Category Archives: Crime

A Brief Look at Crime 12/17 – 12/23

A whirlwind romance that ended in violent murder – gambling addict killed bookie boss in row over deeds to house

A grandmother was stabbed to death by her gambling addict husband who felt ‘belittled’ after she refused to let him to be named on the deeds to their new home, a court heard. David Pawluk, 59, met Margaret Howlett, 63, through her job as manager of a bookmakers. They married after a whirlwind romance but began to row over his ‘significant’ gambling problem and mounting debts. Problems came to a head when they decided to sell her home and move to a new house together. When she refused to put his name on the deeds of the new property he attacked her and left her to die in the kitchen of their Rochdale home. Minshull Crown Court heard Pawluk tried several times to kill himself before walking into a police station two after days the killing and confessed. Pawluk has now been jailed for life with a minimum term of 16 years and eight months, after pleading guilty to murder.

Former Drumright nursing home administrator charged, accused of stealing $217,000 from elderly residents

A former nursing home administrator was charged with financial exploitation after she allegedly diverted nearly a quarter of a million dollars from elderly residents to support her gambling habit. Tina Lee Pearson, 57, was charged in Creek County late last week with one count of financial exploitation by a caretaker, stemming from a state investigation by the attorney general’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Pearson was arrested and bonded out of custody prior to a bond setting hearing, according to jail and online court records. Pearson is accused of withdrawing more than $217,750 in cash from at least 33 Drumright Nursing Home resident’s accounts between January 2012 and October 2015. “In terms of crimes, it’s among the worst. Instead of taking care of somebody, you’re taking advantage of them,” said Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter. “And for somebody to be living out their golden years, and having a comfort level of confidence the people there are taking good care of them, and then to discover that’s not happening, it’s pretty heartbreaking.”

Bookies warned to keep an eye out for terrorists laundering money through online wagers

Gambling websites have been warned to watch out for terrorists laundering money by placing wagers on football and ­racing. The Gambling Commission said even online bingo was open to abuse by extremist groups to fund activity. Terrorists could also be using forged or stolen ID documents to set up internet betting accounts to wash cash, according to the industry body’s alert. The official warning said the “customer not being physically present for ­identification purposes” meant there was a “higher” risk of laundering. It added “customers from high-risk jurisdictions” or those who appear on “international sanctions list” posed a threat. And the vast array of remote gambling firms can be used to set up multiple accounts, making it harder to track deposits and wagers.

Lynn Man Arrested in Multimillion-Dollar Lottery Scam

A Lynn man was arrested last week on tax fraud charges in connection with a “10-percenting” scheme, in which he purchased millions of dollars’ worth of winning Massachusetts state lottery tickets at a discount in order to help the ticket holders avoid taxes on the winnings. In addition, two store owners have pleaded guilty in connection with the scheme. The charging documents allege that from at least 2013 through 2015, Kinslieh and Patel, who were store owners, and others, purchased winning lottery tickets from the ticket holders for cash, at a discount to the value of the tickets, thereby allowing the ticket holders to avoid reporting the winnings on their tax returns – a scheme known as “10-percenting.” Kinslieh and Patel gave the winning tickets to Jones, who presented them to the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission as his own, and collected the full winnings. Jones reported the winnings on his tax returns, but offset them with purported gambling losses. Jones and the store owners then shared the excess winnings.

Gambling addict who murdered grandmother, 74, is jailed for life

A callous drug-fuelled gambling addict who murdered his doting grandmother by stabbing her more than 30 times after she gave him £250 to buy an engagement ring has been jailed for life. Gregory Irvin, 26, knifed charity worker Anne James, 74, in a ‘motiveless and brutal attack’ and slit her throat after she returned from a shopping trip.Mrs James, a retired nurse, had previously helped her grandson clear his £35,000 debts he had racked up through gambling and taking cocaine. On February 28 he drove to her house in Walsall, West Midlands, at 12pm to pick up the cash she had offered to give him to buy the engagement ring. CCTV captured him walking to her small cottage before leaving 15 minutes later. A concerned neighbor discovered her body at 6pm and called police. Irvin was arrested the following day after his bloody footprints were found in her hallway and kitchen. He had even attended the house with other grieving relatives saying he had spoken to her on the phone before she died.

Irvin, of Walsall Wood, West Midlands, was today jailed for life at Birmingham Crown Court and ordered to serve at least 24 years behind bars for the attack, which was described as ‘motiveless and brutal’ at his trial. Mrs Justice Nerys Jefford said: ‘This was a particularly callous and cruel attack which took the heart from your family. ‘Your reaction was cold and calculating as you went about covering your tracks and carried on as if nothing had happened.’This has had an unimaginable effect on your family who have had to listen to the horror of the injuries knowing it was done by one of their own. The murder was done for gain, motivated by design and intention to get money from Anne James.

Caregiver Spent $1.3M Taken From Elderly Man On Casinos

Tulsa police have arrested a man charged with exploiting an elderly man out of more than a million dollars. The victim was 88 years old and died after the investigation began. He’ll be laid to rest Saturday. Financial crimes detectives say this is a heartbreaking case, but unfortunately, it’s one they see all too often; when someone takes advantage of an elderly person. But, in this case, it was to the tune of more than a million dollars. “The sad part is, your golden years are supposed to be wonderful,” said Lee Warner, Simmons’ friend. Police said Jess Jones befriended the victim, moved into his home, and started spending his money. A family friend contacted adult protective services who called the police. The affidavit said Jones, who’s unemployed, bought a Porsche and 2 Mercedes, spent $644,000 on credit cards and made $486,000 in cash withdrawals over three years, took trips, and gambled at area casinos.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 12/10 – 12/16

Bossier City Casino Shooting Believed to Be Murder and Attempted Suicide

The shootings at the *Horseshoe Casino parking facility have taken an even stranger turn, according to details just released by the Bossier City Police Department. Just before 10:00 p.m. on Oct. 19, 2018, BCPD responded to the fifth level of the parking garage of the Horseshoe Casino where a shooting had occurred. “When officers arrived, they found two men with gunshot wounds,” Bossier City police public information officer Traci Landry said in a release. “Lewis Drew Reno, 48 years old, of Benton, was pronounced deceased at the scene. 58-year-old Jimmy Earl Hall, Sr., was transported by Bossier City Fire Department to Ochsner LSU Health hospital for treatment of a gunshot wound to the head.” Both men were employees at the casino, according to BCPD. “Detectives with the Violent Crimes Unit say evidence indicates that Hall shot Reno in the upper body before turning the gun on himself. Detectives obtained a warrant for Hall’s arrest on the charge of second degree murder,” Landry said. Hall will be charged on the warrant upon his release from the hospital.

Ex-executive gets prison term for embezzling nearly $14M

A former executive who embezzled nearly $14 million from a New York-based hospitality company has been sentenced to nearly four years in federal prison. George Dfouni received a 46-month sentence Friday. The 47-year-old Wayne, New Jersey man had pleaded guilty in January to wire fraud and tax evasion. Prosecutors didn’t identify the company where Dfouni served as chief operating officer. They say it owns and operates hotels in New York and New Jersey. From 2007 through September 2015, Dfouni negotiated multiple contracts with two other companies. Each contract included a signing bonus for Dfouni, who had the two companies send their payments directly to him in New Jersey. Dfouni skimmed some of the contract payments due his employer, taking about $13,807,034 overall. Prosecutors say he used the stolen funds to support his lavish lifestyle and gambling expenses.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Fines Casino $95,000 for Regulatory Violations 

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved fines today totaling $95,000 against the operator of SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia for table games violations. The fines were the result of Board approvals at its public meeting of consent agreements between the PGCB’s Office of Enforcement Counsel and Sugarhouse HSP Gaming, L.P. The first consent agreement approved by the Board resulted in a fine of $85,000 against Sugarhouse HSP Gaming, L.P. for seven incidents in which SugarHouse Casino personnel failed to properly address automated shuffler warnings at table games. These failures resulted in games being played with compromised decks. The second approved consent agreement carried a fine of $10,000 against Sugarhouse HSP Gaming, L.P. for the casino not being compliant with its Board-approved rules and guidelines for Spanish 21 blackjack that resulted in game play with compromised decks.

3 People Injured in Shopping Mall Stabbing at Foxwoods Resort Casino

Three people were reportedly stabbed on Saturday in a frightening incident at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut. Mashantucket Tribal Police confirmed the violent outburst. All three were taken to the hospital, though their injuries were identified as non-life threatening right away. Meanwhile, police took a 15-year-old suspect into custody. The Foxwoods Resort Casino is owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation of Connecticut. It is located on their reservation in Ledyard, Connecticut, meaning that it is up to the tribal authorities to handle an act of violence like this one. People on the scene posted grizzly photos from the stabbing. One showed apparent victims lying in a mall common area as EMTs tended to their wounds. Another showed blood splattered on the tile floor. “Don’t feel very safe at [Foxwoods],” one person wrote, “multiple stabbings at the outlets, security exceedingly slow to respond and failed to secure the area or clean up blood.”

Casino employee grabbed more than $58,000 from Seminole gambling facility, cops say 

After police found $58,500 in a car belonging to a Seminole Casino Coconut Creek employee, he was arrested and accused of stealing from the gambling establishment, police say. Former cash operations worker Christomy Christalin, 22, came to the attention of his employers when surveillance video showed him leaning into a kiosk that dispenses money to customers. The video did not show Christalin actually taking money out of the machine, but it later was found to be short $4,600, according to a Seminole police report. On Oct. 10, police watched Christalin on surveillance video recorded while he was at work and driving in a garage at the casino. He appeared to put an empty money bag in a cart used to bring cash to a kiosk and later was seen removing a bulging money bag that appeared full, the report said. Christalin went to a men’s room, and when he left the restroom, the money bag appeared to be empty. He went to his car and was seen on video moving what appeared to be stacks of money between the seats, police said. When detectives confronted Christalin, he denied stealing from the casino and told them he had $55,000 in his car that came from his gambling winnings. An audit of Christalin’s department found $58,500 was missing. After a search warrant was issued to police to search the car, they recovered the same amount, the report said.

Prison for gambling addict who stole $540K from friend who employed her

A 59-year-old southern Minnesota woman has been sentenced to more than two years in prison for stealing more than $500,000 from a close friend and onetime employer to feed her online gambling addiction. Theresa E. Linsmeier, of Fairfax, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in St. Paul after pleading guilty in June to wire fraud and filing a false tax return. After her 2¼ years of incarceration, she will spend three years on supervised release and must make full restitution for the money she stole. Linsmeier was the bookkeeper for the family owned Farm Mercantile hardware store from 1998 to 2016 and had authority to sign and issue checks for the store and for its owner, Kelly Albrecht. “Linsmeier abused the trust of her friend and employer,” read a presentencing court filing by prosecutors. “She stole not only from the business account but also from Kelly Albrecht’s personal bank account. She used the money to pay her credit card bills and to gamble online.” The embezzlement scheme “had a devastating impact” on the store and its owner, the filing continued. “The company struggled for years due to Linsmeier’s theft, so much so that Albrecht stopped receiving a salary and worked seven days a week to try and get this back on track.”

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

A Brief Look at Crime 12/03 – 12/09

MGM Springfield Reports “Underage Gambling Is An Issue” 

President and chief operations officer *Michael Mathis* spoke with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission <; and told them that the MGM Springfield is attracting around 50,000 people on weekends and that about 25,000 visitors show up on weekdays. The porous design which Mathis points to being one of the reasons that so many people are coming, could be leading to some problems such as minors gaining access to the gaming floor. He told the commission that the MGM Springfield has witnessed a number of underage visitors gaining access. Staff are doing their best to cope but Mathis claimed that parents are leaving their kids in other areas of the resort while they go to the casino. He said that this issue is creating problems for the new casino. Commission Chairman *Steven Crosby* conceded that the MGM followed the commission’s directions to add a number of non-gaming offerings to cater to a wider audience and this is indirectly contributing to the number of underage gamblers showing up. MGM Springfield stated that they would continue to follow the commission’s guidelines and leave it up to them to figure out a better solution to address this issue.

Dallas mayor pro tem pleads guilty to accepting bribes

Federal prosecutors say Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway accepted more than $450,000 in kickbacks and bribes, in part through gambling money, trips to Las Vegas and elsewhere, and a phony consulting agreement. Court documents filed Thursday show Caraway, the second highest-ranking. elected official in Dallas, has pleaded guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion. Federal prosecutors say Caraway accepted bribes in return for taking action to benefit a company that puts cameras on school buses. They say he received bribes through checks, which he cashed at liquor stores and pawn shops. U.S Attorney Erin Nealy Cox announced Thursday that Caraway has resigned from the city council. Caraway’s attorney, Michael Payma, says the court documents speak for themselves. He says Caraway must still be sentenced and declined to comment further.

2 men arrested, 300 roosters seized in illegal cockfighting operation in Port Orchard

Two men have been arrested and hundreds of roosters have been seized as agents busted an illegal cockfighting ring in Port Orchard. The owner would take bets ranging from $100 to $2,000, and then the birds would be put inside a pen to fight. The property owner would charge an entry fee and a fee to dispose of the dead birds. The referee would also get a 10% cut on the winnings. “The conditions that these animals were living in is not the type of conditions you would see on your normal family farm. The roosters were all tethered on a 4-5 foot leash connected to a barrel. Some of them had water. Some had run out. There was some feed. They were pretty much living in their own feces,” said Heather Songer, Washington State Gambling Commission. “Not only is animal fighting a brutal, bloody sport. It’s also illegal. And even just attending an event can land you in jail.” Agents went in during an event on Saturday and seized $35,000 in cash and over 300 roosters. Two men, ages 56 and 57, were arrested and booked into the Kitsap County Jail for investigation of gambling, animal fighting and leading organized crime. A third person was arrested for failing to provide his name to police. Police say more than two dozen other people were detained at the event with charges forwarded to the Kitsap County prosecutor for review as attending an illegal animal fighting event is a felony.

Florida Woman Pleads Guilty To Million Dollar Mail Fraud Scheme

A woman pleaded guilty Thursday to committing mail fraud in connection with a nearly $1.3 million scheme, U.S. Attorney Dayle Elieson for the District of Nevada. According to court documents, Luciano resided in Las Vegas in 2010 to 2011. During that time period, Luciano befriended a man she met at the church they both attended. In 2011, she relocated to Tampa and maintained communication with the man. Luciano fraudulently represented to him that she had a pending settlement award from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. She told him that she would share the settlement award with him if he provided her money to pay fees, interest, and other costs related to obtaining the settlement award. Her representations where false. In fact, after a brief period of service, Luciano was discharged from the U.S. Army in 1971. In July 2013, Luciano mailed the man a fake promissory note granting him an interest in the purported settlement award. The man used his position as a controller at a large real estate investment business to embezzle and steal approximately $1.3 million from the business and its investors. He mailed Luciano numerous envelopes and packages containing the stolen money. Luciano used the money for gambling and personal expenses.

Gambling Driven Million Dollar Woodlake Embezzler Sentenced 

A man accused of embezzling millions of dollars from the San Mateo Woodlake Condominium Association between 2007 and 2013 was sentenced to seven years state prison Friday and was ordered to split the restitution with his co-conspirator, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office. Michael Medeiros, 62, was ordered to split the $2.84 million in restitution with Susan Lambert, 67, for crimes they committed over the course of six years that directly affected residents of the homeowners’ association. Lambert had managed the association, which had a nearly $5 million annual budget, for more than a decade. A Woodlake resident previously said homeowners caught wind of the theft when a board member saw suspicious activity, including charges at various casinos, on a bank statement from a debit card Lambert had been issued. After Lambert was fired, the association uncovered a stack of nearly 150 false invoices for construction work that was never completed. Police and investigators determined she had been conspiring to defraud the homeowners between Feb. 8, 2007, and September 2013, according to prosecutors. Prosecutors said Lambert, who reportedly had a gambling problem, would make false invoices and write checks to Medeiros’ company Professional Painting, Inc. He would then allegedly cash the checks and the two would split the profits.

Online gambling scammer Fred Khalilian booted by Monster after “threats of mutilation, death” 

Online gambling scammer *Fred Khalilian* has been booted from *Monster Technology Group* less than a year after selling the company his worthless gambling technology. The release went on to say that Khalilian was the subject of a temporary restraining order issued in California’s Superior Court “for the protection of numerous employees of Monster against threats of mutilation, death, and threats to family.” Furthermore, Monster has filed reports with the South San Francisco Police Department and other law enforcement agencies, “including the FBI,” concerning “allegations of fraud, theft and conspiracy.” Accompanying Khalilian on his way down Monster’s shame chute was “the team he brought into the company to do a hostile takeover.”

The linked articles detail Khalilian’s ‘colorful’ history, including a handful of assault charges, his $4.2m settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission to resolve a deceptive telemarketing case, and Khalilian’s ongoing cons of would-be tribal gaming operators involving hyping in-development online gambling sites that never actually develop into a going concern. Last October, Monster raised eyebrows by announcing that a subsidiary had struck a deal to acquire the online gaming software assets (such as they were) of Khalilian’s *Universal Entertainment Group* (UEG), with the plan to use said assets to launch on behalf of the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma. PokerTribe was the second incarnation of Khalilian’s efforts to pull a fast one on unsuspecting tribal groups. Khalilian collected $9.5m from his original Oklahoma tribal partner before new tribal leadership pulled the plug on the site ( – plural) which never actually opened for business. This led to lawsuits and a probe by the National Indian Gaming Commission.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 11/26 – 12/02

Rivers Casino accused of illegally recording customers’ text messages and emails

Rivers Casino is being sued by two customers who say the casino illegally recorded their text messages, emails and financial information. Security cameras are everywhere at the Rivers Casino. But the lawsuits say the unnamed casino employees went too far when they zoomed in tight on the cellphones belonging to Hayley Clerici and Julie Capone. In her complaint, Clerici says the casino recorded her “private text messages, email communications and personal financial information.” The suit says Clerici expected “lawful surveillance” at the casino but “had no basis to expect that surveillance would extend to close-up viewing and recording of her cellphone.” Her lawsuit alleges the casino violated the state wiretap law. The lawsuits say the recordings were turned over to Allegheny County police Sgt. Scott Scherer and his attorney, Dennis McCurdy, to be used as part of Scherer’s custody case against Clerici. A spokesman for the state Gaming Control Board had no comment on the lawsuit but said it is being reviewed by the board’s investigators. Some casino patrons said they were shocked to hear of the allegations in the lawsuit. “My text messages and my emails are my personal business. It has nothing to do with the casino, and I don’t really feel they have a right to record that,” said customer Aubrey Cathcart, of Bellevue.

Dog rescue treasurer accused of $120K theft 

Cape Girardeau resident Elizabeth Hann, 40, is wanted on two counts of felony stealing after allegedly embezzling more than $120,000 from Mac’s Mission not-for-profit group between November 2016 and September 2017, according to a news release from the Cape Girardeau Police Department. According to the probable cause statement, Hann is accused of conducting 89 unauthorized withdrawals, totaling approximately $121,000, from Mac’s Mission Charity Foundation’s bank account between Nov. 9, 2016, and Sept. 23, 2017. According to the statement, Hann’s fellow charity workers stated Hann regularly attended both the Isle of Capri Casino in Cape Girardeau and the Hollywood Casino in St. Charles, Missouri.That the theft occurred was a betrayal, Steffen said. “She was like a sister to me,” she said of Hann. “I had so much trust in her.” Mac’s Mission is a grassroots, donation-based mission aimed at helping special-needs animals — mostly dogs, she said, but they’ve helped other animals too, including rabbits and even chickens. That means expenses, Steffen said. Animals with cleft palates need to be tube-fed. Animals hit by cars or rescued from a hoarding situation need surgery and other veterinary care. Some cases require specialists, meaning trips to St. Louis and the veterinary school at the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Former city employee arrested for stealing more than $148k from Clearwater Parks and Rec Department

A former city of Clearwater employee was arrested after police say he stole more than $148,000 from the Parks and Recreation Department. Robert Carpenter, 58, is accused of taking cash payments from a concessionaire at Eddie C. Moore Complex and from a soccer league that rented fields at Joe DiMaggio Sports Complex, in addition to cash thefts from two other sources or events. He was an employee of more than 20 years and a supervisor assigned to the athletics area of Parks and Recreation. Slaughter says his investigators believe at least some of the stolen money was used to fuel a gambling addiction. Carpenter took cash from vendors and teams who rented out the concession and field space, and often times, did not provide receipts for the transactions. Over time, those small amounts added up to more than $148,000, according to police.

Former conservation district administrator sentenced to federal prison for stealing grant funds

The former administrator of the Calhoun Conservation District was sentenced Monday to more than three years in federal prison. Tracy Bronson, 57, of Marshall, was sentenced in federal District Court in Kalamazoo by Judge Paul Maloney to 37 months in prison and three years supervised release. She also was ordered to repay $573,159.20 to the conservation district and its insurance carrier. Bronson will be ordered to report to a federal prison in the next few weeks. Her attorney, J. Thomas Schaeffer said his client has a gambling addiction and used the stolen money at Firekeepers Casino in Emmett Township. “It is not an excuse but an explanation about why she did it,” Schaeffer told the Enquirer. “It is an addiction. She is a victim of the casino addiction. Addictions are addictions whether it is alcohol or pornography or gambling. They all fall into the same category and addictions are hard to deal with. U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge said in a statement that, “Bronson stole not only from her loyal employer, but from the Calhoun County community and taxpayers. As a result of her selfish breach of trust, CCD has struggled to pay its bills and fulfill its important mission for future generations. Combating financial fraud such as this serious embezzlement – particularly when it involves taxpayer money and vulnerable victims – remains a priority of federal law enforcement.”

Pittsburgh Firm’s Office Manager, Partner’s Son, Sentenced for Embezzlement 

The former office manager of a Pittsburgh bankruptcy boutique who is the son of one of the name partners has been sentenced to 21 months in jail for stealing over $800,000 from the firm. According to a federal indictment, Anthony Calaiaro used his access to write a total of $827,020 worth of checks, payable to himself, from June 2014 to April 2016, out of the law firm’s business account. The checks included false descriptions such as “expense reimbursement,” “collection distribution” and “bonus,” the indictment said. In addition to jail time, he was also sentenced on Aug. 1 to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $827,020 in restitution. “The money he unlawfully took in this case was used to support his drug addiction and a gambling problem,” the sentencing memo said.

President of Philadelphia-Area School Auxiliary Employees Union Charged with Theft

For more than a half-dozen years, Rose Marie Lyons stole dues to cover her gambling losses. Union members are wondering how nobody could have noticed. On February 13, Lyons, former president and secretary of the William Penn Education Support Personnel Association (WPESPA), surrendered to authorities in Delaware County, Pa., where she was charged in county district court with embezzling more than $200,000 in cash and checks from the Lansdowne union. The WPESPA represents about 90 auxiliary employees of the William Penn School District, one of whom was an administrative assistant, Rose Marie Lyons. Now 52, Lyons, a resident of Wilmington, Del., during her years as union head, saw its coffers as cover for her gambling losses. According to charging documents, during July 2009-December 2015 she made 448 unauthorized withdrawals through a variety of means totaling $210,592.91 from the union bank account.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 11/19 – 11/25

Chinese mother kills herself and her two children because she believed her husband was dead – only for it to emerge he is alive and FAKED accident for an insurance payout

A grieving Chinese woman has killed herself and her two young children after her husband faked his death in an attempt to claim insurance payout – but without her knowledge. Ms Dai, 31, apparently jumped into a pond bringing her four-year-old son and three-year-old daughter last Thursday in Xinhua County, south China’s Hunan Province, according to state-run Xinhua News Agency. Ms Dai’s husband, 34-year-old Mr He, had also hoped that his fake death could help him dodge his debts from internet gambling which amounted to more than 100,000 yuan (£11,000), according to Xinhua County police. Mr He bought a personal accident insurance worth one million yuan (£100,000) on September 7 without telling his wife, the police said in a statement on its official social media account. During the wee hours of September 19, Mr He used a borrowed car to fake his death. He produced a crash scene, which looked like he had accidentally driven the car into a river and died.

Northeast Ohio woman accused of stealing over $600,000 from elderly, disabled people

A northeast Ohio woman is accused of scamming elderly and disabled people while serving as their caregiver, allegedly stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of benefits, finances and even loans that she helped patients take out. Dotson reportedly used the stolen funds on gambling, entertainment and luxury purchases. According to the indictment, Dotson accessed financial accounts of an elderly man with disabilities and stole $633,736 by writing checks, using electronic payments and transfers, changing beneficiary designations and making ACH direct deposits. She allegedly issued duplicate paychecks to herself in amounts that exceed the “home health aid industry standards for earnings and supplies needed for care of victim.”

Little Egg Harbor couple sentenced for stealing Sandy funds

A couple from Little Egg Harbor was sentenced Friday for their roles in stealing $1.4 million from people whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Sandy, authorities said. Jeffrey Colmyer, 43, and his wife, Tiffany Cimino, 35, of Little Egg Harbor, diverted money paid by victims with Sandy relief funds to have their homes rebuilt and instead used it on luxury items and for gambling, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said in a statement. Colmyer was sentenced to seven years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Guy P. Ryan in Ocean County. Cimino was sentenced to five years of probation. The defendants must pay $695,402 in restitution to the victims and $655,243 to the state as restitution for the stolen Sandy relief funds. In addition, Colmyer must pay $56,472 to the state for back taxes, and Cimino must pay $56,332.

Ottawa man gets 6 years for embezzling from La Salle company

An Ottawa man is headed to prison for 6 years for embezzling as much as $1.8 million from his former La Salle employer to support a gambling habit. When offered a chance to speak at his Friday sentencing, Marshall Martyn acknowledged an addiction that he didn’t confront until well after he’d taken an irreplaceable sum from Pipe Vision, CIPP and Fast Pipe, where he had managed the books until his dismissal in early 2017. “I know what I did was wrong and I accept responsibility,” Martyn told Chief Judge H. Chris Ryan Jr. He added later, “Gambling is an addiction. It was much bigger than me and I was too weak to handle it.” Ryan was only partially persuaded, however. The judge rejected the 10-year sentencing recommendation prosecutors had agreed to after Martyn pleaded guilty on Aug. 17; but Martyn and his lawyer were unable to secure a prison term near the 4-year minimum. Martyn was charged a year ago with felony theft (more than $500,000 but less than $1 million) over a five-year period when the ran the companies’ books. The company, however, immediately disputed the amount taken and alleged Martyn embezzled $1.8 million.

Canada’s casinos used by criminal gangs, wealthy Chinese to launder over US$75 million

The briefing took place just a few days after David Eby began his new job as British Columbia’s attorney general – and it began with a warning. “Get ready,” Eby remembers being told by casino regulators in the western Canadian province. “I think we are going to blow your mind.” What they showed him was footage of individuals wheeling suitcase stuffed with C$20 (US$15) bills into casinos. Others used hockey bags to haul the cash. Surveillance videos then showed the individuals trading in the cash for casino chips.

It was Eby’s first glimpse of what some in the global intelligence community had taken to calling the Vancouver model – a scheme in which some of the province’s casinos were unwittingly used to launder more than C$100 million during the past decade. “We are famous internationally – or, more accurately, we have become infamous – for money laundering,” Eby told a federal parliamentary committee earlier this year. “It’s just mind boggling,” Eby says in an interview. “The sheer volume and the size of these transactions on a regular basis in casinos is just astounding.”

Former Indiana CU Assistant Manager Sentenced for Bank Fraud

Paula Awe, a former assistant manager of an Indiana credit union who ran a check-kiting scheme along with her manager, was sentenced last week to 18 months in prison. U.S. District Court Judge Jon E. DeGulio in Hammond, Ind., also ordered Awe to pay $180,000 restitution and to serve two years of supervised release following her prison sentence. Awe and her manager, Sandra Santay, of the Lakeside Federal Credit Union in Hammond, had each been operating two independent check-kiting schemes that fraudulently inflated their respective share accounts over three years, according to court documents. The scheme was detected by a routine NCUA examination. Santay, who managed the credit union for 37 years, was sentenced in May to 27 months in prison and was ordered to pay restitution of $491,169. Santay spent the credit union’s funds on her gambling addiction. Awe used the credit union’s funds to pay personal expenses. 

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



A Brief Look at Crime 11/12 – 11/18

‘Cocaine-using gambling addict’, 26, ‘stabbed his own grandmother 30 TIMES over gambling debt

A cocaine user stabbed his grandmother 30 times after building up a £35,000 gambling debt, a court has heard. Gregory Irvin is alleged to have murdered 74-year-old Anne James, who was making soup and unpacking after a shopping trip, during a 15-minute visit to her home on February 28 this year. The killer wasn’t a stranger to her – it wasn’t a burglar. On the contrary, the killer was somebody she trusted implicitly and who had always been welcomed into their home throughout his life – it was her own grandson, the defendant, Gregory Irvin.’ The prosecutor added:: ‘The defendant was a person who regularly requested money from other people – from his partner, and his parents and his grandmother. ‘In the past he had racked up very large debts in the region of £35,000 because he had a gambling problem.’ Ms Brand said the prosecution could not say whether the defendant’s gambling problems ‘were all in the past’ but it was known that he had arranged to pay the debt off in installments under an IVA. Money had previously gone missing from Mrs James’s house, the court heard.

Nurse with gambling problem gets prison, must pay back $460,000 

A registered nurse whose gambling habit led to her stealing six figures from her employers has resulted in a prison sentence. Peridore had provided services to [an] injured woman for about 11 years, but the woman’s family fired her in the spring of 2012. Peridore neglected to report this to her employers and continued billing them for services she was not, in fact, providing, police allege. Police interviewed Julie Salter, the president and CEO of Mid-Valley Interim Healthcare, who said she had hired Peridore in 1996 or 1997. She believed Peridore had been providing weekend nursing services to the injured woman until learning otherwise in February 2017, when Peridore emailed her and confessed to having submitted bogus invoices. Salter said she fired Peridore, who told her she had been motivated by a gambling problem, court records show. “I needed the money,” Peridore told police, according to their reports. “I had an issue with going to the casino and spent way more money than I should have.”

UKGC penalises Rank £500,000 for problem gambling protection failures

The Rank Group has been ordered to pay a £500,000 financial penalty by the UK Gambling Commission, after failings allowed a customer to lose in excess of £1m, that had been credited to his account, in one 24-hour period. Relating to gambling at the organisation’s land-based Grosvenor Casino, in addition to online at website, an investigation by the UKGC found weaknesses in the responsibility controls of both.

Further failures highlight that Rank failed to interact with the customer who was displaying problematic behaviour, contacted him during a self-exclusion period and did not follow rules for the provision of credit. Richard Watson, Gambling Commission executive director, said: “We expect all operators to protect any consumer who may be experiencing problems with their gambling, and operators shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking that VIP customers don’t experience difficulties. “No matter how wealthy customers are, operators still need to monitor them effectively to ensure they aren’t showing signs of problem gambling. It is certainly not appropriate to visit customers during a period when they are self-excluded.”

Post Office worker stole more than $600k in stamps to fund gambling

An United States Postal Service manager allegedly stole $630,000 in stamps from a Louisiana post office, sold them online and used the proceeds to fund large casino expenses, according to federal charges announced Wednesday. Strasser’s release said the alleged crime was “one of the largest internal Postal (thefts) by a Postal Service employee in the history of the U.S. Postal Service.” Authorities began investigating Cortez after PayPal and eBay notified Postal agents that Cortez had been selling “significant quantities” of stamps online, the release said. Even though Cortez’ salary was around $70,000, investigators found he had lost more than $650,000 at a casino since 2011, according to the United States Attorney’s office. The release says Cortez lost more than $220,000 at the casino in 2017. Cortez is also accused of embezzling thousands of dollars from a local Mennonite church. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted, a release says.

Plea deal made in Missouri City businessman’s death at gambling operation

A man accused of shooting and killing aMissouri City during a 2014 aggravated robbery attempt pleaded guilty Wednesday to murder , among other charges. Investigators said that on the night of July 17, 2014, two men wearing masks and carrying assault-type rifles shot and killedDonald Leonetti wounded another man at 12800 Trinity Drive in Stafford. There, investigators found an underground gambling operation. “They’re saying a high-stakes gambling (event) was going on here at this location,” a Stafford officer said at the time of the incident, adding that the men stormed the office, demanding wallets and cash off the poker table. Police believed at the time that it may have been an inside job by someone with knowledge of the time and place the game was played.

Ex-sheriff’s officer pleads guilty to wire fraud after taking more than $180k from police organization

A former Porter County sheriff’s officer pleaded guilty Thursday to embezzling more than $180,000 from a police organization. “So, how’d you do this?” Judge Philip Simon asked. Lawrence LaFlower, 42, of Valparaiso, told the federal judge that he took the money from a Fraternal Order of Police account by writing checks to himself or with a checking withdrawal slip at the bank. “Nothing fancy here. Just literally withdrawing the money?” Simon asked. “Correct,” LaFlower said.Between April 2013 and April of this year, LaFlower said he was the treasurer for the Fraternal Order of Police Ewalt Jahnz Lodge No.165 in Valparaiso. LaFlower was also a lieutenant and public information officer with the sheriff’s office. He resigned in May. During his time as FOP treasurer, LaFlower took money from the FOP’s accounts and gave it to himself, he said. “We believe this is due to a gambling issue that the defendant had,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Abizer Zanzi said.

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A Brief Look at Crime 11/05 – 11/11

Alleged Bonanno Mob Associate and Joker Poker Machine Supplier Shot Dead at McDonald’s Drive-Thru 

Sylvester Zottola, a reputed mob associate of the Bonanno family in New York who operated Joker Poker gambling machines for the criminal enterprise, was shot dead this week at a McDonald’s drive-thru in the Bronx. Zottola, 71 at the time of his murder, facilitated the Joker Poker terminals along with his adult son in the 1990s and 2000s, according to court reports. Thursday evening’s shooting is the latest in a series of hits on Sylvester and his 41-year-old son Salvatore. Joker Poker, also known as Kings or Better and Joker’s Wild, is a variety of video poker where a single joker is introduced and a gambler’s hand must consist of a pair of kings or better to win. The mob and gambling have a long and well-documented relationship. In the 1930s and 40s, numerous businessmen with ties to the mob were responsible for pinpointing what was then a largely vacant Nevada desert to begin building the gambling mecca that would become Las Vegas as it’s known today.

SA executive who spent stolen money on male prostitutes, gambling headed to prison 

A San Antonio business executive who embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from his employer was sentenced to six years in prison Wednesday as part of a plea deal with Bexar County prosecutors. Victim impact letters entered as evidence in the case confirm that Martinez, who worked as the controller of the Southern Folger Detention Equipment Company from January 2012 to May 2014, used money acquired from stealing checks and creating fake invoices to pay for lavish trips to Las Vegas, gambling and to hire male prostitutes. Halloran said he was forced to eliminate more than 10 positions through two rounds of layoffs and had to temporarily suspend the company’s profit-sharing program.

Man faces federal charges in sexual assault at Laughlin resort

An Arizona man is facing federal charges in connection with the sexual assault of a woman at a Laughlin resort, the Department of Justice announced Thursday. Richard Anthony Hernandez, 23, is charged with one count of assault resulting in serious bodily injury and one count of aggravated sexual abuse. He was ordered held without bail Thursday after a hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Carl W. Hoffman. Prosecutors said Hernandez and a woman, who is a member of the Colorado River Indian Tribes, entered a room at Avi Resort & Casino in Laughlin on Monday. He is accused of repeatedly striking her in the face and body, and sexually assaulting her in the room, according to a Justice Department news release. Officers from the Fort Mohave Tribal Police Department found the hotel room in disarray, with blood spatter on the walls and near the door, along with blood on the beds, the release stated. Hernandez faces life in prison if convicted.

Ex-hedge fund manager gets 8 years in prison for $22M scam 

A former hedge fund manager has been sentenced in New York to eight years in prison after cheating 45 investors of over $22 million. Michael Scronic was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel in White Plains. The 46-year-old Scronic also was ordered to pay $22 million to his victims. He pleaded guilty in March, admitting he defrauded the investors over a seven-year period. Prosecutors said he stole about a half million dollars annually to fund his luxurious lifestyle. Prosecutors say Scronic claimed that his hedge fund, run from his Pound Ridge, New York home, had a positive investment return when it lost money in every quarter but one. His lawyers had sought a sentence of no more than three years, blaming Scronic’s crime on a compulsive gambling problem.

Pennsylvania Man Allegedly Stole $374,000 From Employer and Spent It on Strippers, Hockey and Gambling 

A Pennsylvania man who worked at a trucking company has been caught allegedly funneling client payments into his own account. 29-year-old James R. Perry allegedly stole nearly $400,000 from his workplace between April 2015 and when he was caught in July 2018. Perry’s role was as director of credit and billing at R&R Express. Authorities allege he stole the money by using a computer program that would redirect payments into his own account. The customer’s bill would be considered a bad debt and the company would simply write it off and take the financial hit. The alleged scheme was eventually uncovered by coworkers who logged in to Perry’s account one day when he was off work. A warrant was issued to search his computer and seize his financial records. According to WPXI News, the bulk of the money has already been spent on adult entertainment (strip clubs), casino gambling, jewelry and Pittsburgh Pirates and Penguins hockey tickets. In total, he was accused of stealing $374,000 from the company.

3 tennis chair umpires banned for life for match-fixing, gambling 

Three chair umpires from Thailand have been banned for life from tennis after being found guilty of match-fixing and betting offenses. The Tennis Integrity Unit announced the sanctions Monday against Anucha Tongplew, Apisit Promchai and Chitchai Srililai, who were accused of betting on matches and manipulating scores in the official scoring system at ITF Futures tournaments in 2017. In a statement, the integrity unit said all three umpires admitted the breaches. The case was adjudicated by independent anti-corruption hearing officer Charles Hollander. The TIU says “the lifetime bans apply with immediate effect and prohibit each individual from ever officiating at, or attending, any sanctioned events organized or recognized by the governing bodies of the sport.” The TIU is an initiative of the Grand Slam Board, the International Tennis Federation, the ATP and the WTA.

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