Category Archives: Crime

A Brief Look at Crime 02/19 – 02/25

Dozens of People Recount Pattern of Sexual Misconduct by Las Vegas Mogul Steve Wynn

Not long after the billionaire casino mogul Steve Wynn opened his flagship Wynn Las Vegas in 2005, a manicurist who worked there arrived at the on-site salon visibly distressed following an appointment in Mr. Wynn’s office. Sobbing, she told a colleague Mr. Wynn had forced her to have sex, and she repeated that to others later. After she gave Mr. Wynn a manicure, she said, he pressured her to take her clothes off and told her to lie on the massage table he kept in his office suite, according to people she gave the account to. The manicurist said she told Mr. Wynn she didn’t want to have sex and was married, but he persisted in his demands that she do so, and ultimately she did disrobe and they had sex, the people remember her saying. After being told of the allegations, the woman’s supervisor said she filed a detailed report to the casino’s human-resources department recounting the episode.

Beyond this incident, dozens of people The Wall Street Journal interviewed who have worked at Mr. Wynn’s casinos told of behavior that cumulatively would amount to a decades long pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Wynn. Some described him pressuring employees to perform sex acts. In response to written questions about the manicurist’s and others’ allegations, Mr. Wynn said, “The idea that I ever assaulted any woman is preposterous.”

he Journal contacted more than 150 people who work or had worked for Mr. Wynn; none reached out to the Journal on their own. Most of those who spoke to the Journal about Mr. Wynn said they worried that doing so could hurt their ability to work elsewhere because of his influence in the casino industry and the state. Former employees said they sometimes entered fake appointments in the books to help other female workers get around a request for services in Mr. Wynn’s office or arranged for others to pose as assistants so they wouldn’t be alone with him. They told of female employees hiding in the bathroom or backrooms when they learned he was on the way to the salon. “Everybody was petrified,” said Jorgen Nielsen, a former artistic director at the salon. Mr. Nielsen said he and others repeatedly told high-level company executives Mr. Wynn’s sexual advances were causing a problem, but “nobody was there to help us.”

Professional gambler the ‘Pencil Man’ convicted of £2.1m betting fraud

A professional Merseyside gambler who swindled his victims out of over £2m was today found guilty of five counts of fraud. John Bailey, 45, known as ‘Pencil Man’, and from Waterloo, used his “powers of persuasion” to encourage people to ‘invest’ in his alleged businesses then used the money to fund his gambling habit.It was a seven-word warning that struck fear into the heart of bookies across the country: “The Pencil Man is in your area.” The electronic alert referred to John Bailey, whose betting slip sleight-of-hand tricked bookmakers out of vast fortunes. The Waterloo man’s scam was simple, but well-rehearsed and very-effective. Bailey, who was described by his victims as “confident”, “polite” and “self-effacing”, retrieved betting slips written in pencil which had already been time-stamped, and scribbled winning bets on them before slipping them back over the counter. He was so feared that he was banned by injunction from one chain – and the betting industry made wholesale changes to make Bailey’s modus operandi impossible.

Wayne Man Admits To Embezzling $13.8M From Employer

Atownship man Wednesday admitted to embezzling more than $13 million from his employer to support his gambling expenses and lavish lifestyle, authorities announced. Dfouni was the chief operating office for company that owns and operates hotels in New York and New Jersey from 1996 to 2015. From 2007 to September 2015, Dfouni negotiated lease contracts between his company and two others, which totaled millions of dollars, Carpenito said. Dfouni arranged for the payments to be sent directly to him. These payments included signing bonuses for Dfouni. He was expected to keep the bonuses and pay the remaining money to his company, Carpenito said. Instead, Dfouni skimmed part of the payments to his company to “support his lavish lifestyle and gambling expenses,” Carpenito said. Dfouni embezzled about $13.8 million from his employer, Carpenito said. Dfouni also failed to report more than $27.7 million in income to the IRS from 2007 to 2014, which included the funds he embezzled, Carpenito said.

Store employee steals more than $250,000 worth of lottery tickets

A Tallahassee store clerk is accused of taking lotto tickets for himself without paying for them, costing the Florida Lottery more than $250,000. According to an investigation by the Florida Lottery Division of Security, Shahi had been printing large amounts of Florida Lottery online game tickets for his own use. They say Shahi also played numerous scratch-off tickets from the store’s inventory without paying for it. Investigators note that Shahi’s wife owns the store. Documents allege Shahi even went so far as to delete footage from the DVR inside the store, printing off and stealing more than 6,000 tickets in one instance. Investigators say the total loss incurred by the Florida Lottery was $255,299.79. When investigators interviewed Shahi, he admitted to having a “gambling problem.” He told officials he had been printing off the Pick 3 tickets for himself because he had a loan to repay.

Former financial officer at Milwaukee box company to plead guilty to embezzling $592,000

The former controller for a defunct Milwaukee box maker has agreed to plead guilty to charges he embezzled nearly $600,000 from the company to pay gambling debts and personal expenses. The fraud occurred multiple ways, according to federal prosecutors. Weber used company credit cards and company checks and falsified accounting records to hide his activities and even impersonated his boss to get loans to the company as it was faltering in late 2016. A plea agreement filed Monday indicates Weber expects to plead guilty to a single count of wire fraud. Prosecutors and his lawyer, Jonathan Lavoy, have agreed to recommend a prison sentence of 18 months. Weber has paid back $100,000 of the stolen funds, Lavoy said, and the agreement calls for him to make full restitution of $592,006.53. The maximum penalty for wire fraud is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Gunmen Shoot 21 at Clandestine Cockfight in Mexican Border State

Based on a statement by the state prosecutor’s office, several masked gunmen opened fire on people gathered at the club late Saturday at approximately 11pm. Four were killed at the scene with an additional three succumbing to their wounds in transit to hospital. Two of the wounded were identified as children aged seven and 10. One victim, who died early Sunday morning, was identified as 15-year-old Juan Daniel Magallanes Rodríguez received a gunshot to the chest. Cockfighting is very popular in many parts of Mexico; the primary draw is the gambling. The activity also tends to invite organized crime and cartel elements due to the high-stakes wagers. Gun violence is also common. Cockfighting operations have also been discovered in the United States, typically along the southern border. The illegal operations are primarily run by illegal and legal immigrants from Mexico. Numerous operations have been closed down in Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and California.

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



A Brief Look at Crime 02/12 – 02/18

Gunman shoots and kills two security guards at a Las Vegas hotel and casino then tries to commit suicide

Two security guards were shot dead at a Las Vegas hotel and casino at 6.30am on Saturday. The shooting took place in a hotel room at Arizona Charlie’s Decatur Hotel and Casino when 29-year-old gunman Christopher Olague opened fire on two guards responding to a report of a disturbance. According to the LA Times, the guards had entered the room on the fourth floor and were shot by Olague, who was alone in the room. He used a handgun. Following the shooting Olague escaped and tried to carjack two motorists who managed to fend him off. He was located soon afterwards in the garage where he had shot himself in the head. He was taken to University Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition. ‘I don’t expect him to live,’ Las Vegas Police Lt. Dan McGrath said. Further information on the shooting, including a possible motive for the act, wasn’t immediately clear.

Londoner David Hair pleads guilty to role in $100M sports-betting ring linked to organized crime

A London man has admitted he helped lead a lucrative, illegal sports gambling scheme that grossed more than $100 million in five years. David Hair, 50, “was a leading member of the upper-echelon management group” of Platinum Sports Book, “an illegal bookmaking operation” that was run on websites through computers in Costa Rica, Crown attorney Henry Poon said in reading an agreed statement of facts in Toronto court Wednesday. Hair, who pleaded guilty Wednesday to bookmaking for a criminal organization, will be sentenced to two years imprisonment. He also agreed to pay $3 million in fines — $2 million before he’s actually sentenced on Feb. 21 — and the remaining million within the next three years, court heard. Hair remains out on $400,000 bail and still lives at the McCracken Court house in London’s swish Sunningdale neighbourhood, where police found $680,000 in bundled cash — believed to be Platinum revenues — when a search warrant was executed in February 2013.

Five of UK’s online casinos may lose licence over money laundering fears

Five online casino companies could lose their licence to operate, after industry regulator the Gambling Commission warned they were not doing enough to stop criminals using their websites to launder money. The commission has written to 17 online casino companies, flagging up the “serious nature” of its findings on their controls against money laundering, terrorist financing and problem gambling. The regulator said it was already considering a licence review for five of the firms as a result of its early findings, which could result in their permission to operate in the UK being revoked.

In its letter to firms in the sector the commission said it had identified failings not just in anti-money laundering controls, but also in social responsibility provisions designed to protect problem gamblers. These included companies hiring money laundering reporting officers with no formal qualifications who were “unable to provide suitable explanations as to what constitutes money laundering”. “There was a general lack of understanding of how criminal spend could affect the business,” the commission said. It also said firms were not submitting enough information about suspicious activity to law enforcement agencies such as the National Crime Agency. Online casinos are also failing in their duty to intervene when customers were showing signs of problem gambling the commission said. The regulator said it had spotted customers showing signs of problem gambling but “this behaviour did not trigger a customer interaction” by the companies.

Former employee pleads guilty to creating phony job ads to steal $244,000 from Brunswick hospital

A man who formerly bought employment ads for Southeast Georgia Health System pleaded guilty Thursday to creating phony ones to funnel nearly $244,000 of hospital money into his own bank account.While his job was to contract with advertising vendors, Wiemers created fictitious job boards and then caused the transfer of $243,738.53 in phony charges into his personal bank account, FBI Special Agent Jeff Roberts testified. Wiemers went through proxy companies as he took steps to conceal his involvement and used false identities to create email addresses, Roberts said. During his pre-trial release, Wiemers is undergoing rehabilitation some of “a very serious gambling addiction problem,” Zeh told the court. He faces up to 20 years in prison, a fine up to $250,000 and three years probation.

A ‘gambling-obsessed’ Welsh accountant stole £1.3m from Bermuda and then claimed it was overtime

An accountant with a “fascination with risk and trying to win big” stole £1.3m from the Bermuda government and transferred it to the UK to invest in cars and properties, a court has heard. This was allegedly used to pay off the £140,000 mortgage on his house, invest in 11 properties and buy two Mercedes-Benz cars. Bevan claims that £1.8m was legitimately paid to him for his work at the department of the Accountant General of Bermuda and was “effectively overtime”. Tim Evans, prosecuting, said Bevan made 52 payments from the Bermudan government to bank accounts belonging to him and his wife. The jury heard Bevan did this while implementing a new finance system at the government. Mr Evans described Bevan as a “gambling addict” with a “fascination with risk and trying to win big”.

Macau police hunt casino dealer after S$8.1 million theft

Police in the world’s largest gambling hub of Macau are hunting for a dealer suspected of stealing HK$48 million (S$8.1 million) worth of casino chips from Wynn Macau, authorities in the Chinese-controlled territory said on Thursday. Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, known as the DICJ, said it was concerned about the incident and had asked casino operators to beef up their security. The theft, which took place this week, was carried out by a man from Macau who worked in a high-roller VIP room at Wynn’s resort on Macau’s teeming peninsula, media reported. Public broadcaster TDM said police were also investigating if there were multiple suspects but did not give further detail. Typically, Wynn casino chips can only be exchanged for cash in Wynn’s casino, so anyone with stolen chips would likely try to cash in small amounts at a time rather than all at once, to avoid attracting attention. The last major casino heists happened in 2015 and 2016 when employees working in Macau’s VIP parlours stole millions of dollars from junket rooms in the casinos.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 02/05 – 02/11

Husband and wife in Mass. plead guilty to $1 million illegal gambling scheme

A husband and wife from Massachusetts have pleaded guilty to running an illegal gambling company and laundering more than $1 million in proceeds. The Salem News reports that William and Bonnie Morley, of Middleton, pleaded guilty Tuesday to gambling, money laundering and conspiracy charges. Sixty-two-year-old William Morley has been sentenced to serve six months of a 2 ½ year jail term. His 53-year-old wife will serve three years of probation. Prosecutors say the couple owned a North Andover company called Four Star Vending, and distributed illegal gambling devices to several establishments in Massachusetts and New York. Authorities say Four Star employees collected the proceeds from the machines and shared profits with the Morleys. The Morleys have agreed to forfeit $1.1 million in cash, six cars and dissolve the business.

Kansas woman plans to change plea in $5 million embezzlement

A former Southeast Kansas woman accused of embezzling more than $5 million from a now-defunct credit union has notified the court she plans to change her plea. The federal court filing on Wednesday comes just weeks before Nita Rae Nirschl, 64, was scheduled to go to trial on Jan. 30. The Miami, Oklahoma, woman is accused in an 81-count federal indictment of embezzlement and money laundering. Nirschl worked for Parsons Credit Union from April 17, 2000, to Jan. 24, 2014, when she was interviewed by credit union examiners about her gambling activities, among other things. Nirschl reported that she and her husband had winnings and losses of $16 million in 2012 from gambling. The audit revealed that the embezzlement occurred from 2010 to December 2013. The indictment alleges she deposited money stolen from the credit union into her personal accounts. She withdrew the funds as cash or from ATMs at Harrah’s North Kansas City casino, Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Oklahoma, The Stables Casino in Miami, Downstream Casino in Quapaw, Oklahoma, Harrah’s News Orleans casino and Harrah’s Lake Tahoe casino.

Arizona hairstylist found guilty of stealing $300K from 94-year-old to gamble

A jury has found an Arizona hairstylist guilty of stealing $300,000 from a 94-year-old woman with dementia. Supranom “Addy” Klos of Tucson, Arizona, was convicted of one count of fraudulent schemes, three counts of theft, one count of fraudulent use of a credit card and one count of unlawful use of power of attorney. According to the office of Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Klos spent the money on a car, dental implants and gambling over four months. The victim was a client of Klos for more than 20 years. When her husband died in 2011, she was given power of attorney, which she exploited to steal the money. Klos will spend at least four years in prison.

After a huge cockfighting bust, L.A. County leaders look to crack down on owning roosters

With at least 8,000 cockfighting birds seized from homes in north Los Angeles County this year, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to look into suggestions on how to limit residents from keeping roosters. Cockfighting is an inhumane crime in which animals are forced to fight to the death for amusement and gain,” they wrote. Other crimes, such as gambling, illegal drugs, weapons, prostitution, and child abuse occur during these fights. The keeping of such large numbers offighting birds creates significant problems of excessive noise, flies, and potential sources of disease such as Avian Flu or Exotic Newcastle Disease. They interfere with residents’ ability to peacefully enjoy their properties and reduce property values.”

Crooked animal charity boss jailed for five years after stealing £640,000

A trusted boss who defrauded an animal charity and blew £640,000 on an online gambling website has been jailed for five years. Price, who admitted 10 offences, and his spouse, who pleaded guilty to five offences, funnelled cash into their personal accounts, leaving the well-established and trusted charity “weakened”, a judge told them. Gambling addict Simon Price, in his role as the charity’s chief executive, diverted cash from legacies left to the dogs’ home, including the sale of a £399,000 house, to feed his escalating habit. The money had been intended to keep animals “safe and warm”, but Birmingham Crown Court heard how Price spent thousands on gambling, trying to recover ever more cash on his losing bets. He himself calculated to police that he had spent £700,000 through his account on the Betfair website from 2009. The judge told him that his actions “while in the grip of a gambling addiction” had “weakened public confidence” in the work of the dogs’ home, damaging its ability to raise the £1.85 million needed each year to keep its doors open.

1 dead, another injured in game room robbery

An attempted armed robbery at an illegal game room in southwest Houston ended in a deadly shootout overnight leaving one suspect dead and the manager injured. According to the Houston Police Department, it happened near Hillcroft and Dunlap. Investigators said in total three people tried to hijack the gambling facility. Police said a woman and a man, both armed, marched in and shootout ensued between them and the manager and a security guard. Another male suspect was on standby in one of their getaway cars, police said. Police said the woman was shot several times and was dragged out by one of her partners before her two accomplices took off in their black Nissan, leaving her behind. She died at the scene, police said. Police had to force their way into the game room, after discovering the manager shot and locked up inside. They said the security guard had already taken off. The manager was taken to a hospital and is now in stable condition. Business owners like Luis Hernandez say this game room has been wreaking havoc, causing a spike in crime in the area.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 01/29 – 02/04

4 arrested, $200,000 seized in Lake County gambling sting (FL)

A two-month operation targeting illegal gambling in Lake County ended with search warrants being served at 10 illegal gambling establishments across the county, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. The sting, dubbed Operation Jackpot, was initiated after authorities received tips and Crimeline calls about illegal gambling at the businesses, authorities said. Authorities seized more than $200,000 during the operation and made four arrests — three for illegal gambling and one for drugs and weapons charges, deputies said. Luis Hernandez, 50; Samir Aguiar , 38; and Brenda Martinez, 42 were charged with keeping an establishment for gambling.

Jury finds man guilty in San Francisco quintuple homicide

A jury Monday found a 41-year-old man guilty of five counts of murder in the 2012 killings of a family found beaten to death with a hammer inside their San Francisco home. The jury returned the verdict against Binh Thai Luc on Monday after six days of deliberations. Luc was also found guilty of five counts of attempted robbery and two counts of burglary. Luc, who was said to be deeply in debt and had already been served an eviction notice, was accused of killing the family in the midst of a robbery after losing money at a casino that night. Prosecutors said the Lei family kept thousands of dollars in cash in the home, and Luc had more than $6,500 with him when he was arrested. While no eyewitnesses placed Luc at the scene of the crime, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that blood from one of the victims was spattered on his jeans.

Half a million children and young people are online gambling every week, according to new survey (UK)

Over 300,000 children and young people are gambling every week through online games, a new survey has revealed. Technology is providing children with the opportunity to experience gambling through free-to-play casino games, social media or within some computer games. Just over 1 in 10 young people claimed to have participated in gambling style social games which are free to play, with the majority of people saying that they accessed these games through smartphones or tablets. The report published by the Gambling Commission stated that these online resources do not have the same level of protections or responsible gambling messages as regulated gambling products. The report pointed to gaming as a gateway into gambling citing “skin betting” websites which allow players to gamble with virtual items. “Skins” are unique virtual design of a weapon used in video games. Depending on how rare these “skins” are they can be used as virtual currency. Some third party sites enable players to gamble their skins on casino or slot type games. These “skins” can then be cashed out as real money. It is estimated in the UK that half of the population plays video games.

3 men charged in Detroit casino hotel elevator slaying  

Three men have been charged in the shooting death of a man inside a hotel elevator in Detroit. The Wayne County prosecutor’s office says Monday that 28-year-old Rodney Pritchett, 30-year-old Shawn Wilson and 31-year-old Carlile Jackson have been arraigned. Shunsaiah Glaze was shot Dec. 2 in the Greektown Casino Hotel following a fight inside one of the rooms. He was pronounced dead at a hospital. Pritchett is charged with first-degree premeditated murder. His probable cause conference is Thursday, followed by a Dec. 21 preliminary examination. Wilson and Jackson are charged with second-degree murder and tampering with evidence. Each faces probable cause conferences on Thursday, followed by Dec. 21 preliminary examinations.

Alabama Slaying May Have Been Over Gambling Dispute 

Police are investigating the slaying of a man found shot at an Alabama apartment complex. Birmingham police say officers were called Sunday evening to the HighPointe Apartments complex. The victim was found shot in one of the apartments. reports that police say their preliminary investigation shows the slaying may have results from an argument over a gambling debt or a dice game. Police have not released the name of the victim. A woman’s decomposing body was found in October in a wooded area at the same apartment complex. The woman was identified as 34-year-old Ieasha Shakinna Abrams, but the cause of her death has not been determined.

Mohegans’ Pennsylvania casino fined $1 million over lapses in financial procedures

Pennsylvania gaming regulators Wednesday approved $1 million in fines against Downs Racing LP, operator of Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, which met in Harrisburg, Pa., approved consent agreements reached between the board’s Office of Enforcement Counsel and Downs Racing following a lengthy investigation of financial procedures at the Pocono casino over a period of several years. Fines of $550,000 and $450,000 were levied. The gaming board announced that the $550,000 fine against Downs Racing involved three areas in which Mohegan Sun Pocono employees failed to follow “approved internal controls” — the issuance of free slot-machine play; the casino’s main bank cashier functions; and internal audits. The second fine of $450,000 stemmed from Mohegan Sun Pocono’s vendor relationship with two firms, ReferLocal LLC and CB POC LLC, neither of which had licensed its company or its employees with the gaming board, as required by law. ReferLocal was one of the businesses in which Soper had an interest he failed to properly disclose.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 01/22 – 01/28

Washington State Man Swindled Alaskans Out of $3M to Gamble and Do Drugs

A man in Washington State who told his neighbors he had cancer and needed money for treatment took approximately $3 million from them and several of their friends who lived in a tiny Alaska town. But it wasn’t for cancer, it was all to feed his gambling and drug addictions Floyd Jay Mann, who pled guilty in June to all 19 counts against him including wire fraud and money laundering, is now close to finding out what his sentence will be, and he is asking for a relatively light sentence, given that he bilked the money from mostly trusting senior citizens. “The victims did not believe that the scheme was fraudulent [even]when legitimate FBI agents showed up to conduct interviews andserved search warrants, because they had been told so many storiesof corrupt agents and judges,” wrote Steward. “It was not until after the agents showed up, when Mann stopped calling and asking for money, [that] the victims accepted that the stories he had been telling them for six years were fraudulent.”

Man jumps to his death after racking up big gambling debt

The suicide of a young man in Tuen Mun in Hong Kong’s New Territories on Tuesday may have been linked to gambling debts. The 22-year-old man died after jumping from a building in a public housing estate. He was found lying unconscious outside Mun Yu House of Sam Shing Estate at midnight, Sing Tao Daily reported. He was sent to Tuen Mun Hospital but was pronounced dead later. When police officers examined the man’s personal computer and bank statements, they found he was a soccer gambler who had a credit-card overdraft of at least HK$110,000 (US$14,075). So far this year the center has handled 80 cases in which the gamblers were aged 29 or below. About 17% of the gamblers said they once considered committing suicide, 60% had suffered emotional stress and 40% had bad relationships with family members. Fully 40% of them had racked up more than HK$100,000 of debt. Yeung said young people should seek counseling if they have found they have gambling problems.

Hazelwood dispatcher raised money for paralyzed officer, told police she gambled it away

A former Hazelwood dispatcher who helped organize fundraisers for a police officer who was paralyzed in the line of duty was charged Tuesday with stealing some of the money to gamble. April Briscuso, 40, was arrested in November amid an investigation into whether she pocketed some of the money she helped raise for former Officer Craig Tudor. He was paralyzed from the chest down in a car crash more than a year ago while he was on his way to a call. Briscuso was charged Tuesday. Her bail has been set at $75,000. She told investigators she took cash donations to gamble at casinos. The documents also show that Tudor and his wife, Christine, told investigators they had not received the proceeds from several events hosted in their name, with the exception of checks made payable to officer Tudor or his wife. Investigators concluded that Briscuso told donors to make checks payable to her even after Tudor told her to stop doing so. She told Christine Tudor that she had been depositing donations into her personal account, according to the documents.

Emergency FEMA Funding Went to Old Casino

Federal Emergency Management Agency grants meant for disaster relief ended up going to unauthorized casino repairs and a $300,000 “bonus” to a contractor, according to a new audit by the inspector general. The inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security questioned roughly $14 million awarded to the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska and Iowa for flood damage in 2011. The audit, released last week, found “serious and pervasive” mishandling of federal funds by the tribe. “The Omaha Tribe’s accounting system and supporting documentation were so unreliable and in such disarray that the only amounts we were able to verify with any degree of confidence were $2.8 million of unneeded funds; $165,000 of unclaimed insurance coverage; and about $74,749 of eligible and supported costs,” the inspector general said. “We question the remaining $13.9 million as unsupported.” The office of inspector general said it had “little confidence” in any transactions the tribe listed in its accounting system. The Omaha Tribe spent $168,764 in taxpayer funding for “ineligible expenditures to repair its old casino” and awarded $312,282 to itself as a “bonus.”

Massive illegal gambling operation busted. 500 slot machines involved

After a two-year investigation, federal and state officials say they have broken up a massive illegal gambling operation that used 500 video slot machines throughout Northern California smoke shops, bars and stores to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. The allegations against four Israeli citizens who operate out of the Bay Area are contained in a 44-page affidavit filed in federal court in Sacramento and unsealed on Friday. According to the affidavit from a state Department of Justice special agent, the probe uncovered the gambling scheme that it says was run by what authorities call “the Gohar Organization,” which allegedly placed machines generating more than $2,000 a day in storefronts from San Jose to Sacramento. “This organization controls a large number of illegal video slot machines placed in small Northern California retail stores such as markets, gas stations, liquor stores and smoke shops,” the affidavit states, adding that proceeds from the operation may have been laundered by sending the money to Israel through a Los Angeles rabbi and later by purchasing homes and commercial buildings in the Bay Area. The investigation began in September 2015 and followed a similar probe of a suspect known as “Dino the Casino,” an Israeli national named Nive Hagay who pleaded guilty last May to a count of illegal gambling and one count of cocaine distribution. He was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to forfeit about $320,000 in cash, vehicles and other assets.

4 arrested, $200,000 seized in Lake County gambling sting

A two-month operation targeting illegal gambling in Lake County ended with search warrants being served at 10 illegal gambling establishments across the county, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. The sting, dubbed Operation Jackpot, was initiated after authorities received tips and Crimeline calls about illegal gambling at the businesses, authorities said. Authorities seized more than $200,000 during the operation and made four arrests — three for illegal gambling and one for drugs and weapons charges, deputies said. Luis Hernandez, 50; Samir Aguiar , 38; and Brenda Martinez, 42 were charged with keeping an establishment for gambling. Christopher DeCotis, 26, was a customer of one of the businesses when the warrant was served. Deputies searched his backpack and found a handgun, digital scale and a spoon with white residue. He was charged with possession of a firearm by convicted felon and possession of drug paraphernalia, authorities said.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 01/15 – 01/21

Prosecutor fingers gambling problem as motive for SF quintuple homicide

A plumber accused of five heinous slayings inside a single-family home in San Francisco was driven to kill when a gambling problem left him without money to pay rent, a prosecutor argued Tuesday during closing arguments in the quintuple murder trial. Binh Thai Luc, 41, is facing murder, burglary and robbery charges for the killings at 16 Howth St. on March 22, 2012. Though forensic evidence connects Luc to the crime scene, one of the central questions for jurors is whether Luc had a motive to kill. Fleming suggested Luc robbed and strangled his friend Vincent Lei, and killed the rest of his family to prevent anyone from testifying against him, on the same night that he lost money playing cards at Artichoke Joe’s Casino in San Bruno.

1 dead after being shot on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas

Las Vegas police are searching for the man they suspect of shooting and killing another man at the Fremont Street Experience early Wednesday. Metropolitan Police Department homicide Lt. Dan McGrath said the suspected shooter, who is in his 20s, ran through several downtown casinos as he fled the scene of the shooting that occurred just after 2:20 a.m. outside the Four Queens. The shot man, who police said was also in his 20s, was taken to University Medical Center where he died just before 2:45 a.m. McGrath said it appeared the man was shot when an argument escalated among a group of people. The group scattered and the shooter fled the scene. McGrath said the shooter and the man who was killed knew each other. One person in the group that was arguing told detectives the shooter’s name, McGrath said, and police are searching for him. By Wednesday evening, police had filed a warrant for the man’s arrest. Deagan said people ran into the Four Queens and the surrounding casinos after the shot rang out. “I stopped playing and looked over and people were running, so I ducked behind this pillar,” he said, motioning toward a column supporting the Fremont Street Experience.

Lenexa woman dies after shooting near 7th Street Casino

A Lenexa woman is dead after a shooting outside a casino in Kansas City, KS. The shooting happened at about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday in a parking garage outside of the 7th Street Casino, located at 777 N Seventh Street Trafficway. Overland Park Police officers stopped a vehicle at about 1:20 a.m. near southbound Interstate 35 and Antioch Road to assist a Mission officer who had pulled the car over for speeding. Officers noticed that a Hispanic woman riding in the vehicle had been shot and had a faint pulse. CPR was administered but the woman died on the side of the road. Authorities closed the ramp from southbound I-35 to Antioch Road as they investigated the shooting. It has reopened. Officers plan to search casino surveillance video for details about the shooting.

Child Found Asleep In Car At Casino With Illegal Drugs, Hypodermic Needles

Four people have been arrested after a child was found asleep inside a car with hypodermic needles and drugs at a Placerville casino. Investigators say a security guard for Red Hawk Casino noticed the car with two people inside and the child. The child’s mother was inside the casino at the time. The four face multiple drug and child endangerment charges. The child is now in the care of child protective services.

Greensburg attorney charged with embezzling from clients

A Greensburg attorney appeared in federal court Tuesday after being charged by federal grand jury indictment with multiple counts of wire fraud on November 15. Danny P. Butler, of Campbellsville, was charged as part of a scheme to obtain money from clients of his legal practice in order to pay gambling losses exceeding $1.6 million. The indictment alleges from about August of 2009 through October of 2016, Butler used seven bank bank accounts to routinely commingle client funds, and often to misappropriate funds from one client to distribute funds to other, unrelated clients. Butler also allegedly used client funds from the bank accounts to make cash withdrawals and pay personal expenses, in addition transferring client funds from business bank accounts to his personal accounts. From 2009 through 2015, Butler had gambling losses totaling $1,648,613 that he allegedly paid for, in large part, by the misappropriation of funds from eleven clients. If convicted at trial, Butler could be sentenced to no more than 20 years in prison, fined $250,000, and be required to serve a three year period of supervised release.

Gambling tops fraud attempts list on Black Friday

Jumio has said that the gambling industry experienced the highest levels of fraud between Black Friday and Cyber Monday compared to other sectors. Despite overall fraud attempts falling 4% on the same period last year, gambling saw its highest-ever level, with Jumio reporting that fraud was 67% higher than the daily average for the rest of the year in Europe. Online gambling fraud has now increased 60% overall since 2014, according to Jumio. Anies Khan, head of gaming at Jumio, said: ‘’While we saw an overall reduction in detectable fraud between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, online gambling saw significant increases during the account setup process. “Online gaming operators are often reluctant to add extra barriers to the customer onboarding process because they want a seamless user experience. “This year’s data suggests that this mindset may require rethinking since its leaving operators vulnerable to attacks.

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A Brief Look at Crime 01/08 – 01/14

Cherry Hill man gets 70 months in prison for $2.5M Medicaid fraud

Cesar Tavera, the former executive director of a community health center in Camden, was sentenced Monday to more than five years in prison for stealing money from the nonprofit, which was created to provide mental health services for the city’s underserved residents. In addition to 70 months in prison, three years of supervised release was ordered by U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman in Camden. The judge also issued a $2.5 million restitution order. Authorities said Cesar Tavera, 53, of Cherry Hill, embezzled from Nueva Vida Behavioral Health Center of New Jersey, using the money for his family and for personal use that included gambling jaunts to SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia, meals, and travel in the United States and abroad. In 2015, authorities said, Tavera withdrew $35,000 from the center’s bank account while at the casino.

Woman guilty of embezzling $100K from Rocky Boy clinic

A former chief financial officer at the Rocky Boy Health Board Clinic in Box Elder has pleaded guilty to circumventing the approval process in taking out nearly $112,000 in loans from the health board’s loan program. The Great Falls Tribune reports 60-year-old Kathy Ann Sutherland pleaded guilty Tuesday to wire fraud. She told U.S. District Judge Brian Morris she used the money to feed her gambling habit. She faces up to 20 years in prison when she is sentenced on Feb. 8. She also has agreed to pay restitution. Court records say that from 2005 to 2015, Sutherland took out employee loans from the health board loan program. The money was to be repaid through payroll deductions. However, she bypassed the $1,500 loan limit and cashed duplicate checks to get more money.

Reputed mobster charged in crime sweep admits to extortion

One of five reputed mobsters from western Massachusetts who were charged in connection with an extortion case has pleaded guilty in federal court. The Republican reports 50-year-old Ralph Santaniello, of Longmeadow, pleaded guilty Monday in Worcester to charges that include extortion. He faces more than six years in prison when he’s sentenced Jan. 29. Santaniello was arrested in August 2016 along with close to 40 alleged members of various organized crime families following a large-scale crime bust. He was charged with gambling and other extortion-related offenses. Prosecutors say Santaniello and another mobster extorted the owner of a local towing business. Authorities say the men allegedly threatened to decapitate and bury the body of the tow company owner unless he paid $50,000.

Advisor Sentenced To Federal Prison For $6M Investment Fraud Scheme

Francisco Reynier Arias, Jr., 49, of Winter Park, Florida and formerly of Nashville, was sentenced today to 70 months in prison for operating an investment fraud scheme, which defrauded investors of over $6.5 million dollars, announced U.S. Attorney Donald Cochran of the Middle District of Tennessee. Arias was indicted in 2011 and pleaded guilty in October 2015 to money laundering and wire fraud. According to court documents and evidence presented at the sentencing hearing, Arias owned and operated Adieus, an investment company in Nashville, which purportedly specialized in foreign currency trading. Arias lied to investors about his abilities as a foreign currency trader by claiming that he had a special insight into the market when in fact he did not. He also lied to investors by claiming that he was a decorated war hero who helped capture Saddam Hussein. Instead of investing client funds, Arias diverted funds for his own personal use, including paying down the mortgage on his home; paying a family member’s college tuition at Vanderbilt University; family trips, including a gambling trip to Las Vegas; landscaping for his house, including the construction of a swimming pool; and purchasing motorcycles to add to his motorcycle collection.

Convicted Limerick fraudster agrees to hand over pension fund

A legal executive who was jailed for three years for stealing €260,000 from the solicitor’s firm he previously worked for has agreed to have a receiver appointed over his pension fund. Monies in the fund, estimated to be approximately €170,000, will go towards repaying those who suffered loss by the fraudulent conduct of Garry Carroll. In 2012, Carroll admitted to multiple charges of theft, larceny and embezzlement before Limerick Circuit Criminal Court of from his employers Connolly Sellors, Geraghty Solicitors – now known as Keating Connolly Sellors. Carroll, who worked as a legal executive with the firm from 1978 to 2009, was sentenced to three years in prison. The court heard that the offences were committed over a 10-year period. 58-year-old Carroll, who lived in Limerick for many years but is now residing in Cratloe, Co. Clare. said that his actions were due to a gambling problem.

Sheriff: 2 dead after shooting at illegal gambling establishment in rural Edinburg

Two aggravated robbery suspects were shot and killed by a security guard at an illegal gambling establishment in rural Edinburg early Saturday morning, Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra said via Twitter. The Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office received a call at about 2:35 a.m. in regards to shots fired at 1328 South Alamo Road. Deputies say when they responded, though, people at the illegal gambling establishment had already fled the scene. Deputies believe three suspects intended to rob the establishment. Details about the shooting weren’t immediately available. The deceased suspects were described as two Hispanic males. Deputies say the men will be identified pending notification of next of kin. The security guard–who has not been identified– is certified, according to Guerra. Investigators continue to search for a third suspect who fled the scene on foot, Guerra said.

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