Category Archives: Crime

A Brief Look at Crime 06/18 – 06/24

Jail for accounts administrator who stole over €150k from employers to fund gambling addiction

An accounts administrator who stole over €150,000 from his employers to fund his gambling addiction has been sentenced to two years in prison. Passing sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today, Judge Martin Nolan said Luong had committed a “huge error of judgement and obviously, a huge breach of trust” in stealing from his company. “He had a pernicious gambling addiction and used his knowledge to take the company’s money. This money was lost by reason of his gambling and he’s in no position to repay it,” said the judge. The court heard that Luong altered these documents and substituted his own IBAN details instead of the company’s so that monies were transferred into his bank account. The sums of money stolen ranged from €3,000 to €35,000, with the total amount taken totalling €156,497. Gda Keane said the head of the company became aware that funds were being diverted to Luong’s account and suspended him pending a full investigation. He was later fired after Price Waterhouse Coopers identified eight occasions when he had diverted monies into his account.

Woman arrested in connection with illegal gambling at maquinita 

A woman has been arrested for her alleged connection to illegal gambling at a maquinita. Police said the illegal gambling investigation led to simultaneous raids in Laredo, Zapata and Falcon Heights in January. Leticia Cantu de Calzada, 59, was served with an arrest warrant charging her with gambling promotion and engaging in organized criminal activity. Authorities said they seized $1.9 million in connection with the raids. This included $1.5 million found at a home in Zapata owned by Diana Hilda Guerra Villarreal, 69, who is the suspected head of the Villarreal criminal organization, officials said. Guerra Villarreal was arrested back in January. She was charged with money laundering. Her daughter, Rebecca Lopez Villarreal, was also arrested and charged with gambling promotion, keeping a gambling place and engaging in organized criminal activity. “This case has … yielded one of the largest, if not the largest, cash seizure in Zapata,” said District Attorney Isidro R. “Chilo” Alaniz at the time.

Fatal Dog Fights on the Rise

Lured by gambling profits and machismo, more than 40,000 people across the nation attend staged animal fighting events, which often result in an animal’s death. The beast of choice remains the pit bull, favored by trainers for its loyalty, “gameness” and willingness to continue fighting through extreme pain and exhaustion. Pit bulls have been bred for more than a century to propagate genes favored in fights, and are thrown in the ring most often. Breeds such as akitas, rottweilers, and German shepherds also are used.

The attraction crosses across all ethnic lines, sometimes even bringing together members of Aryan, black and Latino gangs to organize a fight card, one detective said. “It is something we’ve seen in practically every state,” said Lockwood, who has a doctorate in animal behavior. Chris Sanford, a narcotics detective in the small Northern California town of Galt , says he learned a lot about the dog-fighting underworld in 1998 when he received a tip about an upcoming fight that led to the several arrests, as well as the confiscation of 60 dogs, drugs and illegal weapons. It was one of the biggest operations in the Western United States. He says tougher laws against dog fights — which had normally been left in the venue of animal control officers — have become a useful tool to catch criminals who are also active in drug trafficking, illegal gambling and other crimes.

Father-and-son from Sheffield plead with gambling bosses to stop more families being ‘destroyed’

A gambling addict from Sheffield whose habit landed him behind bars has written to gambling chiefs demanding action to prevent more families from being ‘destroyed’. David Bradford, from Waterthorpe, racked up more than £500,000 in debts and was jailed for two years after stealing over £50,000 from his employer. The 61-year-old and his son Adam have issued an emotional plea to industry bosses to better promote responsible gambling and safeguard others from addiction and its ‘ruinous’ impact.

In an open letter, written ahead of a government announcement expected this week about the outcome of a review into gambling legislation, they say there are almost half a million gambling addicts in the UK and many more people who are unaware of their addiction. “This is half a million communities wrecked, families destroyed and lives ruined,” the letter states. “There is a lot of work to do to clean up the act in the gambling industry. My father hid his addiction for years and got himself into a financial hole because of it, eventually stealing money and bankrupting our family, jeopardising our home and serving a prison sentence. “We are left with a bleak future because of an addiction which he had no support for and which none of your companies ever spotted. “No family wants to lose their father to prison and nobody wants to lose anybody to gambling. This week do not take the Government’s legislation lightly. There is a lot more to be done and you can lead the way.”

Ex-Hopi school superintendent gets 2 years for million-dollar embezzlement 

A former superintendent who embezzled nearly $1 million from a Hopi school is going to prison. A federal judge sentenced 45-year-old Thane Epefanio in Phoenix this week to two years as part of a guilty plea to money laundering and wire fraud. The Avondale man was the superintendent and administrator of the Hopi Mission School on the Hopi reservation in Kykotsmovi. According to prosecutors, Epefanio used his position to embezzle school funds beginning in 2012. He manipulated the staff to provide him money but made it look like the funds were being used for school operations. They say Epefanio was siphoning money for a gambling habit and personal expenses.

Caregiver charged in elderly woman’s death embezzled $100K 

A Westport woman is facing serious charges that she caused a woman’s death by way of neglect and stole $100,000 from her in the process. Fairhurst, 80, was hospitalized on Jan. 16, 2017, and died there nine days later. Her weight had dropped 50 pounds in the last months of her life, Quinn’s office said, and it was determined that malnutrition and bed sores contributed to her death. Medeiros was Fairhurst’s longtime friend, caregiver and health care proxy, and she also had power of attorney over Fairhurst’s finances, Quinn’s office said. Prosecutors allege she failed to provide adequate medical attention to Fairhurst, as it appeared she had not received professional medical care in the 18 months prior to her death. Prosecutors also allege that in November 2013 Medeiros withdrew approximately $100,000 from Fairhurst’s checking account with one bank and deposited it into Fairhurst’s savings account at another bank. Then, she allegedly withdrew $104,186.89 from that account and closed it, before transferring the money to her son and his wife, Clifford and Kristin Medeiros. Court documents obtained by Eyewitness News revealed he has a criminal history of “violence, guns” and a background of “drug addiction and gambling addiction.”

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

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A Brief Look at Crime 06/11 – 06/17

Grandmother wanted in 2 murders arrested after weeks-long manhunt

A woman suspected of killing her husband in Minnesota, then fleeing to Florida and killing a woman who resembled her in order to assume a new identity, was captured Thursday night at a South Texas resort. Two federal deputy marshals arrested Lois Riess, 56, about 8:30 p.m. at a South Padre Island, Texas, restaurant, the U.S. Marshals Service said in a statement. South Padre Island is a beach resort community 27 miles from the crossing into Mexico. She had been seen on March 23 at a convenience store and casino in northern Iowa. Authorities released video showing Riess approaching the store cashier, buying a sandwich and asking for directions south of the state. The store is next to a casino where authorities say Riess spent the day gambling before stopping at the gas station.

Deadly-double shooting sparked by argument over gambling

Atlanta Police are trying to determine the connection between two victims in a deadly double-shooting. They said an argument over gambling led to the gun violence Saturday night in northeast Atlanta. Detectives interviewed several witnesses at the scene on Parkway Drive after gunfire erupted around 9 p.m. “They informed us there was some sort of argument that happened amongst several parties out here,” said Atlanta Police Captain Reginald Moorman. Captain Moorman told *Channel 2 Action News* officers first on the scene found a man lying on the sidewalk outside of an apartment complex. “Once they arrived on the scene, they found a male that was deceased,” he said. A number of people gathered around the crime scene, as detectives investigated. “We do know there was a dispute here over gambling, and that one person ended up dead after that argument,” said the police captain.

Officer fatally shoots man who tried to disarm him during scuffle after chase from casino

A man died after being shot during a struggle with a Shreveport police officer. It was reported at 5:43 p.m. Sunday on Clyde Fant Memorial Parkway in downtown Shreveport, Caddo 911 dispatch records show. Preliminary investigation indicates that the man, who had been barred from El Dorado Casino, was chased from the casino to the city’s Red River District. That’s where the man and officer got into a scuffle outside Proud Mary’s and the man was shot while trying to disarm the on-duty officer, authorities said. The officer suffered minor injuries.

Nurse charged with defrauding employer of $350,000

A Bangor Township registered nurse is accused of stealing a six-figure sum over a five-year period, all to pay for a gambling habit, police are alleging. Back on Aug. 9, 2017, an investigator with the National Insurance Crime Bureau contacted the Michigan State Police to report he was looking into a possible insurance fraud scheme regarding Peridore. Investigators determined Peridore, a registered nurse, was a contract employee with Mid-Valley Interim Healthcare and was supposed to provide nursing services to an area woman who had been severely injured in a 1992 traffic crash. Peridore had provided services to the 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. This continued until February 2017, when a National General Insurance Company investigator discovered it, court records show. Between June 2012 and February 2017, Peridore had fraudulently obtained $356,809.70, court records state.

Two men fatally shot in north Houston warehouse

Two men were fatally shot in north Houston Monday morning after an attempted robbery in a warehouse that appeared to be housing an illegal gambling operation, Houston police said. Just a minute before the robbery and shooting, three men in masks robbed another man outside the warehouse, Turner said. It is unclear whether that robbery and the shooting are connected. A woman who identified herself as the sister of one of the dead men said she heard the men were shooting dice. The woman said she had no idea her brother, Ezavian Stanley, gambled, if he did. She said she was also “very surprised” he was caught up in anything like illegal gambling and that his shooting came “out of nowhere.”

Woman who embezzled from trucking company sentenced to jail, gambling counseling

A 55-year-old woman who police say embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Kentwood trucking company has been sentenced to six months in jail. May Beth Knapp also was ordered to complete six months of home arrest following her jail time, five years of probation, 200 hours of community service and go to counseling for gambling problems. Knapp was operations manager for D & M Logistics and responsible for loading Comdata cards for drivers. they would then use them at truck stops to purchase fuel. Police said Knapp loaded the cards andbrought them to local truck stops where she had them cashed weekly throughout 2014, 2015 and 2016, according to a police affidavit. In an initial police affidavit, she was accused of fraudulently obtaining more than $500,000.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 06/04 – 06/10

2 targeted in deadly shooting at Vegas casino picnic 

Police were searching Monday for a man accused of opening fire on a picnic for a group of employees of a Las Vegas Strip casino-resort, killing a woman and critically injuring a man this weekend in what investigators called workplace violence. Authorities say Anthony Wrobel walked up to a table in the gazebo area of a park Sunday evening and shot an executive and a fellow employee of The Venetian at close range. Police said Wrobel, 42, has been described as a disgruntled employee of the casino-resort, where he has worked for 14 years.

Ex-Detroit Union Leader Charged with Stealing over $600,000 to Gamble at Casinos

man who was a union leader in Detroit has been charged with embezzling more than $600,000. Mervin Hawk appeared in federal court Monday and asked for a court-appointed lawyer. Federal investigators say he diverted union dues from AFSCME Local 1640 into secret bank accounts or his own personal account over a two-year period. Hawk was president of Local 1640 from 2013 through 2015. AFSCME stands for American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The government says Hawk withdrew large sums of money from ATMs at Motor City Casino.

Hard Rock Casino in Sioux City pays penalty for underage gambling violation 

The Hard Rock Casino in Sioux City agreed to a penalty today from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission for allowing minor to gamble. Racing and Gaming administrator, Brian Ohorilko, says it happened in November. “She was on the floor for 56 minutes and had gambled at two different slot machines. The facility did notice her after she had been on the floor — approached her requested identification — and she refused and exited the casino quickly. It was determined later that she was indeed underage,” Ohorilko says. He says the situation met all the three criteria to be considered a violation of underage gambling. He says the past precedent is for an administrative penalty of $20,000s and the Hard Rock agreed to pay that penalty. He says the penalty was based on the past history of the casino.

Woman pleads guilty to embezzling $266K from cancer charity

A woman pleaded guilty in Gulfport Monday (April 16) to embezzling $266,598 from a Mississippi Gulf Coast non-profit that provides wigs and prostheses to cancer patients, the Biloxi Sun-Herald reported. Melinda Rosetti-Spence, 53, made her tearful plea in Harrison County Circuit Court before Circuit Judge Lisa Dodson, saying she had a gambling problem, the newspaper reported. Rosetti-Spence is free on a $50,000 bond pending her July 2 sentencing. The state of Mississippi is recommending a 20-year prison term, with 10 suspended, plus restitution. In court Monday, Rosetti-Spence admitted that between March 2015 and July 2016, she stole donations and wrote checks to herself from the Pink Heart Funds, the Sun-Herald reported. Rosetti-Spence was the volunteer treasurer and event planner for the group, based in Long Beach.

Nonprofit Group’s Former Leader Sentenced for $300,000 Embezzlement

The former executive director of a nonprofit childcare and community program who embezzled more than $300,000 from the organization has been sentenced to more than three years in federal prison. Kiburi Tucker had pleaded guilty to wire fraud and four counts of tax evasion. He will have to pay $133,624 in restitution to the IRS and forfeit $334,116 under the sentence imposed Wednesday. The 43-year-old Newark man led The Centre, a now-defunct Newark-based nonprofit. Prosecutors say he took $332,116 from the group between 2012 and 2015, using it to pay for gambling expenses, travel and to furnish his home. Prosecutors say Tucker filed false personal income tax returns in which he under-reported the money he embezzled and income from his partnership in Elite Strategies, a political fundraising and consulting firm.

Former Rogersville water superintendent indicted for theft over $250K and theft over $60K

On Wednesday morning, Hatchett was arrested on a Hawkins County grand jury sealed indictment warrant on one count of theft over $250,000, one count of theft over $60,000, and one count of official misconduct. Hatchett, 49, 109 Sycamore St., Rogersville, was suspended from his position as city water superintendent shortly after informing the water commission he had lost $69,444 in cash receipts that he was supposed to have deposited in the bank the week of July 10, 2017. Multiple sources in law enforcement confirmed for the Times News that Hatchett apparently had a gambling problem and spent a great deal of time at the casino in Cherokee, N.C. Players at that casino keep their “bank” on a credit card, as opposed to carrying around cash, chips or coins, and investigators reportedly acquired those records and determined that Hatchett had gambled away a vast amount of money, much more than he could have earned legally during that time period.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 05/20 – 6/03

North-east man conned dad, 94, out of £88,000

A “deplorable” man who embezzled £88,000 from his 94-year-old father has been warned he faces a “significant” prison sentence. Iain Robertson squandered thousands of pounds gambling online and on dental work – prosecutors even claimed he spent more than £50,000 on a property in Thailand. The 63-year-old pleaded guilty to embezzling the cash during an appearance at Aberdeen Sheriff Court yesterday and his solicitor admitted there was no prospect Robertson could repay the money. Callous Robertson had been given power of attorney and control of his dad’s finances when he took the money between April 2014 and May last year. The offence only came to light when payment for his father’s care was in arrears.

 Ex-casino employee arraigned in $500,000 Easter promotion scheme

A former Mohegan Sun Pocono casino employee who allegedly rigged plastic eggs for an Easter sweepstakes in 2014 was arraigned Wednesday. Colin Ray Boecker, 32, of Tonawanda, New York, appeared before District Judge Joseph Spagnuolo Jr. in Plains Township on charges of theft, receiving stolen property and criminal conspiracy to participate in a rigged contest. He was released on $15,000 unsecured bail.Pellegrini, Heltzel and former casino waitress Rochelle Poszeluznyj, 40, of Kingston, were charged in 2016 in a scheme that they ran from May 2014 to April 2015 and involved the theft of personal identification numbers, or PINs, from gamblers. The numbers were then used to create duplicate rewards cards with $478,000 in free play credits. Heltzel, who was not a casino employee, gambled with the cards and split the winnings with Pellegrini and Poszeluznyj.

2 killed in crash after fleeing sheriff’s deputies from casino

Two people died early Sunday morning after a high-speed chase ended in a head-on crash in North County. It started when sheriff’s deputies spotted a stolen Honda Accord as it pulled out of a parking lot at Harrah’s Rincon Casino around 1 a.m. in the area just north of Valley Center. Deputies chased the car – which was reported stolen from Escondido a few days ago – for less than a minute. The driver took off speeding on Valley View Road and crashed about 1/5 of a mile away after deputies had ended the chase. Deputies said they had terminated the pursuit because they had a helicopter overhead and the roadways were wet. According to deputies, the 22-year-old driver of the Honda hit a curb, lost control and was hit by a white sedan traveling the other direction. Medics pronounced the man and his front passenger dead at the scene.

Lakewood man charged with 52 counts of animal cruelty, cockfighting 

A 59-year-old Lakewood man has been arrested for investigation of 47 counts of animal fighting, four counts of cruelty to animals and one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Weld County Sheriff’s Office deputies found 47 live roosters. One of the roosters was injured and was wearing cockfighting paraphernalia, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office. Animal Control officers brought the roosters to the Avian Health Program at Colorado State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, a CSU spokeswoman said. The roosters, which were examined and tested as part of the Colorado Avian Health Program, are considered evidence in the case Gonzalez remains confined in the Weld County North Jail Complex without bond. “The Sheriff’s Office wants to remind the public that rooster fighting is illegal in Colorado,” the news release says. Cockfighting is associated with gambling. Thousands of dollars change hands during a single event. Participants often carry guns and knives, drink alcohol and use illegal drugs, the news release says.

Railway signalman, 24, struggling with gambling debts killed himself by throwing himself in front of train

A railway signalman who was plagued by gambling debt ended his life by stepping in front of a 90mph train at a level crossing. His mother Louise Virgo said he had taken out loans to pay debts and use to gamble at the casino and online in the past, but ‘since then he seemed happy’. In the weeks before his death she had become worried about his financial situation again, and ‘knew something was wrong’ when he returned home unexpectedly. East Sussex senior coroner Alan Craze said ‘There is no scope for any doubt whatsoever, and the conclusion will very sadly be he took his own life. ‘Having done this job for a long time I have a good idea of how devastating something like this would be for people close to him. ‘I would like to disclose my condolences to you.’

Former Pawn Shop Manager to Stand Trial on Grand Theft, Burglary Charges

A man who allegedly embezzled nearly $165,000 from the Palm Desert pawn shop he managed must stand trial on grand theft and burglary charges, a judge ruled Thursday. A sheriff’s deputy investigating the case found 208 false pawn transactions from December 2015 to August 2017, resulting in a loss of $164,650 to Rocky’s, according to the declaration. Ventling was the only person who had access to the shop’s computer system, which he used to “manipulate the computer inventory system to avoid detection of money inventory deficit,” the declaration alleges. Sheriff’s investigators also looked into Ventling’s gambling activities at the Spotlight 29 Casino in Coachella, where they allege he spent six-figure sums in 2016 and 2017, but was at a nearly $23,000 deficit when deputies investigated his activities last August.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 05/14 – 05/20

‘Losing Streak Lois’ had apparent gambling addiction, police say 

The motive still isn’t clear as to why Lois Riess ended up on Fort Myers Beach, who was eventually accused of killing Pamela Hutchinson, stealing her money, ID and car. But her family says she had a problem with gambling—even stealing money from her own family to do so. “The addiction is still there. She had to find a way to get money—and she hurt someone here in our community,” said FGCU clinical coordinator Yaro Garcia. Riess is a mother from Minnesota, now wanted for two murders—of Hutchinson and her husband. “Riess’ mode of operation is to befriend women who resemble her and steal her identity,” said Undersheriff Carmine Marceno with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. She’s still on the run, and was last spotted in Texas after fleeing Florida. The day after allegedly killing her husband, Riess was spotted at a casino. Police say her gambling addiction tore her family apart. Minnesota news outlets report that in 2016, Riess stole over $100,000 from her sister. She was ordered to pay it back, but never did. Garcia says it’s likely to have pushed Riess over the edge. “The extreme, maybe killing a person, maybe stealing an identity, doing whatever it takes to gamble one more time,” Garcia said. Garcia says that a gambling addiction could explain Riess’ alleged killing of Hutchinson on Fort Myers Beach. “Ms. Hutchinson’s purse was found to be in disarray, and all cash, credit cards and identification appeared to be removed,” Marceno said. “What happens to people who have this type of addiction is almost the same as a heroin addict or any other drug. It’s just as powerful,” Garcia added.

More Than 1,000 Birds Seized in Lancaster in Illegal Cockfighting Investigation

Officials in Lancaster confiscated more than 1,000 fowls they believed were being used for illegal cockfighting, authorities announced on Wednesday. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said it served a search warrant on a location on the 6300 block of East Avenue E on Monday. Officers were investigating an animal cruelty case concerning the breeding and fighting of game fowl. Crews from the L.A. County Department of Animal Care and Control, with help from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles, examined the animals at the scene and confiscated them. “Rooster handlers, or ‘cock fighters,’ often allow birds who suffer injuries during fights to go untreated or throw the birds in the trash,” the Sheriff’s Department said in a statement. “Having animals fight to death along with letting them go untreated is not only cruel but often times goes hand-in-hand with gambling, drug-dealing and other illegal activities.”

Man defrauded investment customers of millions

A New Jersey man has admitted operating a long-running scheme to defraud investment clients out of millions of dollars. Scott Newsholme pleaded guilty Wednesday to wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and preparing fraudulent tax returns. The 43-year-old Farmingdale man faces up to 25 years in prison when he’s sentenced July 19. Federal prosecutors say Newsholme has owned and operated at least three different financial advisory and tax return preparation businesses since 2002. Authorities say that between 2007 and 2017, he recommended to multiple clients that they give him money for various investments. He then allegedly used that money for personal expenses, including multiple vehicles, bedroom furniture and debits at casinos. Newsholme misappropriated more than $3.1 million from his clients, resulting in net investment losses of more than $1.8 million.

Virginia business owner must pay back $4M for fraud scheme

A Virginia business owner who spent business loans on personal expenses, including his rock band, will pay more than $4 million in restitution, in addition serving a 10-year federal prison sentence. The Virginian-Pilot cites a U.S. Department of Justice release that says 58-year-old Edward Zinner was sentenced Thursday in connection with a fraud scheme. The release says he operated Ocean Equity, a collection of businesses that engaged in credit card processing and merchant cash advances, through which he provided false representation to obtain more than $4.5 million. He also obtained six business loans worth $3 million that he spent on personal expenses, including gambling and his TGZ Band. When Zinner closed his business in 2016, he still owed $3.9 million to investors. He pleaded guilty to money laundering in October.

Barnes must repay embezzled school money 

Paula Barnes, 61, was sentenced on Thursday to 30 days in the Anderson County Jail and 10 years’ probation for embezzling $111,000 from the Palestine Independent School District in 2015 and 2016. Judge Deborah Oaks Evans, of the 87th District Court, ruled that Barnes must pay the money back, in addition to court fines. She also must perform 400 hours of community service. “I am so remorseful for everything I’ve done,” a visibly distraught Barnes said on the witness stand. The investigation began in March 2016, when another employee reported a discrepancy in funds. In June, Barnes confessed to ISD officials that she was garnering cash from the activity deposits in the amount of $60,000 to $80,000. An external auditing firm confirmed the theft in August 2016. Barnes was arrested in January 2017 for theft of greater than $30,000 but less than $150,000 and released on bond. DA Allyson Mitchell presented evidence of checks written to Jason Barnes in various amounts, ranging from $200 to $26,000. Jason Barnes was not present at the hearing, but the defense stated he had a gambling problem.

Dutchess man pleads guilty to embezzling over $2.5 million from former employer 

A Pleasant Valley man, who worked as the comptroller for two companies, pled guilty this week to federal charges of mail fraud and tax evasion. When sentenced in August, Mark Cina, 56, agreed to pay $2.5 million in restitution to the two companies – Atlantis Energy Systems, Inc. and Business Technology Corporation. Cina allegedly used the money he embezzled for gambling, to pay rent, drive rented cars, dine out, get his car washed, bail out an arrestee, and pay a phone charge for an inmate’s call. The attorney for the two companies, Michael Pollok, said Thursday that his firm has now filed a related lawsuit. “We have filed a civil law suit on behalf of our clients against D’Arcangelo & Company for their involvement with Mark Cina. John J. Cina, Jr., also known as Jack Cina of the accounting firm of D’Arcangelo & Company is Mark Cina’s brother and named in the civil law suit because he was entrusted with our client’s financial information and tax preparation during the relevant time periods. That trust was breached when the principal of the victim companies was stricken by illness and the fraud perpetrated.” 

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


A Brief Look at Crime 05/07 – 05/13

Man Charged With Decapitating Gambler Now Faces Witness Tampering Charges

One of two men charged with decapitating an individual they met at a casino is now accused of witness tampering. Donald Ray Cherry, 31, was charged on March 16 with intimidation and tampering with witnesses or informants, both felonies that can result in an addition 20 year prison sentence. Cherry and co-defendant Jeffrey Glen Haverty, 33, met the victim, Myron Wesley Knight, 41, at the Montana Lil’s Casino in November. Knight gave a casino employee his $120 in winnings to hold on to out of fear the two men were going to rob him. Knight’s body was later found, decapitated, three weeks later at a campsite. Authorities determined he had been beaten with a blunt force object prior to the decapitation but that he was likely still alive at the time. Cherry’s girlfriend told police she witnessed Haverty cutting Knight’s head off before Cherry took over. According to the latest court filing, Knight is accused of telling his girlfriend to lie about what she saw and warning that she might also be implicated in the crime. The witness claims she arrived at the scene of the gruesome crime as it was in progress.

Genovese crime family associate convicted of racketeering, murder conspiracy

An associate of the Genovese crime family was convicted of racketeering and murder conspiracy for an attempted hit on a Whitestone man, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said. Salvatore Delligatti, 40, was found guilty in Manhattan federal court last week on all counts of racketeering conspiracy, murder-for-hire conspiracy, participation in an illegal gambling operation, and a firearms offense following a three-week jury trial. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison in August. Delligatti committed all his crimes in order to increase his standing in the Genovese family, according to Berman. From about 2013 through 2015, Delligatti, DeBello and Ellis were involved in a large-scale bookmaking and sports betting operation that took bets from gamblers in Manhattan and Queens, while making use of an offshore wire room, according to prosecutors. During the gambling operation, Delligatti and Ellis brought envelopes filled with cash to DeBello. Delligatti’s co-defendants, DeBello and Ellis, previously pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy offenses for their roles in the murder conspiracy, the extortion conspiracy, and the illegal gambling operation, prosecutors said.

Pellet gun-waving man inside Montana casino shot, killed by police 

A police officer shot and killed a man who was waving a pellet gun and threatening patrons inside a casino early Tuesday — the second fatal shooting by officers in Montana’s largest city in less than 24 hours. The 44-year-old man was being sought by police in the lead-up to his death. His ex-wife reported earlier that he showed up at her house, banged on her door and windows and told her he was going to rob a casino, Billings Police Chief Rich St. John said. Less than an hour later, the man was seen entering Lucky Lil’s casino just before 1:30 a.m. Two officers broke a window to enter the locked building, where Sgt. Bret Becker shot the man multiple times with an AR-15 assault rifle after the suspect refused to drop the gun and said he had taken hostages, St. John said. It was unknown whether the man fired the pellet gun, which Becker had believed to be a firearm, St. John said. The suspect’s identity was not immediately made public pending notification of relatives. St. John said the man was “known to the police” but provided no further details. His ex-wife told police that he may have taken opiates prior to Tuesday’s confrontation and St. John said toxicological tests on the man were planned.

New Freedom woman blames gambling addiction for embezzling $4.3 million from her employer

A New Freedom woman has been sentenced to 71 months in prison for embezzling $4.3 million from her employer, according to a news release. Donna Wozniak, 57, pleaded guilty in August 2017 to embezzlement in connection with healthcare and tax evasion, the news release states. She was a business manager for Susquehanna Valley Surgery Center in Dauphin County for 14 years. Wozniak said during sentencing that she stole the money because she has a gambling addiction. She was fired from her job in November 2014 after admitting that she stole the money, the news release states. United States District Court Judge John E. Jones III sentenced her on Tuesday to 71 months behind bars and three years of supervised release. Wozniak’s job was to review invoices and pay vendors. A forensic audit showed that she would make a portion of the signed blank checks payable to herself, and she cashed or deposited them using multiple bank accounts, the news release states. She then falsified the records, showing that the money went to the vendors. “All income is taxable, no matter what the source of the income,” Guy Ficco, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation, said in a news release. “Today’s sentencing should serve as a deterrent to others who might consider attempting a similar scheme in the future.”

After losing at poker, bank robber gambled on trip to North KC casino

A Kansas City man who was arrested at Harrah’s Casino in North Kansas City has pleaded guilty to the January robbery of a bank in Bonner Springs. Timothy Karpovich, 39, admitted in federal court Tuesday that he robbed the KCB bank in Bonner Springs on Jan. 22. After the FBI released bank surveillance photos of the robber, tipsters identified Karpovich as the robber, and then the FBI learned that he was a regular customer at the casino. Later that night, while FBI agents were speaking to employees about Karpovich, he returned to the casino and was arrested. He admitted to agents that he robbed the bank. He said he decided to commit the robbery after losing all of his money a few days earlier playing poker.

Gambling Parlor Bouncer Shot Dead, Killer Sentenced

The man who shot a bouncer who wouldn’t let him inside an illegal Brooklyn gambling parlor has been sentenced to at least 20 years in prison, prosecutors announced Wednesday. Crown Heights man Euzebelin Abellard, 35, could face a life sentence for the murder of Jean Claude Bernagene, a worker in an East Flatbush gambling parlor, in November 2015, according to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office. Abellard tried to sneak into the basement parlor on New York Avenue by hiding behind a regular customer, but was stopped by Bernagene, 51, on Nov. 20 at about 5:30 p.m., prosecutors said. That’s when Abellard pulled out a gun, told the bouncer in Creole that he would shoot him, then shot him in the torso and hand, prosecutors said. The wounded Bernagene chased his shooter out onto the street before he collapsed, prosecutors said. Police officers found the parlor worker lying on the street and emergency responders rushed him to Kings County Hospital, where he died two days later, prosecutors said.

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A Brief Look at Crime 04/30 – 05/06

Feds Seize $10.1M in ‘Illegal Gambling’ Money from Pojoaque Pueblo Tribe of New Mexico

The US Department of Justice on Friday filed forfeiture proceedings in a federal court to seize $10.1 million from a bank account linked to the Pojoaque Pueblo tribal gaming operator in New Mexico. The DOJ said it deemed the money to be the proceeds of illegal gambling. It’s the latest twist in the longstanding fight between the tribe and the State of New Mexico, which kicked off in 2014 when the tribe refused to sign a new compact. Its original gambling agreement, signed in 2005, gave the state an 8 percent share of gross gambling revenue and was due to expire in 2015. Negotiations over a new revenue sharing agreement broke down when the tribe accused the state government of unreasonably hiking up its cut, to 9 percent. New Mexico’s other tribal operators reluctantly agreed to these terms, but the Pojoaque Pueblos dug in their heels. The tribe argued for the right to negotiate a new compact with the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, rather than the state.

Casino-Bound Passengers Describe Terrifying Wild Ride With Drunk Bus Driver 

Dozens of passengers took terrifying trip on a Bay Area tour bus whose driver was dangerously intoxicated, according to authorities. It was supposed to be a relaxing drive up to Graton Casino, but it was anything but that. It ended up being a wild ride through San Francisco and the North Bay with a very drunk driver behind the wheel. One passenger told CHP officers the driver hit the right side rail of the Golden Gate Bridge and kept driving. The passenger called 911 to report the incident, but the says the driver continued to drive erratically, going at unsafe speeds and passing on the right shoulder. The CHP tried to stop the bus in Petaluma but couldn’t get there in time, and 911 calls from other drivers on the road started to pour into the dispatch center. The wild ride didn’t end until the bus arrived at the casino in Rohnert Park. CHP officers interviewed those on board and the driver. Officers say 34-year-old Angela Teasley from Richmond was put through DUI tests and she was almost 4 times over the legal blood alcohol limit.

Police Bust Alleged Lucchese Gambling, Loan-sharking Operation in New York State 

New York State law enforcement has broken up an illegal gambling and loan-sharking racket with alleged links to the notorious Lucchese crime family. Ten people, most from New Rochelle, Westchester County, were arrested and indicted Tuesday on charges of first-degree usury and first-degree promoting illegal gambling, according to the state attorney general’s office. It was the culmination of “Operation The Vig is Up” – a yearlong investigation into the bookmaking activities of alleged Lucchese “made member” Dominick Capelli and the loan-sharking operation coordinated by his alleged henchmen. It was the biggest loan-sharking operation the AG’s office had ever investigated. The “vig” in question refers not to the bookmaker’s edge but the usurious interest payments charged on the loans, which collectively exceeded a $1 million during the duration of the investigation alone. Prosecutors described how the operation was designed to trap gamblers in a cycle of impossible debt. They identified at least 47 victims, many saddled with multiple loans and paying exorbitant weekly interest rates equivalent to 200 percent per year.

Federal agents rescue 63 dogs from suspected South Georgia dogfighting ring

On March 23, the United States filed a civil forfeiture complaint seeking the possession of 63 pit bull-type dogs that were allegedly involved in a dog fighting venture in violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act. At the reported location, agents discovered a disassembled dog fighting “pit” and more than 60 pit bull-type dogs staked to the ground by heavy chains. The condition of a majority of the dogs, including scarring and aggression toward other dogs, was consistent with dog fighting and related training. After obtaining a search warrant, agents found numerous indications of dog fighting at the Eastman property, including a treadmill with a rope attached to the front part of the machine, antibiotics and other injectable veterinary medications, and a jenny mill, which is used to develop a dog’s endurance and musculature by enticing the animal to run on a circular track. From four grave areas, agents unearthed the remains of seven dogs, five of which had scarring consistent with dog fighting and one of which had a broken leg. During the search, agents noted that none of the live animals had access to food, and most did not have access to water.

“Dog fighting is a barbaric spectacle that has no place in any civilized society, and it will enjoy no quarter in the Southern District of Georgia,” Christine said. “We know that animal fighting ventures often entail other forms of illegal activity involving drugs, firearms, and gambling, and this Office will continue to work with its law enforcement partners at all levels to investigate and successfully prosecute those who contribute to the proliferation of crime and seek to profit off the abuse and suffering of helpless animals.”

State: Casino worker preyed on addicts, laundered $1.5M 

The Washington State Gambling Commission says a couple suspected of providing $300,000 in loans to people with gambling problems at a Tukwila casino and then threatening them in order to collect the debt have been arrested. The News Tribune reports the 45-year-old employee and her 27-year-old boyfriend are also charged with laundering about $1.5 million through Macau Casino. Authorities are working to determine the source of the $1.5 million. Authorities believe Macau Casino’s general manager was aware of the activities. His gambling license was suspended. A statement released Friday by the commission said that the agency and police have received numerous complaints of loansharking and money laundering at the casino over the past two years. The suspects were booked into jail and face charges of collection of unlawful debt, money laundering and use of extortionate means to collect extensions of credit.

Woman embezzled more than £100,000 from Glasgow care home 

A woman has admitted she embezzled more than £100,000 from a care home company which led to up to five people losing their jobs. Sarah McGartland, 51, transferred £102,398 of Harveys Healthcare cash into both her own and her husband’s accounts over 11 months. But she was caught when a director of the firm carried out an audit. As well as the job losses the company has downsized as a result of McGartland’s crime. She pleaded guilty to embezzling the money between January and November 2015 from the company, which was based in Ibrox, Glasgow. The court heard she was jailed for six months in 2010 for forgery and uttering. Harveys Healthcare is a care home company who look after elderly residents, mostly for Dumfries and Galloway Council, and at the time had around 40 residents. Gambling addict McGartland, of Ibrox, Glasgow, was an accounts clerk for them for 13 months, including most of 2015. Part of her duties were filling out invoices to ensure any money owed was paid, which was then authorised by one of the directors, Bijay Kumar. He carried out an audit in November 2015 after noticing anomalies with the company account.

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