Category Archives: Crime

A Brief Look at Crime 08/20 – 08/26

Police arrest man wanted for stabbing Bronx woman to death with screwdriver a month after killing his lottery winner uncle

A Bronx ex-con already wanted in the June murder of his lottery-winning uncle was busted for the lethal screwdriver stabbing of a Bronx secretary inside her company’s office, police said. Outraged family and friends of victim Wanda Rios, 45, said the arrest of suspect Idris Abdul-Muhaymin on murder charges did nothing to ease their heartbreak about Wednesday’s killing. “He’s a sick person,” said Rios’ neighbor Yali Tores, 37, about the alleged killer. “They should have caught him earlier so he couldn’t do this to somebody else. I’m still in shock.” Police, without providing any details, said the suspect knew Wanda Rios. The accused killer knew his earlier victim, too, cops said: His 73-year-old uncle Owen Dillard, stabbed to death inside a Mott Haven apartment on June 11. Dillard had just hit the lottery for $10,000 before the killing, while his nephew was deep in the hole with gambling debts, police said. It was unclear where Abdul-Muhaymin, identified two weeks ago as a suspect in the Diillard death, spent the month between the two murders.

Gambling debt drove man to murder his sister-in-law

Gambling debts and “onerous” payday loans lead a Standard man to murder his sister-in-law, fracture her skull, and bury her in a shallow grave, a prosecutor told the jury Wednesday in opening arguments in Putnam County Court. Clifford A. Andersen Jr., 68, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and concealment of a homicidal death, accused of killing Deborah Dewey, 62, of Ladd. He’s being held on $1.5 million bond and faces 20 to 60 years or more in prison, with no possibility of parole. Among that evidence: Video of Andersen entering a store to buy manure found at the grave, and of him at the truck stop where Dewey’s car was found. Photos of her blood on the door, carpet and the floor beneath the carpet of the home where investigators say she was killed, and her blood on the wheel of a carpet cleaner a witness saw him carrying into the home. Dewey had a history of withdrawals of several thousand dollars in the years before her death, money, Elward said, that was given to Andersen to pay his increasing gambling debts and “onerous payday loans.”

‘Bagman’ gets five years in prison for role in American Senior Communities scheme

Steven Ganote, described by prosecutors as the “bagman” behind a lucrative nursing home fraud scheme, was sentenced Monday to five years in prison. And Josh Burkhart, brother of the former American Senior Communities CEO who orchestrated the scheme, was sentenced to four months in prison for his role. Ganote and Burkhart pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to helping illegally obtain what prosecutors said was $19 million. The money came from overcharges and kickbacks from a variety of high-volume vendors for the state’s largest nursing home chain. Most of the payments were from government Medicare and Medicaid funds. Ganote pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail, wire and health care fraud; conspiracy to violate the anti-kickback statute; and money laundering. Prosecutors said Ganote caused a loss of $8 million while living a lavish lifestyle, flying on private jets, gambling in Las Vegas, renovating a vacation home in Florida and buying watches, diamonds and gold bars.

Warnings ignored: Investigator fired after raising concerns about casino money laundering 

A pile of $20 bills – some $600,000 — that was stacked higher than the casino cashier. It’s the surreal scene that stays with Joe Schalk from his time as the senior director of investigations at B.C.’s gambling regulator, GPEB. “She disappeared behind these bills to the point where all you could see was her eyes and forehead. It was a huge mountain of cash,” Schalk recalled. And reports of suspicious cash transactions were mounting too – ballooning more than 20 times to 2014, when Schalk’s team was estimating it would crest over $200 million in a single year. Schalk and his team were tasked with tracking this likely dirty money. They believed it was an international scheme. The gamblers, they believed, could be dupes, but the source of the money was likely criminal operations with reach around the globe. “The gambler receives the cash money from loan sharks, who receive the money from what I believe is criminal sources. The gambler loses the cash money gambling at the casino and ultimately repays his debt in the foreign jurisdiction,” wrote Schalk’s colleague in 2013.

That assessment was “precisely correct,” according to the recent report by Dr. Peter German, which examined money laundering in B.C. casinos, exploring its links to the drug trade, criminal gangs and even Lower Mainland real estate. But at the time, Schalk said no one seemed to be listening, even as the reports of suspicious money piled up. “Exponentially it kept growing. Huge numbers. It became more frustrating because less and less people were listening. And nobody was doing anything about it,” he said. In December 2014, he and his colleague were brought into an office, dismissed without cause, and walked out of the building. Schalk says it’s clear a message was being sent. “I think the noise that was being made needed to be quieted,” he said. The German report also concluded that the firings were disruptive to GPEB’s attempts to stop money laundering.

Poker Pro Ali Fazeli Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud in Sports Ticket Resale Scam 

Fazeli was facing two felony counts of wire fraud after being accused of scamming investors out of $6.2 million. Fazeli has claimed that he would use that money to buy and sell tickets to high value sporting events like the Super Bowl and World Cup, turning a profit in the process. But while the money was wired to Fazeli’s ticket brokerage, Summit Entertainment Group, most of those funds were never used to speculate on tickets. Instead, Fazeli was alleged to have used the money to gamble at Las Vegas casinos as well as to pay off gambling debts. Fazeli would be arrested in February following an FBI investigation, and was indicted in March. In the plea agreement, Fazeli reportedly admitted to transferring approximately $1.8 million to the Aria, where he used at least some of those funds to buy into high roller poker tournaments in 2016. Fazeli was a regular in the Aria’s high roller series throughout 2016, cashing at least 10 times in events with buy-ins of at least $25,000 during that year. Those wins make up the majority of his $2.2 million in lifetime tournament earnings.

Online Betting Reveals Possible Doubles Match-Fixing at Wimbledon

Officials at Pinnacle Sports flagged an early-round men’s doubles match at Wimbledon for suspicious betting patterns, something that could be an indicator that the match was fixed. While unusual gambling behavior around a match would never be considered conclusive evidence that the integrity of a contest had been compromised, it is an initial signal that can provoke further investigation. The questionable wagering happened around the first-round men’s doubles match between the Spanish pair of David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco, and their opponents, Joao Sousa and Leonardo Mayer. According to a report by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Pinnacle began noticing a problem in the hour before the match began. A series of bets came in from accounts that had previously gambled on other suspicious matches, prompting the bookmaker to flag the match. “We followed our strict protocol when it comes [to] match-fixingalerts by notifying the authorities on site at Wimbledon andreducing our market offering immediately,” Pinnacle sports integritymanager Sam Gomersall told ABC. While ABC declined to identify the specific match for what the organization said were legal reasons, Pinnacle confirmed to other media outlets, including /The New York Times/, that it was the first-round match involving Marrero and Verdasco that drew their attention.

Experts say that tennis is a sport that is particularly vulnerable to match-fixing, particularly at the lower levels of the sport. With tens of thousands of matches every year and very little prize money on lower-level tours, players may be tempted to throw matches or give away individual points, games, or sets. The numbers appear to bear that out. From 2015 through 2017, operators and regulators passed along 779 alerts to the TIU. Typically, the vast majority of these alerts come from Challenger and Futures competitions.

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

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A Brief Look at Crime 08/13 – 08/19

Turtle Lake woman pleads guilty to wire fraud after embezzling more than $818,000 from Rice Lake church 

Deborah Marcellus, 63, of Turtle Lake pleaded guilty on Monday, July 2, in U.S. District Court in Madison to wire fraud and filing a false income tax return, charges that stem from her embezzlement of more than $818,000 from St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Rice Lake. Marcellus served as the director of development for St. Joseph’s Church and so was responsible for handling all financial and accounting matters for the church. She began using computer software to generate checks to herself from multiple bank accounts belonging to the church. Marcellus forged the name of church leaders on the signature lines of the checks and then deposited them into her personal bank account. Between 2011 and April 2017, Marcellus generated 201 fraudulent checks from church bank accounts for a total of $818,604.06. Bank records demonstrated that Marcellus used the embezzled money for a large variety of personal expenses, including excessive gambling.

Gambler husband embezzled £150k from sick wife in coma and squandered cash gambling

A CALLOUS husband who embezzled £150,000 from the sick wife he cared for and squandered cash at ARCADES is behind bars. Bernard Houston, 53, started spending wife Peggy’s money when she suffered a brain aneurysm – weeks after they married. When her concerned family questioned the deterioration in her quality of life and changes to her appearance they were told the money was “none of their business”. Eventually Peggy’s family discovered credit card and loan applications, as well as bank statements in her name that he had “concealed” where she couldn’t reach them. When questioned by police he initially denied taking any money then admitted that he had “gambled away” the cash on gaming machines at amusement arcades.

Dotty’s slot casino chain settles discrimination suit for $3.5M 

The company that operates the Dotty’s casino chain in Nevada and Montana has agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle a disability discrimination suit, lawyers for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced Wednesday. The EEOC filed the lawsuit earlier this year accusing the Las Vegas-based Nevada Restaurant Services Inc. of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. Commission lawyers said the slot machine operator illegally fired or forced employees to quit because they were considered disabled, had a record of disability or were associated with someone with a disability. In addition to the monetary relief that includes back pay for wrongly terminated workers, the company agreed to conduct new ADA training and submit regular reports to the government verifying compliance with the settlement over the next 3.5 years. Wendy Martin, local director of the EEOC’s Las Vegas office, said the suit was filed as part of the commission’s continuing “quest to identify and eradicate systemic disability discrimination.”

Lawyer gets 3 years prison for stealing millions in medical pot scam to pay off gambling debts

A Huntington Woods attorney was sentenced to three years in prison Tuesday for cheating investors out of millions of dollars by pretending he was investing their money in medical marijuana when he was really blowing it on gambling. In the end, U.S. District Judge David Lawson concluded Robert Gross, 49, deserved 36 months for his crime, for which he will also pay $3.6 million in restitution to his victims under the terms of his plea deal. In December, Gross pleaded guilty to fraud in U.S. District Court, admitting he ran a years-long scheme that duped numerous investors, including several of his law practice clients. According to court records, Gross convinced people to give him money for investments, claiming the funds would be used for a medical marijuana business and equipment lien repayment. Instead, prosecutors said, Gross used the money to pay down gambling markers and obtain new gambling credit at a casino in Las Vegas.

400,000 British teens lured into under-aged gambling through video games

More than 400,000 British teenagers have been lured into under-aged casino-style gambling through their video gaming, an investigation has revealed. The children, aged 13 to 18, have been able to gamble winnings from their video gaming on websites where they can bet them for cash on roulette wheel spins or other games of chance. The online gambling, which is illegal for under 18s, has been made possible by the creation of virtual items called “skins”, modified weapons or costumes that players can win or buy in video games. Giles Milton, Parent Zone’s head of content, said its investigation showed gaming firms were not doing enough to stop it: “It is gambling and children should not be gambling online. Parents need to understand what their children are doing with their money.” There are concerns the trade in skins – of which there are 6bn in circulation worth an estimated £10bn – could itself be fuelling the rise in addictive gaming among teenagers.

Woman convicted in $530K embezzlement case charged with tax evasion

A Middletown woman who served jail time for embezzling $530,000 from two former employers is facing new federal charges of tax evasion. A criminal information filed July 5 in U.S. district court alleges Fabian evaded paying $45,100 in federal income taxes. Fabian in 2016 pleaded guilty in Dauphin County Court to 76 counts of forgery, theft and related charges. She admitted she stole money from two insurance companies by forging company checks and depositing the money into her own account. She told investigators her gambling addiction fueled the thefts. Fabian was ordered to serve 11.5 to 23 months in prison, 20 years probation, and to pay restitution.

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

 


A Brief Look at Crime 08/06 – 08/12

6-year sentence for woman who embezzled $4.3 million 

A New Freedom, Pa. woman says gambling addiction is why she embezzled $4.3 million while working at the Susquehanna Valley Surgical Center in Harrisburg. Donna Marie Wozniak, age 57, pleaded guilty to embezzlement and tax evasion in August 2017. She had worked as the business manager at the surgical center from 2000 until she was fired in 2014. Now she is serving a 71-month sentence. A forensic audit found Wozniak had written company checks to herself and then manipulated accounting software to cover her tracks. When confronted, she confessed to the thefts. The IRS charged Wozniak with tax evasion because she did not report the illicit income.

Gambling addict teacher stole £100k to blow on Las Vegas holiday

A former Solihull teacher stole £100,000 of tax repayments to spend on online gambling, a holiday to Las Vegas and Leeds Utd football matches. Blaine Wakeman, 26, lied about purchases and financial losses from his two companies that provided children’s sports coaching to fraudulently claim VAT repayments. The Leeds Utd supporter has now been handed a suspended 21-month prison sentence following an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Facebook pictures show Wakeman previously enjoying a luxury holiday to the gambling capital of the world – Las Vegas. He posed for pictures outside Caesars Palace and during a trip to the Grand Canyon. A probe discovered Wakeman had used the cash, totalling £100,000, to fund an online gambling habit. Richard Young, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Wakeman knew what he was doing was wrong. “He was abusing the tax system to fund a lifestyle he couldn’t legitimately afford.” He added: “Tax fraud is not a victimless crime. It affects us all by depriving the public services of vital funding.

Admitted gambling addict gets prison for embezzling $400K from OKC company

An admitted gambling addict has been sentenced to 19 months in federal prison for embezzling nearly $400,000 from an Oklahoma City company. “It’s not the gambling or the money that’s going to make me happy,” Frederick Boone Price told an Oklahoma City federal judge during his sentencing Thursday. “I know what’s important now.” Price wiped tears from his eyes. “I never thought I’d be in this situation,” he said. “I am truly apologetic.” U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot told Price that his gambling addiction doesn’t justify his criminal conduct. The judge ordered Price to pay $393,316 in restitution. Price, 33, of Weatherford, pleaded guilty to wire fraud last year. Defense attorney Julia Summers said Price’s actions were driven by his gambling addiction.

Former Service Container Co. controller gets 2 years for embezzlement

Prosecutors charged Weber in January in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Wisconsin with one count of fraud. He also reached a plea agreement at that time and entered a guilty plea in February. According to court documents, Weber used his position to embezzle $592,006.53 through unauthorized credit card purchases, debit card transactions, check payments, insurance premiums and an unauthorized bonus. Weber used company credit cards for online and in-person gambling and personal expenses at stores and restaurants. To hide his activities, he wrote out-of-sequence checks and impersonated company owner Bob Hamilton to secure loans to pay off the debts. “The effects of Mr. Weber’s actions were felt most by the Hamilton family—especially Bob and Molly—but they were also felt by other employees (who lost their jobs) and vendors who no longer had a reliable trade partner.”

Online gambling addict stole every penny of his grandmother’s £430,000 life savings

A man addicted to online gambling stole his frail grandmother’s entire £430,000 life savings to fund his habit, a court heard. Darren Gledhill, 30, set up online banking for Sandra Gledhill and then betrayed her trust by ruthlessly plundering the funds over three years. She moved into a care home suffering from dementia during this time and the crimes only came to light when she was found to be more than £40,000 in arrears for payment of her fees. Mrs Gledhill was in her 70s when she died in January, leaving her three children with no inheritance because of her only grandson’s crimes. Yesterday Gledhill, a manager with Sainsbury’s, was jailed for 28 months at Bradford Crown Court after pleading guilty to theft.

Bookmaker 32Red fined £2m for encouraging problem gambling

The gambling watchdog has fined 32Red £2m after it found the bookmaker offered bonuses to problem gamblers. 32Red, which was sold to Swedish gambling company Kindred last year for £175.6m, admitted to a string of failures following an investigation by the Gambling Commission. Between November 2014 and April 2017 a customer was able to deposit £758,000 with 32Red but social responsibility and anti-money laundering checks were not performed. And in at least 22 incidents, the probe found 32Red failed to identify customers were problem gamblers and offered them free bonuses to keep them wagering bets.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 07/23 – 08/05

Lottery Scams Have Bilked Americans, Canadians Out of $344 Million Since 2015

North Americans — including both US and Canadian citizens — have lost more than $344 million to lottery scams and other prize-offering hoaxes over the past three years, according to a new study by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB said that between 2015 and 2017, over half a million such swindles had been reported to authorities, although the actual the number of victims may be much higher, as many are too embarrassed to report the crime. The overwhelming majority of victims are senior citizens, targeted both because they tend to have more disposable income than their younger counterparts, who may still be raising children. The elderly are also often easier to manipulate, especially those suffering from cognitive impairments such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. In a “worst of the worst” example, octogenarian Ted Ruppert of St, Louis lost nearly $8 million in a bogus Jamaican lottery scheme, although the BB reports the average loss to victims at closer to the $500 range.

Aviva insurance agent jailed for ‘sophisticated, complex’ £90,000 embezzlement

A former insurance agent at Aviva in Perth was jailed for 22 months after he admitted embarking on a “sophisticated, complex” embezzlement of almost £100,000 to fund his gambling habit. The court was told that the vast majority of the embezzled money had been authorised by Williams, using his unique Aviva system identification. He was caught out when a colleague noted that payment was being made to an account which did not appear to be linked to a customer. The insurance giants called in their main investigations officer and this led to Williams being targeted for the fraud. He admitted that between November 1, 2012, and May 6, 2015, he embezzled £90,000 while working as an employee of Aviva Plc, Pitheavlis, Perth.

Hundreds of birds removed from two Indiana cockfighting operations

Indiana’s gaming commission raided two alleged cockfighting operations in two different counties Wednesday. One of them is the biggest they’ve ever found in Indiana. Authorities say 150 birds were found behind the privacy fences of an Avon home in Hendricks County. More than 600 birds were seized from the property surrounding a small home on the edge of the small community of Waveland in Montgomery County. The 750 birds, the majority of them roosters, are evidence of cockfighting operations that, according to investigators, bred, trained and prepared the animals to fight to the death for gambling spectators. “This is serious, really serious,” said Kathryn Destreza of the ASPCA. The American Society for the Prevention of the Cruelty of Animals helped undercover gaming commission investigators examine the birds and gather other evidence. “Gaffs, knives, implements they attach to the legs for fighting. Different medications and supplements to enhance the bird’s performance,” Destreza said, describing what investigators found.

Animal Abuser Slapped With 15 Year Prison Sentence In Dog Fighting Case

Devechio Rowland has been sentenced to 15 years in prison and another 35 on probation for starving, abusing and abandoning more than 100 dogs in the woods of Polk County, Georgia last year. Approximately 30 animal rights advocates sat outside the courthouse with a few of the dogs that suffered at Rowland’s hands. Some cried when they learned the abuser’s sentence. At the end of April, the judge found Rowland guilty on all 214 counts of animal cruelty, including 107 felony counts for dog fighting and 107 misdemeanor counts for animal abuse. Unfortunately, due to a technicality in the law, Rowland was not eligible for felony aggravated abuse charges. He settled on 50 years with 15 to be served and an extended 35 year probation with special conditions that Rowland can never own a dog, live in a home with a dog or possess anything to do with dogs or dog fighting for the rest of his life.

Oklahoma Tribe Liable for Deadly Bus Crash

A Dallas appeals court has upheld a $9.3 million verdict against the Choctaw Nation after finding the southern Oklahoma tribe liable for a charter bus crash that killed two elderly passengers. The Court of Appeals for Texas’ 5th District unanimously dismissed the tribe’s appeal of a 2016 Dallas County ruling saying it was liable for the deaths of Alice Stanley and Paula Hahn, the Oklahoman reported. “The appellate court was correct in affirming the jury’s verdict in this horrifying crash,” said Frank Branson, an attorney for Stanley’s estate and children. The bus was traveling to the tribe’s casino in Durant, Oklahoma, when it crashed in Irving, Texas. Many of the issues the Choctaw Nation raised revolve around whether the tribe is liable for the negligence of the bus operators. “Casino operators cannot escape responsibility when they negotiate bus contracts based on the absolute lowest bid without considering the safety of their passengers,” Branson said.

‘Whale whisperer’ accused in $3.3M financial scam 

Paul Gilman dubbed himself a “whale whisperer,” producing and starring in a documentary about using music as a universal language to communicate with the great leviathans of the deep. But the Securities and Exchange Commission alleges he used his purported expertise in soundwaves to finance a lavish lifestyle by scamming roughly $3.3 million from about 40 investors in California, Georgia, New York, Tennessee and Texas. Gilman was charged with federal securities law violations in a civil court complaint filed Monday in Dallas. Gilman spent substantially all of the money he raised from investors on personal expenses and other non-business items, such as luxury Las Vegas hotels, restaurants, designer clothing and home furnishings, large cash withdrawals at casino ATMs” and a payment to an earlier investor in a Ponzi scheme, the court filing alleged.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 07/16 – 07/22

Schoolboy, 13, blows £80,000 gambling online after using his father’s business credit cards to fund his addiction

A 13-year-old schoolboy blew £80,000 gambling online using his father’s business credit cards to fund his addiction. The youngster, from Lancashire, started placing bets after seeing adverts for online bookmakers while watching a football match at Wembley. He took pictures of cards on his mobile phone and set up a betting account using his company director father’s identity. He became addicted to sports gambling, placing hundreds of bets a week on football matches and horses, staking as much as £3,000 each time. The teen told the Mirror: ‘I had no idea that ­gambling could be an addiction like smoking, drinking or drugs. It seemed like fun and I thought I would make money too. ‘It was just far too easy. I just had to put in dad’s name, ­address, date of birth and card details and checked a box saying I was 18 – it took literally seconds to register and start gambling.’ He had to see a psychotherapist to help curb his addiction after it almost tore the family apart. The boy’s story comes as new Government figures reveal 25,000 children aged 11-16 are addicted to gambling.

Gardens man admits to embezzling $1.5 million 

A decade ago, Keegan Garner was accepting plaudits for a humorous book wrote about his high school escapades, was working as a stand-up comic and dreamed of snaring a gig on the Late Show with David Letterman. On Friday, the 34-year-old Palm Beach Gardens man was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for embezzling $1.5 million while working as a vice president of sales in the Gardens office of Denison Yacht Sales, a company owned by a friend. U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra rejected defense attorney Jack Goldberger’s request to place Garner on house arrest so the father of two could earn money, repay the yacht broker, support his children and continue to get help to overcome his addictions to gambling and alcohol. “If people know you can steal $1.5 million and get probation, you’re sending a message to the public, ‘Go for it. What do you have to lose?’” Marra said, rejecting the plea for leniency. He also ordered Garner to repay the company.

Six Kansas massage parlors were fronts for prostitution, generated millions, feds say 

Five people were indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday for allegedly using six massage parlors in Lawrence, Topeka and Salina as fronts for prostitution. The charges include conspiracy, interstate racketeering, bank fraud and money laundering. Together, the five people generated millions of dollars in revenue, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas. The release states: Ma Li Vanskike, 67, operated ABC Massage, which was formerly known as Naima Therapy, in Lawrence as a front for prostitution. She allegedly laundered more than $1 million in revenue from the parlor at Harrah’s Casino in North Kansas City. The Nielsens are charged with two counts of conspiracy, two counts of bank fraud, five counts of laundering and one count of racketeering. Li and Mills are charged with two counts of conspiracy, two counts of interstate racketeering and four counts of money laundering. Money laundering carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. Bank fraud can be punished by up to 30 years and a fine of up to $1 million.

$50G lottery winner fatally shot outside Lady Luck Pub, report says 

A Cleveland man who claimed a $50,000 scratch-off lottery prize just last week didn’t stay alive long enough to spend the money. The victim, identified as Isaac Carson Jr., 37, was fatally shot Tuesday outside Cleveland’s Lady Luck Pub, family and friends said. Carosn, 37, was shot in the abdomen after an altercation outside the pub, police and family members told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Carson’s father, mother and brother and friends told the newspaper that they believe he was targeted, because it became known that he had won money. “I told him on Monday to not tell too many people about the money,” his father Issac Carson Sr. said. “The next day they killed him.” Family and friends said Carson “talked extensively” about the money he won because he was so happy. He also told friends he was thinking about starting his own business.

Michigan woman to pay back $2.4 million stolen from employer, IRS

After writing over 270 checks to herself without her employer’s knowledge, a Michigan woman has been ordered to serve three years in federal prison and repay more than $2.4 million to the IRS and her former employer. As part of the plea agreement, Pawielski must pay back the $1,962,611 to Millennium Machinery, along with $511,433 in restitution to the IRS. Pawielski, who has since undergone treatment for a gambling addiction, used the embezzled money to gamble at a casino and for other personal use. To hide the unauthorized checks she wrote to herself, Pawielski altered checking information in her employer’s accounting software to make it look like the payments were going to the company’s suppliers.

Guilty plea for Indiana cattle broker who gambled investments

An Indiana cattle broker, who took his bull calf investor money straight to the casino, plead guilty this week to one charge of wire fraud in federal court. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Brian D. Jones agreed to pay back the $473,000 he took from his victims and could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. ccording to court documents, Jones operated a business buying bull calves from dairy farms in Wisconsin and selling them to cattle ranches in Texas and Missouri. He began soliciting investors in 2015 promising sizable returns for the investments. Rather than invest the funds, prosecutors say the cattle broker used the funds for his personal benefit such as gambling at casinos. The indictment also alleges that Jones used the investment funds to pay “returns” back to earlier investors as if the funds had actually generated income through investment in his business. By the end of 2015, the indictment says, Jones had squandered funds from the cattle purchasers and was in debt with his suppliers and purchasers. 

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


A Brief Look at Crime 07/09 – 07/15

KC man charged with killing woman during robbery after leaving casino 

Kansas City man is charged with murder after he allegedly killed a woman during an attempted robbery after leaving a casino. Corey D. Bibee, 30, is charged with second-degree murder, first-degree attempted robbery and armed criminal action. According to court documents, Elaine M. Segovia was found shot to death in a vehicle parked on the south side of Smart Avenue. Investigators found a receipt for the 7th Street Casino in Kansas City, Kansas in her pocket. Police saw Bibee, Segovia and another woman on surveillance video inside the casino. Bibee told police that he and Segovia intended to rob the other woman and Segovia was killed as a result.

Thirty-year sentence meted out in $1.2 million swindle of Nevada woman 

A judge sentenced a Nevada man this week to 30 years in prison for his role in a $1.2 million swindle of an elderly woman. The two men deceived a Nevada woman into selling all her stock in a major oil company to help bail Davis out of a supposed financial obligation to a trucking company and legal trouble with a court in Kansas City. The swindle came to light at a guardianship hearing in July 2014 when she testified that she had sold all her stock in the oil company and gave the money to Davis so he could take it to the judge in Kansas City. An examination of her living trust account by an investigator with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services determined that between January 2011 and February 2012, she’d made 16 cash withdrawals totaling $1.2 million. Davis told the investigator that he was a regular patron of a casino in Oklahoma and that he “may have gambled away” all the money he received from the woman.

Former Bank of America manager sentenced to prison for embezzlement 

The Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California released a press statement regarding the imprisonment of a former Bank of America employee in Fresno who was convicted for embezzlement from a financial institution. Sylvia Ocho, 35, of Selma, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing at least $165,850 from Bank of America’s Fresno Branch on East Tulare Street between the months of March and October 2013. As branch manager, Ochoa would prevent other bank employees from counting the cash in the bank’s vault and would enter the vault after the bank was closed and remove cash to spend on personal expenses. She also used the stolen cash for casino gambling and expensive designer handbags.

Ex-CFO gets prison term for stealing more than $1 million

The former chief financial officer of a New Jersey orthopedic care provider is headed to prison for stealing more than $1 million from the company for his personal use. Harry Wolfmuller received a two-year sentence Wednesday and must pay $1,175,720 in restitution. He pleaded guilty last November to wire fraud. A former Belmar resident, the 70-year-old Wolfmuller was the CFO for an orthopedic care provider that has offices in Monmouth and Ocean counties. Federal prosecutors say he cashed checks from the company’s business accounts between 2007 and 2015 and spent the money on restaurant meals, golf outings, gambling, lottery tickets and other unapproved personal expenses. He then misrepresented the nature of these transactions in the company’s accounting records to make them appear as legitimate business expenses.

Woman convicted for filing false medical claims, embezzling nearly $1 million from Detroit nonprofit

She was convicted of embezzlement from a nonprofit or charitable organization, health care fraud — false claim and Medicaid fraud – false claim. Court documents said the former clinic biller made Medicaid claims for services never performed and then used nonprofit money to gamble. Scott was also ordered to pay $915,000 in restitution. “Not only did this nonprofit employee steal nearly $1 million, but she stole from the taxpayers by falsely billing Medicaid and Medicare from a nonprofit tasked with helping those to fight drug addictions,” Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said. “I will continue to seek justice for the taxpayers of this great state by aggressively prosecuting individuals who steal from them.” The HCFD also claimed Scott was stealing money from the nonprofit’s bank account by withdrawing funds from an ATM at a Detroit casino and gambling with the money.

Principal accused of gambling on horse races during school hours 

A Bronx principal is playing the ponies – and tweeting about his bets during the school day – according to a complaint filed on behalf of fed-up teachers who want to put him out to pasture. At least 25 tweets he posted during the 2017-18 school year allegedly show Steven Schwartz, the head of PS 24 in Riverdale, spends many mornings and afternoons following horse races. He even writes a handicapping blog that offers advice to other gamblers, and owns a thoroughbred race horse. The 38-year-old principal seems to think of his $133,000-a-year city job as an annoyance. “This whole work thing kills my Twitter time,” he allegedly posted on May 16 under the user name @albundypolkhigh, a Twitter account that was deleted by Friday morning. The night before, a whistleblowing educator, acting on behalf of several teachers at the school, filed a complaint against Schwartz with the Special Commissioner of Investigation for city schools.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 07/02 – 07/08

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

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. Investigators determined that Fairhurst suffered a stroke in Sept. 2013 and was homebound starting in 2014. According to Quinn’s office, she lived in one unit of a Westport duplex while the other side was occupied by Medeiros and her family. 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.”

Waitress Who Stole Almost $500,000 From Elderly Widow Sentenced To Jail

Over the course four years, a waitress at a Brooklyn diner used information from one of her regular patrons to write checks, open lines of credit and otherwise spend nearly half a million dollars on shopping, gambling trips and vacations. Now, she’s looking at a few years in jail—and paying back the money. Legall spent more than $200,000 on retail, restaurants, hotels and clubs from New York to Atlantic City and as far away as Miami. Additionally, she pulled nearly $75,000 in cash advances using the widow’s credit cards. Finally, stealing the unknowing elderly woman’s identity, Legall opened profiles linked to her own phone and email with online gambling sites to bet on horse racing. “This defendant preyed on an elderly and lonely widow, gained her trust and then used the victim’s money as her own private bank account to pay for gambling, vacations and other expenses,” said Attorney General Gonzalez. “Her greedy betrayal was egregious and deplorable. My Office will remain vigilant in protecting our seniors and other vulnerable residents from abuse and exploitation.”

Houston Politician Says Texas Poker Clubs are Illegal Following Recent Card Room Shooting 

Houston City Councilman Greg Travis told a talk radio host he believes Texas poker clubs are “illegal under Texas law,” but card room operators disagree. On April 30, Tom “3betpanda” Steinbach was shot outside the Texas Card House, a social poker club in the Austin area. Steinback was not killed, but the violence raises concerns about safety and security at private card rooms in the Lone Star State. Travis, who was elected to Houston’s City Council District G in November 2015, took his concerns one step further. “I am not one of these people that is opposed to (poker) by any measure, but I do have a problem when it’s illegal,” Travis told the hosts of Poker Lab Radio on Houston’s SportsTalk790 in response to a question about Texas poker clubs. “And right now, it is illegal under Texas law. When asked how he would vote if it were up to him to decide whether or not his poker clubs should be allowed in his city, he emphatically said, “I would have to vote no because I’m not going to go against state law.”*

Polk County man gets 15 years in prison for 214 counts of dog fighting, animal cruelty

A Polk County man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison and another 35 on probation for more than 100 counts each of dog fighting and animal cruelty. It all started with a tip to Polk County police back in August 2017. Sadly, that tip uncovered exactly what police feared on Cashtown Road – several dogs nearly starved to death. Several months later, the police chief explained why the animal cruelty charges never escalated to felonies. “We wanted felony, but according to the statute, it has to be aggravated, which means he has to break their bones or damage them, so it doesn’t meet the threshold of a felony,” said Polk Co. Police Chief Kenny Dodd. The judge’s leeway in sentencing varied widely from a year to life in prison. The defense called that proposal that ridiculous and wanted a year in jail with credit for the 5 months he had already served. He told the judge that the state’s problem with dog fighting isn’t violence but rather that it’s a form of gambling that isn’t taxable. Upon hearing those claims, the woman rehabilitating Dani the dog described his words as “heartless.”

Gambling addict from Sheffield who lost over £500,000 says more support is needed to save lives 

David Bradford was jailed after stealing from his employers, having amassed debts of more than £500,000 feeding his addiction. The 61-year-old, of Waterthorpe, has welcomed the Government’s decision to slash the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBT) from £100 to £2, but he says more must be done to help problem gamblers. Numerous support groups exist for drug and alcohol addicts, he says there is just one NHS clinic in the whole of England for gambling addicts despite suicide rates being higher among that group. “The one thing that’s missing is someone to catch people when they become addicted, and to support them and their family,” said the former finance director, who now works as a courier. “There are lots of NHS clinics for drug addicts and alcoholics but there’s just one for gambling addicts, which is in London. You would have thought there would be a dozen or so covering different areas and helping people turn their lives around. People die of suicide through gambling than through drug or alcohol addiction. “If my family had disowned me, which would have been quite understandable, I dread to think where I would have ended up.”

Reno’s Boomtown casino accused of violating Internet law

State regulators have accused Boomtown casino in Reno of violating Nevada’s Internet laws by linking in with two foreign companies that offered gaming websites. The Nevada Gaming Control Board, in a complaint filed Wednesday, is asking Boomtown be fined or have disciplinary action taken against its licenses for the violations that took place between March and August 2017. The casino has a chance to challenge the accusations. The complaint says Boomtown found it was too expensive to offer free games on its website. So it selected Affiliate Edge and Deck Media, both based in Curacao, to provide the service. It said these firms offered 15 games, 11 of them allowing wagering by U.S. customers. The gaming board said a Boomtown casino advertisement was on three of the sites and Boomtown received a commission on the amount of money lost. Affiliate Edge sent Boomtown a commission, according to the complaint prepared by Senior Deputy Attorney General John Michela. The law says Internet gaming isn’t allowed unless licensed by the state. Boomtown never received a license. In addition, it charges this was an unsuitable method of operations that reflected discredit on the state and Nevada’s gaming industry.

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