Category Archives: Crime

A Brief Look at Crime 02/13 – 02/19

Broward insurance firm-turned-‘Ponzi scheme’ cost Florida, policyholders $100 million

The final act in the little-noticed liquidation of a Fort Lauderdale-based insurance company that regulators say evolved into a “Ponzi scheme” that cost Florida and its policyholders more than $100 million is set to unfold in court this spring. The Florida Department of Financial Services’ fraud case is an offshoot of its receivership of AequiCap, the property and casualty insurance company the state was forced to take over – and pay claims for – when it went belly up in 2011. It was one of Florida’s largest insurance company failures. AequiCap’s chairman and principal owner was South Florida insurance, taxi and private school entrepreneur Philip Morgaman, a longtime business partner of Broward Yellow Cab kingpin Jesse Gaddis. State court filings say Morgaman milked big money from AequiCap, using the insurer’s funds to provide him with “a form of self-insurance for his business ventures unaffiliated with AequiCap as well as to perpetuate his extravagant lifestyle.” DFS spokeswoman Carr said Florida settled to obtain “a guaranteed recovery for an estate with overwhelming losses – over $100 million” and to avoid “lengthy complex litigation” that would have eaten up most of the insurance policy’s proceeds. “The individuals did not appear to be collectible, and the financials of Phil Morgaman showed him to have huge gambling losses and other financial problems,” Carr said.

Denial in pushing suicide 

A woman on trial for pushing her husband to kill himself denied the allegations in a Cranbrook court while admitting to having marriage troubles. Terri Reimer is accused of counselling her husband, Bill Reimer, to commit suicide as well as administering a noxious substance with the intent to endanger. He survived and is expected to be one of several witnesses the Crown will call to testify. Provincial court has previously heard that RCMP responded to a report of a suicidal man with a gun on March 22, 2016. Terri Reimer testified Thursday that her husband had a history of depression, recounting two other times she believed he was considering suicide. Reimer told the court that difficulties in their marriage over the past year stemmed from her infidelity and a $300,000 gambling debt she accumulated, but she denied counselling him to kill himself. “I would never tell him to commit suicide,” she said. “I love him too much. I still do.”

Clerk stole more than £330,000 from building firm – and 60 people could now lose their jobs

A trusted accounts clerk stole more than £330,000 from a building company to pay for her online gambling habit – and 60 jobs are now in jeopardy because of her thefts. Cardiff Crown Court heard how Beverley Pearce, 54, paid herself up to five times a month from the company accounts. Pearce began secretly transferring funds to herself in 2011 and carried on for five years. But she was found out in 2016, after 16 years of service to the company, when another employee noticed 90 unauthorised transactions from the company account to a B. Pearce. The court heard building company Brecongate is now struggling to survive because of her crimes. “She was shocked in her interview to realise how much money shehad taken” Defending Pearce, Claire Wilks said Pearce blamed her addiction to online gambling. She said: “It was almost not real money. Putting figures into the computer and gambling away.

Financial adviser guilty of embezzlement; clients included Mike Tyson, Dikembe Mutombo

A financial adviser working for Mike Tyson, Glen Rice and Dikembe Mutombo pleaded guilty Monday to embezzling more than $1 million from his clients; prosecutors alleged that the adviser used the death of Tyson’s daughter to hide some of the theft. Appearing in court with a full head of white hair, a tweed jacket and a healthy tan, 55-year-old Brian Ourand didn’t explain why he did it, but admitted to using fraudulent checks, credit cards and illegal wire transfers to steal from four professional athletes from 2006 to 2011. The indictment said Ourand used the money he stole for gambling debts, hotel stays, tanning salons, dental work, clothing, restaurants, home improvement purchases and private school tuition for his girlfriend’s relative.

Prosecutors did not name the other two athletes, but an earlier filing with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission obtained by ESPN stated that former NBA All-Star Dikembe Mutombo exposed the fraud when his “American Express card had been declined” and “there was activity on the card in Ourand’s name.” Federal prosecutors said Ourand stole at least $75,000 from a nonprofit created by “Athlete C” and spent another $40,000 of that athlete’s money by creating a fraudulent American Express card. The SEC filing stated that Ourand managed “the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, which funds humanitarian work in the Democratic Republic on the Congo,” where Mutombo was born.

YouTube star Nepenthez fined for running Fifa online gambling site used by children

A YouTube star and his businesspartner have been fined for running a gambling website connected to football game Fifa. Well-known gamer Craig Douglas, 32, and Dylan Rigby, 33, ran a site that enabled children to bet using the virtual currency of the footballvideo game. They both pleading guilty to offences under the UK’s Gambling Act. Douglas was fined £91,000 and Rigby was ordered to pay £164,000. Douglas, otherwise known as Nepenthez, promoted the site on his YouTube channel which has more than 1.3 million subscribers. The site, called FUT Galaxy, let people transfer the virtual currency from the Fifa game to place real-life bets – with winnings transferrable back to the game. But the Fifa currency can also be sold online, giving it a real-life value. The site is not unique – with the video game-gambling business thought to be worth billions of pounds. Sarah Harrison, chief executive of the UK’s gambling commission, told the BBC: “This was one of the most serious cases that has been investigated and prosecuted by the commission. “Its gravity is reflected in the significant financial penalties imposed by the judge.” She added that the impact online gambling had on children was “horrific” and “serious”.

Albanian migrant ‘murdered retired couple he thought were millionaires after racking up thousands in gambling debt

 

AN Albanian migrant murdered a retired married couple he thought were millionaires after racking up gambling debts, a court has heard. Ali Qazimaj, 43, stands accused of stabbing Peter Stuart, 75, nine times before trying to hide his body in tarpaulin in a water-filled ditch close to his Suffolk home. He is also charged with the murder of Peter’s wife, Sylvia, 69, even though her body has never been found. Prosecutors say Qazimaj murdered the couple at some point between May 29 and June 3 last year – but he denies this. The defendant claims he is the victim of mistaken identity and says he is called Vital Dapi. Ipswich Crown Court was yesterday told Qazimaj had a serious gambling problem and spent up to £1,000 a day on gaming machines at bookmakers near his home in Tilbury, Essex. He worked as a carer for Sidney Paxman, whose son, Steven, was married to the Stuarts’ daughter Christy. Prosecutor Karim Khalil QC said Sidney Paxman had given Qazimaj around £10,000 over a number of years and had told him that Mr and Mrs Stuart were millionaires. “Over the two years leading up to 2016, Sidney Paxman had given him the best part of £10,000,” said Mr Khalil. “Over these years Sidney Paxman will say he had told Ali Qazimaj about the Stuarts, describing them as millionaires, telling him about the difficulties between the Stuarts and Stephen (Paxman).” Qazimaj also boasted to Sidney about a contract killing and pointed out marshland to him, saying it would be an ideal place to hide a body, Mr Khalil told the court.

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

 


A Brief Look at Crime 02/06 – 02/12

Suspect killed at Jean casino 

The knife-wielding suspect who was shot and killed by a Metro officer at a Jean casino on Saturday had several self-inflicted stabbing wounds. That was some of the information shared by Undersheriff Kevin McMahill during a news conference this morning at Metro headquarters. Paul Carr Palmer, 50, of Sedona, Ariz., was naked and only wearing a pair of socks, armed with a knife and had charged at two security guards of the Gold Strike Hotel & Gambling Hall when Metro was summoned. Officer Peter Bicsanszky, 42, gave numerous verbal commands to which Palmer did not comply. Bicsanszky deployed his low-lethal shotgun, which was ineffective. Palmer, according to Metro, then charged toward Bicsanszky, causing him to fire his handgun; the suspect was struck multiple times. Despite the quick response from Clark County Fire Department who were already at the casino, Palmer died at the scene.

Valve Corp’s illegal skin gambling crackdown spills over Team Fortress 2

 

ESports developer Valve Corporation continues to purge online gambling sites taking advantage of its open application program interface. Valve – the folks behind the popular Counter Strike: Global Offensive eSports title – this time targeted online gambling sites catering to the first-person shooter multiplayer video Team Fortress 2 by blocking their accounts. It isn’t clear how many accounts of Team Fortress 2 gambling sites have been shut but Valve said that the move is a reiteration of their position that the company doesn’t tolerate skin betting. “In July of last year we outlined our position on gambling web sites, specifically noting that Valve has no business relationship with these sites. At that time we also began blocking many CSGO gambling accounts,” the company said in a statement posted on the TF2 blog. “More recently, some gambling web sites started leveraging TF2 items. Today we began the process of blocking TF2 gambling accounts as well. We recommend you don’t trade with these sites.” Valve came under fire from Washington state gaming regulators last year after YouTube stars Trevor “Tmartn” Martin and Tom “ProSyndicate” Cassel were caught skin betting on a gambling site they own without full disclosure. The eSports game developer, which is facing two separate lawsuits in Connecticut and Florida for its alleged relationship with skin betting websites, denied it profited in any manner from skin gambling.

Father-of-three hanged himself after battling a gambling addiction

The tracker on Mr McEwen’s van showed that he arrived at Otterspool Lane at around 4am. He had very small traces of cocaine and alcohol in his system, and there was an empty bottle of vodka on the roof of his van, an inquest heard today. He had been on a number of gambling sites in the days that led up to his death and had texted his boss asking him to pay his car loan. In a message addressed to his wife and children, he apologised for never having money and for being a gambler. Hertfordshire Coroners’ Court heard that he saw a doctor in 2014 because he believed he had depression. He was signed up for counselling sessions but never attended them.

2 suspects shot by deputies at San Manuel casino 

Two car-theft suspects were injured in a deputy-involved shooting at the San Manuel casino Wednesday night, officials said. The incident began when San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies responding to a stolen car report approached a vehicle on the fourth level of the casino’s parking structure, officials said. Shots were fired and the persons in the car attempted to drive off, making it only to the third level. They were taken into custody and transported to a local hospital. No further details were immediately available. The San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino remained open.

Two ex-cops helped run $4 million illegal sports-gambling operations

Two former cops, including one who once served state prison time for participating in an advertising scheme, were key members of illegal Internet-based sports gambling operations that hauled in about $4 million in wagers, said authorities. Each defendant pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday in state Supreme Court, St. George, and was released on his own recognizance. They are charged with conspiracy and multiple counts of first-degree promoting gambling. A conference date was set for March 21. According to separate indictments, Glazewski and Rossi were “master agents” who each managed bettor accounts from a wire room. The two men set up Internet gambling accounts with user names and passwords, the indictments say. Ciro Barone and Muro worked with Glazewski and gave the accounts to bettors, who made wagers through them on gambling web sites, the indictment said. Ciro Barone and Muro were responsible to recruit new clients, collect money from bettors and distribute winnings, said the indictment.

Middletown woman sentenced for forgery, embezzlement; to pay $535,000 restitution

Diane Fabian’s gambling addiction was so all-encompassing that even a car accident couldn’t stop her from heading to the casino. She told those assembled in Dauphin County Common Pleas Court during her sentencing hearing on Thursday a story from years ago, when she was broadsided in her car in a serious accident. All she could think about was how she would get to the casino that night. She called her son and rented a car so she could go to the casino. That addiction caused her to steal from her employer. She will spend 11 1/2 to 23 months in Dauphin County Prison and was ordered to pay $535,179.77 in restitution for embezzling money while she worked at a Lower Paxton Township insurance agency from 2008 to 2015. She could have started before 2008, but the bank records only went back to 2008 so that is all that investigators could document. She obtained money by creating refund checks that were to be paid to clients of the insurance agency where she worked, according to court records that were filed by Lower Paxton Township police, who arrested Fabian in March. Fabian forged signatures of the insurance agency clients on bogus refund checks. She then deposited the proceeds from each fake check that was paid by the agency into her own personal bank account.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 01/23 – 01/29

Murder case at Miccosukee casino a test for tribal police, state prosecutors

From suicides to overdoses to accidental drownings, the Miccosukee Police Department has investigated more than two dozen deaths over the decades. But the case of Fernando Duarte, a former U.S. Army Ranger shot to death on Christmas night in the parking lot of the tribe’s West Miami-Dade casino, is the first homicide on the agency’s books. One important element distinguishes this murder case from previous criminal investigations that have created friction between the state and tribe. Neither the victim or suspects are Miccosukee. The tribe has long defended its rights to govern independently and have bristled at authority of outsiders, including the federal government. The Miccosukee are embroiled in a years-long battle with the IRS, which says the tribe owes more than $262 million in unpaid taxes on gambling proceeds, and an additional $441 million in penalties and interest. In the late 1990s, the tribe refused to honor subpoenas on the reservation after tribal member Kirk Billie was arrested on charges of drowning his two children in a canal just off reservation land. Tribal elders “forgave” Billie, but he was later convicted in Miami-Dade circuit court and sent to state prison.

As an Indian tribe fought over casino money, leaders bled its bank accounts, feds say

Revenue from the casino’s 840 slot machines, blackjack tables and 24-hour restaurants is estimated at $100 million a year, according to the Sacramento Bee Every person in the 300-member tribe reaps a direct economic benefit from the casino — about $54,000 a year for each adult member. Casino money paid for a $3 million jet for the tribe, and, at one point, more than 10 pounds of gold. But the sudden bounty also led to a decade of infighting — at one point, literally, with military-grade weapons — among tribal members. And as tribe members fought, a federal indictment filed last week says, the people hired to safeguard the tribe’s wealth bled the tribe’s bank accounts. A family that worked for the tribe was accused last week of embezzling nearly $6 million, according to a federal indictment, using stolen funds to live what a band leader called “a life of obscene luxury.” “They and their co-conspirators used vicious and callous methods of intimidation and coercion to maintain access to the Tribe’s money, millions of which they stole in order to live a life of obscene luxury, while services to Tribal members went unfunded and Tribe members lived in fear of economic retaliation,” tribal Chairman Andrew Alejandre said in a statement. As the scheme unraveled, the indictment accuses the trio of lying to federal agents, fabricating documents and lying on tax returns to conceal years of theft.

Former principal charged with embezzling school funds sentenced to jail

A former middle school principal who pleaded guilty to embezzling school funds will be spending the next 30 days in jail for her crime. “She took $97,362 from the school. That’s two to three times what the average Jackson family makes a year,” said Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Nick Mehalco. “I understand her personal struggles put her in a place where she sought safety in a casino, but it’s one thing to have a gambling problem with your own money and it’s another when the money is earmarked for kids.” JPS officials reported the alleged embezzlement to police in September 2015 after audits of Parkside’s finances turned up irregularities and discrepancies in receipts and checks, JPS Superintendent Jeff Beal has said.

SugarHouse fined $100K for underage gambling by athletes from nationally ranked universities

Pennsylvania gambling regulators have fined SugarHouse Casino $100,000 for five incidents of underage gambling involving 10 individuals last year. At a regularly monthly meeting Wednesday, SugarHouse’s general manager, Wendy Hamilton, told members of the state Gaming Control Board that the Fishtown casino had “became popular with athletes from nationally ranked universities” in the area, but she did not identify them. The University of Pennsylvania was identified as one of the schools in a 16-page consent order. The second school was not identified. SugarHouse told the gaming board that it has started using new scanners that are better at picking up fake IDs, and that it has instructed security guards to ask tougher questions of individuals with suspicious IDs. Instead of just asking the individuals to recite the address and birthdate on the ID, a guard might ask the person what their Zodiac sign is, Hamilton said. The $100,000 fine for SugarHouse is among the largest levied for underage gambling by the gaming board. It is the biggest in the state since 2011.

Fort Smith insurer handed five years for million dollar gambling theft

Samuel Bowron Phillips was sentenced in federal court Wednesday to five years in prison for stealing nearly $1.6 million from insurance and annuity policyholders, which he frittered away in casinos to feed a gambling addiction. In pronouncing the sentence Wednesday, U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes III ordered Phillips to pay back $1,563,380 he took from the 20 victims in the case. Holmes said victims’ losses ranged from $2,000 to more than $200,000. “Virtually all funds illegally obtained by Mr. Phillips went into casinos in Oklahoma,” Rex Chronister, Phillips’ attorney, wrote in a sentencing memorandum. The memorandum said Phillips had $33,000 in credit card debt.

Woman ‘mercilessly’ exploited employer and brought firm to knees with £1.3million theft

A law firm boss told how her business was brought almost to its knees by her trusted personal assistantwho stole almost £1.3million pounds in three years. Most of the money taken by Sandra Ribeiro from Residential Lawyers Ltd of Cirencester was frittered away by her partner on Bingo and onlinegambling, Gloucester Crown Court was told. Claire Williams, director of Residential Lawyers Ltd, told the court the scale of the theft by Portuguese born Ribeiro, 41, had badly hit the firm’s reputation, delayed her retirement plans, and increased her insurance costs by more than £50,000 a year. She used to employ 12 people in the specialist conveyancing firm but that number has been halved as a direct result of the thefts, she said.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 01/16 – 01/22

Western Union Slammed For Aiding Crooks, Agrees To Pay $586 Million

Money transfer giant Western Union has agreed to pay $586 million in connection with its failure to prevent criminals from moving ill-gotten money using its platform, according to federal authorities. In a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission on Thursday, authorities describe insufficient or poorly enforced policies that resulted in the funneling of hundreds of millions of dollars in proceeds from illegal gambling, fraud and drug and human trafficking. Western Union admitted to criminal violations including its willful failure to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program and aiding and abetting wire fraud. “Western Union owes a responsibility to American consumers to guard against fraud, but instead the company looked the other way, and its system facilitated scammers and rip-offs,” says FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez. Authorities say that employees allowed or aided and abetted fraudsters in processing illicit proceeds and that the company knew about it. However, rather than firing them, Western Union allowed the employees to continue working for the company and even paid them bonuses.

Mom is out gambling as 11 children die in house fire

Virginia Williams, then in her late 20s, was out gambling 20 years ago when 11 of her children died in a house fire. She’s had six more children since, and some of them say she’s abused them. She was imprisoned for abuse. Periodically, the state has intervened in the children’s behalf, but the family remains racked by problems. Some blame Williams, who has a mental disorder and gambling addiction. Some blame the state. Some blame both. Williams, a compulsive gambler, abused and neglected her second family much as she did her first, her children and court records allege. The state of Illinois knew this was happening but left the children vulnerable again and again. Again there were danger signs, and again the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, the juvenile court and other agencies stepped in. But their efforts, those familiar with the case say, were inconsistent and ineffective. Two of these children are so damaged psychologically they may be dangerous to others, concludes one psychologist after reviewing information provided by the Post-Dispatch. The story of the two sets of Williams children, and how history came to repeat itself so grimly, is an entwined tale of a dysfunctional mother and a broken system that, far too often, failed to protect its most vulnerable children.

Las Vegas Sands paying $7M to settle corrupt practices probe

Billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s casino company is paying almost $7 million to U.S. authorities to end a more than five-year corrupt practices investigation of the firm’s former relationship with a consultant in Macao and China, company and federal officials said Thursday. With the agreement, Las Vegas Sands Corp. resolved twin probes of more than $60 million paid to an unnamed agent retained in 2006 to acquire a Chinese basketball team, plus other business dealings that include a Beijing real estate deal to promote casinos on the Cotai Strip of Macao, U.S. Justice Department and FBI officials said. The $6.96 million penalty was in addition to a $9 million civil payment the company made in April to settle a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation that found some payments to the consultant weren’t properly authorized or documented, the government said.

Woman who stole from her Mankato employer ordered to pay $124,000 restitution

A St. Peter woman who allegedly stole from her Mankato employer must pay restitution and spend a decade on probation. Vanessa Wynn Kuder, 42, was convicted Tuesday of felony theft by swindle. Two other felony charges were dismissed in a plea deal. She was ordered to pay $124,000 in restitution and serve 10 years probation with conditions including she must undergo psychological and gambling addiction evaluations. Kuder worked as an accounts payable manager for a property management company. She made unauthorized charges on her company credit card and then forged company checks and made unauthorized money transfers to pay off the credit card in 2015 and early 2016, according to the criminal complaint.

Man dies months after being hit with beer mug; death ruled a homicide

A 51-year-old man who was hit in the head with a beer mug in November has died, and the island’s medical examiner has ruled the death a homicide. An autopsy performed Thursday confirmed the man died from a skull fracture and brain damage, according to Dr. Aurelio Espinola, chief medical examiner. A magistrate’s complaint states Nakamura was gambling with a man named Henry on Nov. 9 at the Slurp n Burp Bar in Harmon, when Henry decided he wanted to stop. Nakamura allegedly tried to get Henry to continue to gamble, at which point Arriola confronted Nakamura, telling him to leave Henry alone, documents state. Arriola told authorities Henry is his friend.

Genovese family mobsters busted for offshore gambling ring

More than a dozen reputed members of New York’s infamous Genovese crime family have been arrested on a slew of charges stemming from a bust dubbed “Operation Shark Bait.” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office says the 13 mobsters indicted Thursday were part of a lucrative illegal offshore gambling ring that also trapped victims in loan schemes. The defendants allegedly ran the multimillion-dollar gambling operation through a wire room in Costa Rica that handled wagers on college and professional sports. Schneiderman says the group’s loansharking business charged “outrageous” interest rates on loans that were impossible to repay. Investigators captured much of the suspects’ alleged illegal interactions through intercepted conversations. Two mobsters were also charged with evading state taxes for selling more than 30,000 illegal cigarettes in New York.

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

 


A Brief Look at Crime 01/09 – 01/15

1 employee dead, 1 hurt in shooting at Oklahoma casino

Authorities say one person is dead and another is injured after a shooting involving two employees at an Oklahoma casino. The shooting happened Tuesday morning at the Grand Casino Hotel & Resort in Shawnee, about 35 miles southeast of Oklahoma City. The casino is run by the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. The tribe’s police chief, James Collard, says the shooting occurred in an administrative area and not on the casino’s floor. He says no other employees or casino visitors were at risk. Citizen Potawatomi Nation spokeswoman Jennifer Bell says the casino is secure and that the tribe is working with tribal, federal and state law enforcement in the investigation.

Former tribal leaders indicted on charges they looted $6 million from Corning’s Rolling Hills Casino

Three former officials of the tribe that owns the Rolling Hills Casino in Corning were indicted Thursday on charges they embezzled at least $6 million from the tribal coffers and used the money to purchase cars, international junkets, gold coins and landscaping for their homes with such features as koi ponds and a putting green. The 69-count indictment by a federal grand jury in Sacramento alleges that John Crosby, the tribe’s onetime economic development director; Ines Crosby, his mother and the former tribal administrator; and Leslie Lohse, Ines Crosby’s sister and the former tribal treasurer, engaged in a sweeping conspiracy to loot the tribal bank accounts, then lied to FBI agents investigating the matter. The indictment follows years of controversy involving the tribal government and the casino. Warring factions in the tribe at various times engaged in an armed standoff outside the casino, went to court over control of the casino and endured a cyberattack that destroyed computer records – one that the indictment blames on the three defendants. The dispute also included a lawsuit claiming wrongdoing under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act that named the defendants and more than a dozen others.

Second man to stand trial in $1.2 million swindle of elderly woman

A Nevada man accused of assisting a Joplin man in bilking almost $1.2 million out of an elderly woman has been ordered bound over for trial. Buller is accused of assisting Eric S. Davis, 40, of Joplin, in deceiving an elderly Nevada woman into selling all her stock in a major oil company and giving the cash to Davis to help him get out of legal trouble that they convinced her he was facing in a court in Kansas City. An examination of her living trust account at a bank by an investigator with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services determined that between January 2011 and February 2012, the woman made 16 cash withdrawals totaling almost $1.2 million in amounts ranging from $20,000 to $95,000. Eric Davis purportedly told an investigator that he was a regular patron at a casino in Oklahoma and “may have gambled away” all the money he received from an elderly woman.

Hawaiian Gardens Casino Part of Money Laundering Probe: Could Lose License

A Los Angeles area casino, the Hawaiian Gardens Casino, may lose its gambling license following accusations made by the California Bureau of Gambling Control that executives of the property failed to comply with federal anti-money laundering laws. The Gardens Casino has already admitted to deficiencies in its ability to obey the federal law, according to state and federal officials. “In view of that nondisclosure and admitted violations of federal and state laws, respondents continued licensure undermines the public trust that licensed gambling does not endanger the public health, safety and welfare,” the accusation reads. A hearing on this matter is yet to be scheduled and, as such, the casino will be allowed to remain open.

1.5M accounts exposed after eSports org balks at hacker’s ransom demand

The eSports Entertainment Association (ESEA)confirmed today that an unidentified malefactor breached ESEA servers last year, then published a trove of ESEA user data online this month after their attempts to ransom the data were rebuffed. This is significant because of the size of the breach: ESEA is one of the largest /Counter-Strike /communities in the world, [who recently came under illegal gambling allegations], and a representative of ESL (Electronic Sports League, the parent company of ESEA since 2015) told CSO today that roughly 1.5 million accounts had been exposed by the afore-mentioned data leak. (It’s also something you should know about if you happen to have ever created an ESEA account!) Devs who oversee their own vaults of player data may be curious to read ESEA’s timeline of how the whole thing played out: it all started when a “threat actor” reportedly contacted the company in late December asking for a bounty of $100,000, or else they would publish a parcel of info that encompassed both player data and ESEA tech data.

Tampa lawyer accused of bilking nearly $1 Million from clients’ trust accounts

As the I-Team uncovered, a local attorney is now under suspension by the Florida Bar, after bank records show he spent nearly a million dollars of clients’ money at casinos, gun stores and fancy restaurants. The Florida Bar subpoenaed hundreds of pages of bank records related to that case, which appear to show Clark transferred money from his client’s trust accounts into his own bank account. They show Clark spent more than $518,000 at the Hard Rock Casino, $13,000 at bars and liquor stores, $21,000 at gun stores and $17,000 on meals at a casino steakhouse. Clark also paid for vacations in the Bahamas, London, Paris and Amsterdam. The Florida Supreme Court issued an emergency suspension of Clark’s law license, which went into effect last month. After multiple attempts to locate Clark, we found him working on his BMW at his South Tampa home, which is under foreclosure.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 01/02-01/08

Arrest made in casino hit-run death, Coconut Creek police say

Police announced the arrest of a 25-year-old woman Tuesday night in connection with the hit-and-run death of a man in the driveway of the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek. “I have to return to New Jersey…and I really wanted an arrest before I had to go,” Edelstein’s sister, Sheryl DiDomenico, said Tuesday night about 30 minutes after police called and informed her of the arrest. “I understand accidents, but I cannot comprehend how somebody could hit someone and just leave them lying there. It’s horrible.” By 11 p.m. the same day Edelstein was hit, police had located a gray 2003 Toyota Corolla described by witnesses. The car was at an address in North Lauderdale, police said. Edelstein wasn’t a drinker but he frequented a small casino bar where he would order coffee and chat with friends. He used the Seminole Casino as his social club, a Hollywood friend, Karen Tarte, told the Sun Sentinel.

Dad says quit gambling for New Year after son’s suicide over debts

A dad whose son hanged himself over his gambling debts has urged people who bet large amounts of money to give it up in the New Year. John Myers, 57, from Huyton, said the Christmas period was difficult for his family without his son Ryan, who committed suicide aged 27 after losing thousands of pounds on fixed-odds machines in 2014. He said the costs of the festive season made it tough for cash-strapped gambling addicts too, but were also a good opportunity for them to acknowledge their problems and seek help. He revealed that he discovered after Ryan’s death that his son, a carpenter, once took out a payday loan to buy presents after running out of cash. An inquest ruled that Ryan took his own life, after he left a tragic Facebook message apologising for letting people down. John Myers, who started a petition for tougher gambling laws, said: “This time of year is a really hard time for gamblers, because of all the pressures of Christmas. It should be a wake-up call if you have kids and family, and have no money to pay for them, to seek help for their sake at least

$2.5M seized from Southfield gambler’s luggage was scam proceeds

In a sensational case that’s unfolding in U.S. District Court in Detroit, the federal government says it has uncovered a scheme involving a professional gambler from Southfield and two cohorts who allegedly scammed investors out of hundreds of thousands of dollars to bankroll gambling sprees in Las Vegas. Prosecutors say 50-year-old Brian Benderoff of Southfield and his two unnamed associates pulled off this scheme until they arrived at Detroit Metro Airport in June with more than $2.5 million in their luggage — most of it cash. According to that 2008 lawsuit, Benderoff allegedly conned a travel agent out of more than $600,000 in loans — promising to pay it back, but instead gambling it all away. According to the lawsuit, Benderoff had high-roller status at Bally’s Park Place, Caesars and Tropicana — all of which bought him first-class airline tickets through a travel agency that operated out of Caesars Hotel and Casino. Given Benderoff’s status, the travel agent agreed to cash Benderoff’s personal checks when he showed up at the office looking for money to cover his gambling losses. According to the lawsuit, Benderoff wrote the travel agent four checks totaling almost $300,000. In return, the agent gave Benderoff American Express travelers checks. But all of Benderoff’s checks bounced, the lawsuit said.

Gambler owes Bloomfield Hills doctor $2.6 million

A Southfield gambler whose cash-stuffed luggage landed him on the federal government’s radar this month has another legal headache to deal with: A doctor who claims the same man stiffed him out of $2.6 million. According to a lawsuit filed in Oakland County Circuit Court, Bloomfield Hills physician Sheldon Gonte loaned $2.6 million in 2015 to 50-year-old Brian Benderoff of Southfield to support Benderoff’s various business investments. But Benderoff never paid the money back, even though he signed several promissory notes vowing to do so, the lawsuit claims. According to the lawsuit, Gonte loaned the money to Benderoff because Benderoff’s business partner was the doctor’s brother, who had initially borrowed more than $2 million from their parents to support his business. But the parents never got their money back, the lawsuit claims, so the doctor loaned the pair money to make sure his parents wouldn’t get stiffed. According to the lawsuit, the parents never got repaid; neither did Gonte.

Arson suspect killed by Reno police drove into 2 officers

Sparks police say a robbery and arson suspect fatally shot by Reno police on Dec. 21 knocked two officers down with his car in a Reno casino parking lot before they opened fire. Sparks Police Lt. Mike Keating said Thursday 38-year-old Raymond Salaiz refused orders to exit his vehicle, started it as they tried to remove the keys and quickly backed up. Keating says Salaiz dragged one officer a short distance and knocked both down before exiting the lot at the Gold Dust West Casino and colliding with another vehicle. He died that night at a Reno hospital.

Woman Jailed for Stealing $427K from Thompson Auto in Doylestown to Play Bingo

The former office manager of the Thompson Organization in Doylestown was sent Thursday to the Bucks County Correctional Facility for stealing more than $427,000 from her employer over a 10-year period. She blamed an addiction to high-end bingo games for the thefts. Investigators found no evidence that she spent the stolen money on anything but bingo, which Lutz attended at volunteer fire companies or other charitable organizations several times each week. Lutz pleaded guilty on November 7 to a long list of felony theft-related charges. She admitted that from February 2006 to January 2016, she consistently stole money from her employer by a variety of means, and then altered computer records to cover her tracks.

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A Brief Look at Crime 12/19-12/25

JPMorgan Chase Charged in Stealing $5 Mil From Bank to Pay Off Gambling Debts

A former JPMorgan Chase & Co employee who has been ordered to attend counseling for gambling is facing criminal charges that he engaged in a scheme to defraud the bank out of $5 million in order to pay personal debts. The complaint against Obracanik did not identify JPMorgan by name. But a profile for him on LinkedIn said that he had worked for the bank in Texas. A spokesman for JPMorgan declined co comment. The bank is based in New York. According to the complaint, from July 2014 to February 2016, Obracanik made or tried to make 22 wire transfers for more than $5 million from an account at a bank that was apparently JPMorgan to an account at another bank belonging to an unnamed individual. The complaint said that during an interview with two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents in August, Obracanik admitted wiring the money to that person’s account and said that he had done so to pay personal debts.

Woman Accused of Embezzling $500K From Employer Used it For Gambling

A woman arrested for allegedly embezzling $500,000 from her employer in Escondido, pleaded not guilty in court on Friday. Prosecutors say Sheila Jo Jackson, 46, was stealing the money from Betz Concrete to fuel a gambling addiction. She faces several felony charges including embezzlement by employee, forgery, grand theft and identity theft Prosecutors say Jackson’s employer told her to close the company’s Bank of America account back in 2012, but she secretively kept them open, using her position as office manager to have continued access to them. “Its just unfortunate when a small family owned business, the owner who was on site and trying to grow his business,” said Deputy District Attorney Anna Winn. In November, a bank employee noticed the suspicious signatures and contacted the owner. Escondido police reached out to local casinos and found a player’s card registered under Jackson’s name. The car had been frequently used over the span of five years, indicated that she had been at slot machines where more than $1,000,000 was played. 

Woman who beat her husband to death pleads guilty to manslaughter

An Edmonton woman who beat her husband to death with various items, including a broken curtain rod, pleaded guilty to manslaughter Friday. Nyuk Len Hwang, 55, was charged with second-degree murder for the Aug. 25, 2013, killing of Teck Hwang, 56; however, the Crown accepted her plea to the lesser and included offence. According to an agreed statement of facts, Hwang repeatedly hit her husband of 27 years with the shower curtain rod, a two-by-four piece of wood, a stone pestle, a yellow wooden stick and a red metal broom handle during a protracted argument over his gambling problem throughout the day at their northeast Edmonton home. And when the victim was unconscious, Hwang bit him on the inner thigh in an attempt to wake him.

Dozens arrested had mob ties in gambling ring bust 

The Genovese crime family controlled an offshore gambling venture through which members of four area mob groups placed millions of dollars in illicit sports bets, authorities charged Wednesday. Prosecutors accused more than 40 alleged mobsters, associates and wannabes of running the ring, which they said boasted more than 12,000 customers nationwide and raked in about $300,000 a week for the nation’s most powerful Mafia family. Capping an investigation by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and the New Jersey State Police, more than 100 officers fanned out across North Jersey early Wednesday, executing 25 search warrants at homes and businesses. Those arrested included Joseph “The Eagle” Gatto, who controlled one of two Costa Rican “wire rooms” that accepted the bets from associates of the Genovese, Lucchese, Bonanno/Massino and Gambino crime families, authorities said.

Former Basehor, Kan., business owner sentenced for $856,000 tax fraud 

The former owner of a Basehor, Kan., business was sentenced Tuesday to a year in prison for failing to pay more than $850,000 in payroll taxes. Elizabeth Lucero, 53, of Basehor, was ordered to pay $856,784 in restitution as part of Tuesday’s sentencing in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan. Lucero owned Sunshine Home Health Care Center in Basehor. From 2007 to 2011, she withheld taxes from employee paychecks, but failed to turn the money over to the federal government. During that time, company funds were used to pay Lucero’s personal expenses, including money spent on gambling and a $50,000 Cadillac Escalade, according to federal prosecutors.

Court awards pension to wife of URI clerk who embezzled tuition money

A Superior Court judge has ruled that the wife of a former University of Rhode Island employee who stole students’ payments can receive a portion of his pension, but not until after her husband fully pays the $200,000 in restitution he owes. Judge Jeffrey Lanphear agreed to allow Diane Randall to receive a $1,667 monthly pension as the “innocent” spouse of Fred L. Randall, a longtime state employee who admitted to embezzling $200,000 in tuition payments from URI from 2004 until 2011 to fund his his addiction to gambling. “As indicated, she is free from guilt, but not necessarily free from fault as she not only gambled, but received compensation in the form of casino rewards for the large amounts gambled,” Lanphear wrote. “Mrs. Randall’s receipt of some benefit from the illicit scheme, as minor as it may or may not be, necessarily factors into whatever discretion the court may have in meting out an award as justice may require.”

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