casino markers totaling $625,000 between 2016 and 2017. The casinos say the money was never returned. Lee was arrested this week but released on his own recognizance, according to the records. A casino marker is essentially an IOU (I owe you), a financial negotiating instrument. The patron writes a check to the cashier in exchange for gaming funds, and the casino promises not to cash the check for a certain period of time – typically 30 days Lee is accused of writing three checks totaling $300,000 to The Venetian, and two others totaling $25,000 at The Palazzo – both properties owned by Las Vegas Sands. The complaint also claims he wrote three checks to Wynn Las Vegas totaling $300,000. After Lee failed to pay back the markers in the agreed upon time, the casinos cashed the checks, but were notified by his bank that sufficient funds were not available.

Loudoun County jury gives Moreno 38 years for sister’s murder

A Loudoun County jury has found Michel Moreno, 59, guilty of first degree murder and hit-and-run resulting in injury or death after a nine-day trial, according to the commonwealth’s attorney’s office.Moreno was driving his sister Nancy Moreno to Washington Dulles International Airport to drop her off for a business trip. Just north of the airport, Michel Moreno pulled over on Route 28 and Nancy Moreno exited the SUV. Michel Moreno then ran over his sister with the vehicle and drove away from the scene. He did not stop to help her or call law enforcement, according to authorities. Nancy Moreno was transported to Reston Hospital, where she died from her injuries a few hours later. Faw told the Times-Mirror that the crime occurred after Nancy Moreno, with whom Michel Moreno had been living in Sterling since their mother’s death, began to ask her brother to take more fiscal responsibility in their living situation. She had asked him to start paying rent, had gotten him a job and was trying to stop him from gambling. “He became more and more frustrated with her efforts to alter his behavior,” Faw said, adding that while Moreno was clearly psychologically troubled as a result of past brain injuries, it remains unclear whether his mental instability played a major role in the crime.

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

 


A Brief Look at Crime 9/16- 9/22

Middleton Sport Bowl owners plead guilty to skimming $268K from gambling machines, tax evasion

The owners of a Middleton bowling center have pleaded guilty to federal tax charges for skimming more than $268,000 from gambling machine receipts and not reporting that income on tax returns. Dudley Hellenbrand, 67, and Cherie Hellenbrand, 45, both of Middleton and owners of Middleton Sport Bowl, entered guilty pleas on Thursday to filing false 2017 IRS tax returns, which under-reported their adjusted gross income. Scott C. Blader, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, said the two contracted with a video gambling machine vendor to put such machines in the bowling center on University Avenue. The contract with the vendor had the Hellenbrands getting 75% of the profit from the machines and the vendor getting 25%, Blader said in a statement “Both defendants admitted they skimmed the (gambling machine) cash receipts and did not report the skimmed receipts on their state and federal income tax returns,” the statement said. The total amount skimmed by the owners from 2010 to 2017 was $268,852.04.

Husband of woman who embezzled $13 million from North Side firm found guilty of lying to IRS

A federal jury in Pittsburgh found a Clearfield County man guilty of lying to the Internal Revenue Service about his income while he and his wife blew millions of embezzled dollars on luxury boats, cars, designer handbags, vacations and gambling, federal prosecutors said Friday. Following three weeks of arguments and testimony, a jury of nine men and three women deliberated for less than three hours, U.S. Attorney Scott Brady said. They determined Mills was guilty of three counts of filing false tax returns. The defense for Gary Mills argued during his trial that he “allegedly believed the monies came from gambling,” prosecutors said. But in April 2012, the IRS sent the couple a notice of deficiency stating that they owed at least $930,000 in back taxes, penalties and interest stemming from the years 2003-07. While litigating the civil audit, Gary Mills “offset gambling winnings with gambling losses” of about $100,000 a year from 2012-14, prosecutors said.

Gambling addict found guilty of stabbing wife 60 times after losing bet

A gambling addict has been found guilty of hacking his wife to death while in a rage over a losing bet. Vicious Jalal Uddin, 47, slashed and chopped at 31-year-old Asma Begum’s head, face, neck and back at least 58 times at their flat in Canning Town, East London. She had previously told police that he beat her after they argued about money, and said chef Uddin had a “gambling habit”. In November 2016 Mrs Begum told a housing officer that Uddin ‘hit her when she refused to give him money’, the Old Bailey heard. Uddin, who is Bangladeshi, denied murder but was convicted after the jury deliberated for just over three hours. He had admitted the lesser charge of manslaughter. Prosecutor Danny Robinson QC said Uddin left his wife with little to pay the bills and feed and clothe the family. ‘She said that she often ended up giving him money for his gambling to stop him hitting her,’ Mr Robinson added. ‘As you will hear, arguments between them caused by his gambling habit were not unusual. ‘Mr Uddin was known to the employees of William Hill bookmakers in east London as the ‘Angry Indian’ because he would often hit the gaming machines when he was losing.’

Judge gives former Greenwich store clerk chance to repay $100K she stole 

The former manager of a Greenwich convenience store can avoid jail if she reimburses her ex-boss the $106,000 she stole several years ago. Julienne Julmeus, 25, of Seaside Avenue, Stamford, was stealing $17,000 per month from the store she managed on East Putnam Avenue, Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Valdes said. The money was supposedly being used to pay off her husband’s gambling debts and help support her extended family in Haiti. More than two years after her arrest, Julmeus pleaded guilty Wednesday to first-degree larceny, a conviction that could carry up to 20 years in prison. But Judge Gary White said he would give Julmeus, a mother of a 3-month-old child, a chance to repay the money she stole. White offered her a 10-year suspended jail sentence and five years probation if she made restitution. White said Julmeus needs to establish a repayment plan by the time she returns to court in November.

Suburban Chicago man gets 10 years for scamming immigrants

A suburban Chicago man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for scamming nearly $700,000 from immigrants living in the U.S. without legal permission and seeking residency status. Federal prosecutors say 57-year-old James Keegan of Cicero was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud in March. They say Keegan operated a fraudulent immigration advocacy service for nine months in 2017 and falsely claimed he formerly worked as an attorney with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Prosecutors say more than 200 immigrants paid Keegan over $687,000. The Chicago Sun-Times reports the average fee was about $3,000 per applicant. Prosecutors say he offered services including promises of citizenship but never filed applications for his clients, instead spending their money on gambling losses and personal expenses.

Former employee pleads guilty to stealing $200,000 from Whatcom casino

A former Silver Reef Casino employee has pleaded guilty in federal court to stealing $200,000 from the business in November 2018. Shannon Marie Morris pleaded guilty June 12 to one count of theft by an employee of a gaming establishment on Indian lands in United States District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle, according to federal court records. In a statement supporting her guilty plea, Morris said that on Nov. 24, 2018, she entered the Silver Reef Casino, walked into the cash collection area, stole $200,000 from the casino and left with the money, according to court records. Morris was an employee at the casino at the time, records show. Morris is no longer employed at the casino, according to marketing director Eric Larsen. In a story previously reported in The Bellingham Herald, Morris allegedly called 911 to report that she had been forced by a man with a gun to commit the theft. She also allegedly told law enforcement that the man had mentioned wanting to plant a bomb in the casino.

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

 


A Brief Look at Crime 9/09 – 9/15

Dennis Blieden Accused of Embezzlement of $22m at Former Employer

March of 2018 was pretty exciting for *Dennis Blieden* as he was relatively unknown to the poker world before that month. However, he made a miraculous victory and managed to rise to the top by topping a filed of 493 tough entries and taking down the $10,000 buy-in *WPT LA Poker Classic Main Event*. He won more than $1 million and many players praised him for his outstanding performance. It has been 16 months since that event, and Dennis Blieden is all over the news once again. However, this time, the news is much worse than they were before. On July 11, Blieden was indicted for the *embezzlement* of $22 million by a federal grand jury. He was accused of embezzling that sum from *SyleHaul*, which was his former employer. There, Blieden had the role of controller and vice president of accounting and finance. Having such a position, Blieden had access to the company’s finances which he allegedly used in order to transfer funds for his private use. He used the money for various *poker* buy-ins and other gambling activities. The entire process lasted for almost four years — it started in October 2015 and ended in March 2019. A federal grand jury returned the indictment on Tuesday and it was unsealed on Thursday. In it, there are a total of 11 wire fraud charges, a charge of aggravated identity theft, and two charges of forfeiture — all of them against *Dennis Blieden*.

Bothell woman sentenced to three years in prison for embezzlement

The company managed a number of commercial properties and was owned by a couple who hired McCauley in 2004 to help with bookkeeping. In 2012, McCauley began writing large checks to herself and forging the owners’ signatures. “She stole a significant amount of money from a small company and it greatly impacted that business,” Chief U.S. District judge Ricardo S. Martinez said at sentencing, according to a press release. McCauley had earned her employers’ trust, as the couple entered their 60s and 70s, and they gave McCauley gifts and helped with her car and house payments. In 2017, the couple loaned her $8,000 for home repairs — a loan that was repaid with some of the $400,000 that was stolen from their own accounts When the couple became aware of the theft, they worked with the FBI to see if McCauley would admit the embezzlement. McCauley underestimated the amount of money she had embezzled, and acknowledged much of the money had gone to feed her gambling addiction.

Man fired a handgun in casino, 48 people inside, after high-speed chase

A 29-year-old man, nearing the end of a 30-some mile high-speed chase from police, fired one round from a pistol in a casino with more than 40 people inside as he rushed through the building on Sunday, Missoula County prosecutors said Tuesday. Charging documents filed this week against Matthew Van Valin allege he fired one round from a .25-caliber semiautomatic handgun as he entered the Gray Wolf Peak Casino on Sunday, after he crashed his vehicle into a pillar in front of the building. Authorities do not allege he fired the weapon at anyone in particular. Police recovered the firearm, a shell casing and a bullet core after his arrest, according to court documents. Forty-eight people were inside the casino when the police chase came through the front doors. Van Valin is charged with three counts of criminal endangerment in connection with the following allegations: one for weaving through law enforcement vehicles during the chase; another for discharging a firearm near the entryway of the Gray Wolf Peak Casino, and a third for causing danger to other drivers on Highway 93 as he sped away from Ronan police.

Georgia DA Files Civil Forfeiture Involving Illegal Gambling Machines

The state of Georgia has witnessed a recent crackdown on illegal gambling machines. Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney David Cooke announced a civil forfeiture action, naming over 100 business owners in Georgia. Those who stand accused are facing bribery and tax evasion charges for operating illegal gambling machines in the state. Included in the suit is Bibb County deputy Rahim McCarley. The DA has reported that, in the time frame listed in the case, gamblers spent over $121m. They won a total of $82m in cash and prizes playing on the machines. According to Cooke, store owners and stakeholders laundered the gambling profits, with millions of dollars sent through trusts with no taxes paid. According to Cooke, the license holders set up fake storefronts for the gambling machines to operate illegally. This allowed the license holders to keep the proceeds instead of sharing them with the store owners. It is required by state law for such proceeds to be shared. District Attorney Cooke, who is now calling for the gambling machines to be removed from operation, said: “These machines are a cancer on our society and it’s time that they’re removed from the Macon Judicial Circuit and the rest of the state.”

Teacher took his own life in Vietnam following online gambling losses

State authorities should be held responsible for the death of a 24-year-old gambling addict who killed himself after being ‘past the point of controlling myself’, his family has argued during his inquest. Jack Ritchie, who had been fighting an addiction to gambling since the age of 17, took his own life in Hanoi, Vietnam, in November 2017. A pre-inquest review into the death of the English teacher, who was originally from Sheffield and was working in the South East Asian country, heard that it was arguable that failures on the part of UK authorities to treat gambling problems had contributed to his death. Paul Greaney QC, representing the family during the hearing at Sheffield Coroner’s Court, likened the effects of the addiction to those of smoking, saying that it is ‘not fanciful’ to suggest that the state could be held to account for Mr Ritchie’s death. He said that authorities had been aware of the risks from the gambling methods that the teacher was using, such as fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) – which are effectively electronic gambling machines – and online gambling. Mr Ritchie’s parents, Charles and Liz Ritchie, have asked that Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights – the right to life – be engaged in his inquest.

Attempted murder suspect now charged with gambling, organized crime and drug trafficking 

Appalachia Narcotics Investigations was building a case against George Fisher long before he was arrested for two counts of attempted murder. Detectives charged the local business owner Friday with promoting gambling first-degree, trafficking drugs first-degree and engaging in organized crime – criminal syndicate. Authorities said Fisher used his businesses as fronts for illegal gambling and narcotics trafficking. He allegedly set up and operated gambling devices, and worked with three or more people to promote or engage in these criminal activities. ANI worked with the Middlesboro Police Department. The case is ongoing. Officials expect to make more arrests.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 9/02 – 9/08

Children were exposed to gambling adverts on Looney Tunes smartphone app, prompting ban

Four gambling adverts have been banned after they appeared in a smartphone app used by children which features Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. The Advertising Standards Authority censured firms for promotions in Looney Tunes World of Mayhem – which has an age rating of seven and up.The watchdog said the link between gambling and cartoons came at a time of mounting concern that betting is being ‘normalised’ for children. The producers of the game argued it was meant to be for adults. However, the watchdog found it had a rating of PEGI 7 in the Google Play app store, meaning it was suitable for players aged seven and over. The game allows players to build worlds based on the Looney Tunes cartoons and collect characters to battle each other. The ASA censured LottoGo EuroMillions, William Hill Vegas, Betfair Bingo and Dunder. It said: ‘Given the use of cartoon characters, cartoonish violence and the relatively simple nature of the game, we considered it was likely to appeal to many under-18s. However, we acknowledged that characters would be well-known to older players, and the game was likely to have more general appeal.’ Meanwhile, a new study has fuelled fears computer games may be providing a ‘gateway’ into problem gambling for teenagers. The study of more than 1,100 children found those who had spent money on in-game ‘loot boxes’ in the past month scored more than twice as highly on a problem gambling questionnaire.

Ex-NYPD Detective, Mastermind of Prostitution and Gambling Ring Sentenced to Up to 12 Years

Ludwig Paz, the retired NYPD detective who pleaded guilty to attempted enterprise corruption for running brothels, was sentenced to up to 12 years in prison Tuesday. Paz “used his knowledge of inner workings” of the NYPD to operate a string of brothels in Queens, Brooklyn and Hempstead, according to Acting District Attorney John Ryan, and ran illegal gambling rings in beauty salons and other locations throughout the city. The 51-year-old pleaded guilty in May to two counts of attempted enterprise corruption and one count of promoting prostitution. The judge sentenced Paz to four to 12 years in prison on Tuesday. The lucrative prostitution ring alone brought in more than $2 million in just over a year’s time, after using online advertising to attract more customers. After the screening process, clients paid up to $40 for 15 minutes of sex with a prostitute of their choice, or up to $160 for a full hour, according to the full indictment.

Port Coquitlam man given 14 years, no parole for shotgun murder

A Port Coquitlam man has been handed a 14-year prison sentence for the 2015 shooting death of a co-worker in a Maple Ridge church parking lot. On Dec. 18, 2015 — the da before the murder — Scott said he had become so distraught that he thought of killing himself. It was his brother’s birthday, so he took a day off work, going to a movie and lunch to celebrate. That night, Scott went to the Hard Rock Casino in Coquitlam, where he lost $3,000, according to court documents. It was the first time he had gambled in three and a half years and the judge accepted the episode must have seriously affected him. “No doubt this filled him with self-loathing, disappointment and anger”, the judge wrote. In her sentencing decision, Justice Ker noted Scott was an upstanding member of society before he murdered Bender. She considered Scott’s emotional distress, history of addiction and obsessive behaviour towards women. Against that, the judge weighed several victim impact statements, noting how Bender’s murder shattered the lives of the people around him.

3 Shot at Outdoor Party in Mississippi Attended by 200 

A north Mississippi sheriff says three people were shot and injured at a party that as many as 200 people were attending. Panola County Sheriff Dennis Darby tells local news outlets deputies were called around 3 a.m. Sunday. The party was taking place in a wooded area on a dead-end road near Sardis. Darby says one man was shot in the stomach and taken by helicopter to a hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. A second man was shot in the ankle and a third man was shot multiple times. They were taken to hospitals in private vehicles. All are expected to recover. Darby says investigators suspect gambling and drugs were present at the party. The sheriff says deputies are seeking more information because the people who were shot aren’t saying much.

Boston man dies after wife stabs him in Quincy 

A 46-year-old woman is being held without bail after police say she killed her husband during an argument about an illegal gambling operation the couple was running out of a basement. Huixian Liu, of 67 West Newton Street in Boston, was arraigned in Quincy District Court Friday on a charge of assault with intent to murder. Police say she stabbed her husband, 55-year-old Biqiang He, during an argument on July 4. He was taken to Quincy Medical Center, then to Boston Medical Center where he died Sunday. Liu is being held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing later this week. The death of He transfers the case to the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office, and Spokesman David Traub said prosecutors will “examine the existing assault charges in light of the victim’s death” ahead of Liu’s scheduled Friday court appearance.

Maryland Woman Sentenced for Scamming Victims of $1.2M

Federal prosecutors say a Maryland woman has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for wire fraud in a scheme to defraud at least five people of more than $1.2 million. U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur said in a news release on Monday that 74-year-old Nely Rider of Bowie also received nine months of home detention as part of three years of supervised release. The U.S. Justice Department said Rider told her victims that a person in Mexico needed help getting to the U.S. and said the person would repay the victims once she arrived. Prosecutors said that, based on Rider’s statements, the victims provided her with approximately $1,285,545 which she used at casinos and elsewhere for her personal benefit. Authorities say some elderly victims lost their retirement savings.

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