Category Archives: Crime

A Brief Look at Crime 02/18 – 02/24

Worker steals $167K from Troutdale restaurant

A former worker with a gambling problem was sentenced to prison Friday for stealing $167,240 from a family-owned restaurant in Troutdale. Keeya Danielle Deshazo pleaded guilty in September to stealing the money from La Costita Restaurant over the course of at least a year beginning in 2015. The 41-year-old took cash that should have been deposited into their bank account and kept deposit slips as “IOUs” for the restaurant. During the sentencing, Judge Gregory Silver said, “Addiction can have terrible consequences and this is a good example of that.” Deshazo, who was sentenced to a 17-month prison sentence, surrendered $10,000 for La Costita and was ordered to repay the remaining $157,240. After the sentencing, Multnomah County Deputy DA Sam Leineweber said the amount of money she stole had an enormous impact on La Costita. “The restaurant will feel the impacts of this theft for years to come.”

No post-conviction relief for former CSI employee who embezzled more than $530,000 

A judge denied a post-conviction relief request earlier this month from a former College of Southern Idaho employee who embezzled more than $530,000 from the college. Dawn Marie Orr — a former CSI business office employee — pleaded guilty to five felony counts of grand theft. She was sentenced in July 2015 in Twin Falls County Fifth District Court to at least 10 years in prison, with the potential of serving up to 70 years. Orr was also ordered to pay $677,735.58 in restitution. Orr filed a petition for post-conviction relief in August 2017. In a judgment Jan. 10, Judge Benjamin Cluff dismissed the case. Orr “has not borne her burden in proving that she is entitled to post-conviction relief,” according to a memorandum decision. n a nearly full courtroom during her 2015 sentencing, Orr cried as she apologized to family members, friends and former coworkers. “I will never forgive myself for what I’ve done,” she told the crowd. During the sentencing, Stoker said it was the worst embezzlement case he has seen in his 40 years in Twin Falls. Stoker called the crime “outrageous” and an affront to the community. Orr — an assistant in the CSI business office for 17 years — admitted she had a gambling problem. She exchanged checks for cash from the safe and overstated third-party billings.

Crime Rises Dramatically in MGM Springfield Area

The casino faced some problems at the start of operations. Among them was an issue of underage gamblers getting onto the casino floor. This was blamed on the large numbers of people visiting the newly open casino.The design of the casino floor was another problem because the restaurant and shopping areas in the resort provide very easy access to the floor of the casino. Management has been looking at ways to curb this issue. With concerns about problem gambling in the local area and the state as a whole, some new policies have been established. All casino staff members are now trained to help them spot those who may be suffering from problem gambling. They now have the skills and knowledge about what they need to do in this situation.

Now there is another significant problem for the MGM Springfield. According to the local police, the casino is a magnet for crime. A report from the ABC television affiliate WCVB said that the area of the casino is seeing double the amount of crime in its initial four months than the other major casino in the state saw in an entire year. This other establishment is the Plainridge Park Casino, which is run by Penn National. According to figures from the Massachusetts State Police, there were 208 incidents and 120 arrests inside the MGM Springfield from September through December. That included 16 robberies and larcenies, 5 assaults, and 2 sexual offenses. There were 22 crimes in the area in the three months before opening. In the following five months, there were 115 crimes. In the entire year of 2018, there were 115 incidents at the Plainridge Park Casino. A report is expected in March about public safety in the area of the facility. Since Plainridge Park opened in June 2015, there has been no uptick in crime levels. This clearly cannot be said for the MGM Springfield. A lot of work needs to be done to curb this issue in the future.

Man Shot Twice after Fight over Gambling Winnings

A local man is recovering after suffering two gunshot wounds in an early morning incident. The Little Rock Police Department (LRPD) says Joe Galburth, 33, drove himself to the emergency room around midnight Tuesday. When officers interviewed the man at the hospital he told them he had been shot after an argument over money he had won playing blackjack. Galburth told police he had struggled with another man who had a gun in his waistband before running outside of The Platinum Rose. He said he then jumped into a car someone had left running with the keys inside and took off. At the hospital, officers took Galburth’s clothing and $1655 in cash as evidence, said the LRPD incident report. Detectives noted blood on the inside of the vehicle on the driver’s side and a bullet hole in the front passenger door of the car in which Galburth had escaped the scene. Police say he had felony warrants for his arrest that will be served when he is released from the hospital.

Gambling and argument lead up to shooting death of Branson Tucker

Both men alleged to have been involved in the death of 34-year-old Branson Tucker had preliminary hearings this morning. In the case against 59-year-old Kenneth Cobb, probable cause was determined and he will be bound over to Allen County Common Pleas Court. He is being held on one count of murder. During the hearing, Detective Todd Jennings said he learned Cobb and Jerome Fuqua were gambling with three other at 975 St. Johns Ave. Cobb told officials he was struck in the head before a skirmish unfolded. Jennings said the other witnesses believed it was just a disagreement from the gambling. “He told us that, he was down there with Branson and some other people,” Jennings said. “They were gambling. He was hit in the side of the head by someone, while he was down there. A fight broke out. Once the fight calmed down, he told us he took the gun from Branson and then went to shoot Branson in the leg.” Cobb is being held on a $1 million bond.

N.J.-licensed online gambling site slapped with fine after glitch allows under-21 bets

New Jersey gambling regulators have levied their first fine for underage internet gambling, assessing the company behind the playsugarhouse.com website $30,000 for allowing underage gamblers to place bets online for more than a year. The state Division of Gaming Enforcement said Wednesday that the activity happened between November 2016 and January 2018 due to a software defect that did not accurately record patrons’ birthdates. It has since been fixed. Thirteen people between the ages of 18 and 20 were able to create accounts and make online bets worth nearly $5,000. Gamblers must be at least 21 to make legal bets in New Jersey. The fine was issued Jan. 7 and made public Wednesday. It was the first for underage internet gambling issued by New Jersey regulators since online gambling began in the state in Nov. 2013, according to Kerry Langan, a spokeswoman for the gaming enforcement division. Rush Street Interactive NJ and the state agreed on the $30,000 penalty.

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

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A Brief Look at Crime 02/11 – 02/17

Maine man gets 15 months for state’s largest gambling operation

A Maine man who netted millions running an illegal sports gambling operation is going to prison for 15 months. Sixty-two-year-old Stephen Mardigan was sentenced Tuesday after pleading guilty in May to unlawful gambling, money laundering and filing a false tax return. The Portland Press Herald/ reports that Mardigan ran what’s believed to have been Maine’s largest gambling operation out of his Portland home and his used car dealership from 2003 to 2017. Court documents say bets typically ranged from $30 to thousands of dollars, but two gamblers in particular wagered nearly $5 million through Mardigan. Mardigan wrote to the judge that he’s addicted to gambling and that he has been attending weekly meetings of Gamblers Anonymous. He wrote, “I now realize that I was out of control.”

‘Elaborate lie’: Con artist found guilty on 22 counts in Grand Reserve fraud case 

A federal jury in Columbus has found an Alabama con artist guilty of 22 felonies for inducing the stepmother of Grand Reserve apartments owner Steve Corbett to send her more than $600,000 from the business while the stepmother was its chief financial officer. Authorities say Dorita Clay of Selma, Ala., took the money she got from Darlene Corbett and either spent it or gambled it away at casinos. “What the defendant really is, is a gambling addict,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Crawford Seals told jurors in his closing argument Wednesday morning. “She is not just a gambler. She is a flimflam artist.” Clay was better at swindling than gambling, Seals said: “The defendant is a terrible gambler.” Much of the money was wagered not on any game requiring skill, but on slot machines engineered to take in more than they pay out, he said: “We all know the house always wins.” Among those testifying during Clay’s trial was a representative of the Pearl River Resort in Philadelphia, Miss., who said Clay in 2015 wagered $1.8 million and lost $1.7 million, and the next year bet around $600,000 and lost about $500,000.

Desert Hot Springs man arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with December shooting

A Desert Hot Springs man was arrested Thursday on suspicion of murder in connection with a shooting that happened at an illegal gambling operation last month, authorities said. James Angel, 43, was booked into the county jail in Indio, a Desert Hot Springs news release said. The shooting occurred about 10 p.m. on Dec. 11 in the 66500 block of Pierson Boulevard, according to the city. The shooting victim was initially transported to the hospital before succumbing to his injuries roughly three days later. The arrest comes nearly three weeks after police spotted a vehicle that matched the description of one involved in a shooting at an illegal gambling operation near Pierson Boulevard and Palm Drive, city spokeswoman Doria Wilms said last month. The man allegedly shot at a detective before a vehicle pursuit, Desert Hot Springs police said. The next day, 26-year-old Indio resident Raymond Villegas was arrested. He later pleaded not guilty to all charges, including attempted murder of a police officer.

Man admits to stealing $388K from West Palm employer to support gambling habit

A man from West Palm Beach admitted to stealing more than $388,000 from his employer to support his gambling habit, West Palm Beach Police said. Neil Reisman, 60, is facing charges of grand theft and scheme to defraud. Authorities say Reisman forged the signature of his company’s CEO at FRI Investors to cash more than 150 checks worth a total of $388,300 from March 2015 to June 2016. Investigators say the amounts on each check grew from $500 to $4700. The frequency in which he cashed the checks also increased from about 4 times a month to 16 times a month. Police said Riesman also took steps to conceal the crimes by altering bank statements. According to the arrest report. Reisman admitted to spending money at the Seminole Casino in Coconut Creek. Reisman is due in court Monday morning. He’s being held at the Palm Beach County Jail on $15,000 bond.

Three Nabbed For Mob Gambling Ring In Area, DA Says

Three area men have been nabbed for running an illegal gambling ring and money laundering operation in Rockland County that took in more a $1 million. The three men, John Andriello, 66, of Pearl River; Marco Minuto, 60, of Old Tappan, New Jersey, and Brian Levine, 49, of Garnerville, were arrested Friday, Jan. 11, according to Acting Rockland County District Attorney Kevin Gilleece. The DA’s Office said the men made at least a million by accepting wagers on various sporting events, including professional and college football. According to the felony complaint, the highly sophisticated criminal enterprise was controlled by purported members of organized crime. “These arrests close down a highly lucrative gambling operation that benefitted organized crime with large amounts of money every year,” said Gilleece. “Make no mistake: illegal sports betting is by no means a victimless crime. Its proceeds underwrite more insidious forms of corruption, such as racketeering, drug trafficking, and loan sharking” All three defendants were charged with felony enterprise corruption and felony promoting gambling, the DA’s Office said.

Ex-All Blacks rugby star Regan King ‘tricked women out of thousands to fund gambling addiction’ 

A FORMER All Blacks rugby star has been accused of tricking women out of thousands of pounds to fund a gambling addiction. Regan King, 38, is said to have pleaded with the two women for help with cash flow problems but failed to pay them back. The ex-All Blacks and Scarlets centre admitted owing the women thousands of Australian dollars in emails, BBC Wales reports, but he has declined to comment. Diana Stalteri from Perth, in Western Australia, told the website she met King online in 2017 and was asked if he could borrow cash after a few months of them dating. The 40-year-old had just signed with Perth Rugby Club and Diana said she agreed to lend him some of the A$10,000 (£5,500) he asked for to pay off a debt. Diana, who ended the relationship in May 2018, said she gave the money on the condition she could see his contract and would have the money back at the end of the rugby season. She said: “It was an immediate family member that rang me with information about the money – that he had a gambling addiction, and the amount of money he owed people, particularly in New Zealand. Diana, who claims she has spoken with five other women who reported being duped by King, said she ended up in hospital “extremely sick from stress”. A second ex, Cheryl Wenninger, 47, also from Perth, claims she also lended King money when he appealed to her “compassionate side”.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 02/04 – 02/10

Once teen tennis prodigy turned to importing cocaine to pay off $500,000 in online gambling debts

A tennis prodigy whose life was destroyed by a gambling addiction that cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars has been jailed for importing cocaine to pay off his huge debts. James Willesee, whose uncle is the journalist Mike Willesee, began gambling at 16, was once $500,000 in debt and eventually lost property worth $600,000 as well as his mother’s superannuation. Downing Centre District Court heard the 29-year-old from Sydney’s northern beaches also had the odd big win – taking home $1million when Fiorente saluted in the 2013 Melbourne Cup. Once his junior playing career ended Willesee coached tennis in the gambling mecca Hong Kong and for several years after that worked for Tabcorp as a betting analyst. Having got himself deep into debt, Willesee took part in a $1.5million cocaine importation operation in which he had more than 5kg of the drug delivered to a prestigious Sydney golf club. Judge Robyn Tupman described Willesee’s gambling addiction as ‘the curse of his life and the cause of his ultimate downfall and the position he now finds himself.’ ‘Mr Willesee’s case is a tragic one,’ Judge Tupman said. ‘In my view the gambling industry has a lot to answer for in the way it overwhelmingly connects itself to mainstream sport in Australia. ‘The vulnerable in the community are significantly at risk of doing exactly what this person did.’

Feds reject probation request in ex-cop’s gambling embezzlement case

While a former Porter County officer is asking for a probation, the government is seeking prison time for his embezzlement of more than $180,000 from a police organization. Lawrence LaFlower, 43, pleaded guilty in October to one count of wire fraud for taking thousands of dollars from the Fraternal Order of Police Ewalt Jahnz Lodge No.165 in Valparaiso where he was the treasurer to support his gambling addiction, court records state. “LaFlower squandered over $180,000, much of which was donated from the generous contributions of hard working police officers and private citizens,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Abizer Zanzi said in court records. The FOP works to improve working conditions of police officers and does philanthropic work, including scholarships for students interested in careers in criminal justice and school supplies for students in need, Zanzi said. This was not a “momentary lapse in judgment” by LaFlower, according to Zanzi.

Rivers Casino bans woman for life for allegedly leaving 10-year-old in car

A Unity woman is accused of leaving her 10-year-old daughter alone inside a car in the Rivers Casino parking garage in Pittsburgh for more than six hours while she went inside to gamble. According to state police Sgt. Gerald Pflug, authorities plan to charge Nicole Marie Inks, 36, with endangering the welfare of children and reckless endangerment. The child was left alone in a car inside the parking garage about 8:40 p.m. Sunday, Pflug said. The child called 911 about 4 a.m. Monday to say her mom had left her. Inks told police that she initially went into the casino to buy a gift card and lost track of time. Inks was gambling when officials found her, Pflug said. It’s not the first time Inks has been in trouble in connection with gambling at Rivers Casino. She was arrested in January for allegedly stealing $1,346 from the Salem Township Subway restaurant where she worked on New Year’s Day and gambling away some of the stolen money at the casino.

UK Gambling Addict Stole More Than a Million From Employer to Fund Gambling Habit

Chris Girling recently pleaded guilty to embezzling £1 million ($1.26 million) from the Premier Education Group, a company that provides physical education programs to schools across the UK. As the man in charge of the company’s accounts and finances, he was well positioned to pilfer as much cash as he wanted. *“When I printed off those first lots of bank statements, I had to run to the toilet to be sick because that’s the first time I really knew how much I’d stolen,”* Girling told ITV News. For a period of more than three years, starting in March of 2014, Girling was moving money from company accounts to his own personal accounts. Every morning, he’d wake up and start playing the virtual slots – $125 per spin every few seconds – sometimes blowing more than $20,000 in a day. “It’s a silent addiction,” notes Girling, who is facing up to five years in jail. “You can do it on your phone all day every day. You could quite easily walk past someone in the street who has it.

Man dies after being shot by security guards at Henderson casino

An armed man died after being shot Tuesday by two Green Valley Ranch security guards, police said. The man was walking through the casino at about 3:40 p.m. when patrons notified security that he was carrying a handgun, Henderson Police Department Lt. Kirk Moore said. The man was confronted by three security guards in the east tower lobby, where the man reportedly drew his weapon, Moore said. Two of the guards shot at the man, who received medical attention at the casino but later died. No one else was injured and the casino was not evacuated. Moore said details were unknown about how many shots were fired or whether the man fired his weapon. The man’s identity will be released after his family is notified, Moore said.

Growing trend: Children left unattended in cars at casinos

Kelsi Costa had a bad feeling as soon as she saw the car. “I had to say something,” the Cumberland native thought as she walked into Twin River Casino nearly two years ago. Costa and her mother spotted the vehicle, engine running, parked near the back of the casino parking lot. Inside the car, officers said, were an 11-year-old, a 3-year-old and an infant. “If I was a parent, I could never, would never do that,” Costa said. Police later determined the parents left their children alone for almost two hours while they gambled inside Twin River. The Woonsocket couple was charged with neglect, although the charges were eventually dropped because, according to police records, “there hasn’t been any habitual offenses with the family on record.”

Through multiple open record requests, Boston 25 News discovered 14 incidents of children left unattended at Twin River in Lincoln, Rhode Island, and Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, Massachusetts since 2016. With MGM Springfield opening last August, and Encore Boston Harbor launching in Everett this spring, advocates are wary of what an influx of casinos could mean for families across New England, particularly families dealing with a gambling addiction. “Leaving children unattended in a car at a gaming facility would be a huge red flag,” for signs of addiction, said Marlene Warner, the executive director of the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling. “Kids don’t belong in a casino. Plain and simple,” Warner said. “A casino you’re not just running in for something. You’re running in and inevitably you’re going to spend more time than you think.”

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


A Brief Look at Crime 01/28 – 02/03

Two Nuns Alleged to Have Embezzled $500,000

Two longtime nuns at St. James Catholic School in Torrance allegedly embezzled as much as $500,000 in tuition, fees and donations, perhaps spending some of the money on trips and gambling at casinos while telling parents the school was operating on a shoestring budget, it was reported Thursday. The figure represents only what auditors have been able to trace in six years’ of bank records and might not include other cash transactions, officials from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles told parents and alumni at a meeting Monday night at St. James Catholic Church in Redondo Beach, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported. That’s when Kreuper became “very nervous and very anxious” about the upcoming financial review and requested that the staff alter records, the monsignor said. Meyers said he alerted an archdiocese internal auditor performing the review that “something was off” and that the auditor confirmed his suspicions. The archdiocese then hired an independent forensic auditor for a deeper review. Without the red flags raised by the check, Kreuper’s “strange” behavior and a tip made to an archdiocese ethics hotline, officials said the school would never have known about the problem.

Engelfield Green con-artist jailed after defrauding friends and colleagues out of more than £1 million

A man has been jailed after conning his friends and colleagues out of more than £1 million by convincing them to invest in a fake ‘horse feed’ business. Branko Sevic, 47 of Blays Lane, Englefield Gree, was sentenced to five years, seven months in prison at Guildford Crown Court on Wednesday (December 5). Sevic had left his home each morning telling his family that he was running a business. However bank statements show that he frequented coffee shops where he would access Wi-Fi and spend tens of thousands of pounds on online gambling sites and designer clothing instead. During their investigation police found that Sevic had admitted to two of his victims and also during a police interview that the business did not exist and that there was no money left. According to Surrey Police, Sevic was given a higher sentence due to the heart wrenching victim personal statements read to the court, revealing in detail the devastating impact his crimes had on the victims’ families. Investigating officer, PC Garvanovic of the Staines Local Proactive Unit, said: “Sevic’s damning bank statements reveal the true extent of his fraudulent activity. Over the past five years, he has exploited former work colleagues and friends, encouraging them to invest in his Ponzi scheme which was fronted by a fake business.”

Suspect shot sports agent over gambling dispute

Authorities on Thursday arrested a suspect accused of shooting a 57-year-old sports agent in what is believed to be a gambling dispute last week on the West Side. Raashon Fontelroy, 25, was charged with murder in connection to the death of LaPoe Smith Jr., who was known for representing professional basketball and football players. Fontelroy was arrested by members of the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force at about 11 a.m. at his apartment in the 1500 block of NW Crossroads, the location of the alleged killing on Nov. 30. Fontelroy, Smith and others are believed to have been partying and throwing dice at Fontelroy’s apartment prior to the shooting. Ofc. Doug Greene, a spokesman for the department, said money was going back and forth between the players, but at some point, Smith decided to walk away. He went to his car in the parking lot, where he was allegedly confronted by an angry Fontelroy. “Mr. Fontelroy may have been upset about the money that he may have lost during that interaction in the apartment complex,” Greene said. Smith tried to flee in his vehicle, but Fontelroy allegedly opened fire, striking him. Smith was able to drive about a block away before he crashed near Potranco and Culebra and was ejected from his vehicle.

Former Greensburg Attorney Pleads Guilty To Embezzling From Clients To Pay Gambling Losses

A Campbellsville man pleaded guilty before the United States District Court on Friday to five counts of wire fraud. Officials say this was part of a scheme to obtain money from clients of his legal practice, by means of misappropriating funds, in order to pay personal expenses including gambling losses. Danny Butler, 72, was indicted Nov. 15. According to the indictment, Butler was a licensed attorney. He operated a legal practice in Greensburg and provided clients with a broad range of legal services including probate, general civil, and government benefits. According to the plea agreement before the court, from August 2009 through October 2016, Butler obtained money by false pretenses from the clients of his legal practice by not performing work for his clients and by stealing funds belonging to estates of his clients. Butler could be sentenced to a maximum 100 years in prison, fined $1,250,000, and be required to serve a three year period of supervised release. Sentencing is scheduled for March 4, 2019.

62-year-old man shot, killed at south Orlando home amidst gambling dispute

A 62-year-old man was shot and killed at a home in south Orlando on Sunday evening, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said. Deputies found the man, whom they have not identified, with a gunshot wound to the chest around 6 p.m. at 1456 35th St. The suspect, a 37-year-old man, was located at the scene and “secured,” deputies said. Firefighters transported the victim to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where he died. Investigators said the fatal shooting started as a fight during a night of gambling at the home. Video of the scene shows chips scattered across a table. Neighbors said gambling nights happen at the home often, but that they’ve never turned violent before. The investigation is still active.

Nevada Lawyer Stole $1.8M From Client Settlements

A suspended Nevada personal injury attorney is jailed in Las Vegas following his arrest in what police say is the theft of about $1.8 million from client financial settlements. Records show that Matthew Dunkley was arrested Sunday pending an initial court appearance on 39 felony theft charges. His bail was set at $117,000. Attorney William Terry represents the 53-year-old Dunkley in his Nevada State Bar suspension. Terry said Tuesday that Dunkley had a gambling addiction. Terry says he wasn’t immediately retained for Dunkley’s criminal defense. Las Vegas police allege that Dunkley siphoned money from client insurance settlements since 2012, including medical treatment payments for a 5-year-old child who had been attacked by a dog. Attorney Jared Richards says his firm, Clear Counsel Law Group, represents some of Dunkley’s former clients.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 01/21 – 01/27

Firm’s chief finance officer stole £1million from employers to fund online gambling addiction

A firm’s chief finance officer stole £1million from his employers to fund his secret online gambling addiction. Steve Girling blew up to £50,000 a day in a three-year spree on web slots and roulette. He hid the dark secret from his family by pre-tending to be hard at work in his home office – when really he was placing constant bets. The dad of two was such a valued big spender that one firm of bookies flew him out on an all-expenses-paid horse racing jaunt to see the Dubai World Cup. Wife Rashael went too and he kept up his lies by telling her he won the trip in a competition. He was finally arrested after confessing to her – and she told his bosses. Girling, 36, pleaded guilty at Norwich Crown Court to theft from Premier Education Group and faces being jailed for up to five years. “I’m so ashamed and deserve punishment,” he told the Sunday People. “When I printed my bank statements and added up the total I’d stolen, I had to run to the toilet and be sick.” He claims the temptation to try web casinos started with a promotional offer of free spins. “After a first win you play on, trying to get that feeling back,” he said. “But you never can.”

Woman pleads guilty to embezzling from late father’s Racine law firm

A Racine woman indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly embezzling more than $775,000 from her late father’s Racine law firm has pleaded guilty. Kathleen A. Fetek, a real estate agent, in August pleaded not guilty to a charge of mail fraud, but on Nov. 1 she changed her plea to guilty. If convicted, Fetek faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, according to the Eastern District of Wisconsin’s U.S. Attorney’s Office. She would also face up to three years supervision after her release and be forced to pay victims of the crime restitution, totaling $788,277. During the period that Fetek worked at her father’s law firm, the plea agreement alleges she was “gambling frequently.” It also states that between January 2015 and December 2016 Fetek lost more than $212,000 at Potawatomi Casino in Milwaukee. Fetek is prohibited from visiting any gambling establishments or participating in online gambling, according to her order for release.

Gambler Stole $1.95 Million from the Irish Post Office

A man who stole nearly $2 million from the postal service in Ireland has advice for the bookmakers and gamers. To keep a lid on problem gamblers, businesses need to follow their money and keep track of where it’s going. Tony O’Reilly was convicted of stealing millions of dollars from the post office. He believes if businesses watch their money, they can offer help to problem gamblers before the problems become extreme. It is estimated that in a given year, 70 percent of people in Ireland gamble in some form. Many people just buy lottery tickets or place an occasional bet on a soccer match. Researchers believe that of the people who gamble, about 1 percent are problem gamblers. Gambling addiction is seen as a mental illness in its most extreme form. Gamblers lose control of themselves and will do anything, including committing crimes to gamble.

Ex-NFL player released from prison files for bankruptcy

Former Cleveland Browns wide receiver Reggie Rucker, who served a prison sentence for wire fraud and making false statements to the FBI, has filed for bankruptcy. Cleveland.com reports Rucker and his wife, Darlene, have filed their petition in bankruptcy court in Cleveland. The Warrensville Heights couple’s filing says they owe more than $860,000 to entities including the IRS and the attorney who represented Rucker when he was prosecuted for stealing from his nonprofit groups. Rucker was sentenced to prison in 2016 and ordered to pay $110,000 for using the charities’ money to pay gambling debts and personal expenses. The Ruckers’ petition says their combined monthly income is more than $6,300, but all but $10 of that goes toward their expenses.

Accused Killer Says He Was “Sorry” for Killing Business Partner in OC

A 41-year-old San Juan Capistrano executive’s voice cracked as he testified Wednesday that he killed his business partner in a fight, disposed of the body and then masqueraded as the victim in email exchanges with his family. Ed Younghoon Shin testified he grew irritated as his business partner 32-year-old Christopher Ryan Smith kept “badgering” him about paying a legal settlement with the money “coming out of (Shin’s) end.” Shin testified he was unaware of Smith’s concerns that Shin would embezzle from their company. The conflict between the two came to a head when Shin said he had the “effing truth” of Smith helping him in an embezzlement of Shin’s prior employer. “I said I have the effing truth… that I could prove he was part of the embezzlement,” Shin testified. Shin claims he wired $33,000 to Smith in October 2008. Shin claims the two got into a fistfight in Smith’s office that got out of hand and then disposed of the body. Shin racked up gambling debts in Las Vegas and was fending off allegations of taking $700,000 to $900,000 from his previous employer when he killed Smith in June 2010, Murphy said in his opening statement.

Engelfield Green con-artist jailed after defrauding friends and colleagues out of more than £1 million

A man has been jailed after conning his friends and colleagues out of more than £1 million by convincing them to invest in a fake ‘horse feed’ business. Branko Sevic, 47 of Blays Lane, Englefield Green, was sentenced to five years, seven months in prison at Guildford Crown Court on Wednesday (December 5). Sevic had left his home each morning telling his family that he was running a business. However bank statements show that he frequented coffee shops where he would access Wi-Fi and spend tens of thousands of pounds on online gambling sites and designer clothing instead. During their investigation police found that Sevic had admitted to two of his victims and also during a police interview that the business did not exist and that there was no money left.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 01/14 – 01/20

Two Kelowna women charged with stealing $180K from Okanagan hospice 

The Central Okanagan Hospice Association (COHA), whose mandate is to offer care, comfort and support for the dying, is under the microscope now that two former employees have been charged with fraud and theft. A little more than a year ago, Global Okanagan was first to report that more than $180,000 had gone missing from COHA’s coffers between 2015 and 2017. The RCMP launched an investigation into the missing funds, resulting in charges against the former executive director of COHA and the office manager. According to court documents, on Sept. 12, 2012, Susan Steen allegedly defrauded COHA of $71 by making a false claim for a cellphone expense. Steen is also accused of stealing more than $109,000 from COHA between July 2012 and April 2016, allegedly using the hospice’s credit card. COHA’s officer manager, Melanie Gray, is accused of stealing $69,000 between February 2013 and November 2015 by using the hospice’s credit card. Neither currently work for the hospice association. Global News contacted Steen, who admits she made mistakes and that she was dealing with a gambling problem. “A profound gambling problem, actually,” she said over the phone. Steen says she began gambling when she moved from Ontario to Kelowna in 2010, that it was her way of dealing with stress associated with an ailing mother, a broken marriage and health issues. As she puts it, the casino was her calm place.

Accused sweetheart swindler found guilty of scamming elderly out of $1.6 million 

A sweetheart swindler who prosecutors say used a web of lies, including that she had cancer, to scam more than $1.6 million from six elderly people was found guilty Thursday . Jurors deliberated about an hour and a half before finding Desiree Boltos, 37, guilty on five counts of theft and one count of exploitation of an elderly person. The punishment phase of the trial began immediately after the verdict was read but was later recessed to be continued Friday. She faces up to life in prison. Prosecutors said Boltos teamed up with her common-law husband to con the elderly victims between December 2011 and May 2017 in a con scheme commonly referred to a sweetheart swindler. Her husband, Paul Hill, is also charged in the case and is awaiting trial. The victims were conned in a variety of ways, prosecutors say. Some thought they were investing in Boltos’ interior design business — a business that didn’t exist — while another believed he was helping pay legal fees and travel expenses for Boltos to obtain a multi-million dollar inheritance. Danny Ray Barnett, who has since died, married Boltos not knowing that she was already married by common law to another man and gave her money, believing she had cancer and needed it for treatment. Casino records showed Boltos spent a great deal of the money in casinos, testimony showed.

Las Vegas Exec Who Subsidized Gambling with $1.5 Billion Ponzi Scheme Guilty of Fraud 

A Las Vegas CEO who funded a luxury gambling lifestyle through a $1.5 billion Ponzi scheme was found guilty of fraud and money laundering by a jury in Nevada on Tuesday. Japanese-American Edwin Fujinaga, 72, bilked thousands of mainly Japanese citizens into investing into his company MRI International. Investors believed they were plowing their money into a firm that purchased unpaid medical accounts from health care providers at knock-down prices before collecting payments from insurance companies. They were hoodwinked by glossy brochures and marketing campaigns in leading business magazines that promised 6 to 9.6 percent returns in Japanese yen and 6.5 to 10.3 percent in US dollars over two to five years. For Japanese savers frustrated by years of domestic baseline interest rates, it was a tempting offer. But it was all a sham. Despite its impressive Las Vegas headquarters and a sales office in Tokyo, MRI was nothing more than a classic Ponzi scheme.

Gambler Gets Life Sentence for Punch That Killed Reno Eldorado Casino Manager 

A Reno gambler who went from being just another a sore loser to a murderer in a matter of a few catastrophic minutes will spend the rest of his life in prison. Frederick Douglas Borden, 65, was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole on Wednesday for landing a fatal punch on a manager at the Eldorado Casino. In September, Borden was convicted of the first-degree murder of 52-year-old Eldorado assistant shift manager James Bryant in 2016. He was also convicted of robbery and of committing fraudulent acts concerning gaming. According to the DA’s office, in September 2016, Borden was gambling at a blackjack table at the Reno casino when he lost all his chips — and something snapped. As the dealer was dragging them in, Borden lunged forward and grabbed back as many as he could before making a break for it. Bryant tried to stop Borden from leaving but was punched in the face and collapsed as Borden fled the casino. Bryant was taken to hospital but died two days later from a torn right vertebral artery.

Man shot multiple times outside Tachi Palace casino after fight

A man was shot multiple times following a fight at Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore, the Kings County Sheriff’s Office said. The fight happened just before midnight Friday. Casino security officers tried to break up a fight among three men and were able to detain one of them. The other two ran away and continued fighting. Then one of them, identified as Jose Leon, took out a gun from his waistband and shot a man by the name of Alfonso Gonzalez several times, the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. Casino surveillance personnel tracked down Leon after the shooting. They watched as he made a call and was eventually picked up by his sister at a gas station, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The two drove a distance before deputies caught up to them and took them into custody. Detectives interviewed them and later arrested Leon for violating his parole and for alleged attempted murder. Leon’s sister and another man were released after being questioned.

Woman embezzled millions from Inola company, prosecutors say as they go after her Grand Lake condo and yacht

A Broken Arrow businesswoman embezzled $3.1 million from her former employer and spent the proceeds on a yacht, a Grand Lake condo, casino gambling and other personal and family expenses, federal prosecutors allege. Cristyne Denise Gilleland, 41, faces one count of wire fraud and one count of subscribing a false tax return. The charges were filed Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma but were not made public until Monday. Gilleland, who is not in custody, is alleged to have embezzled the money from 2010 to 2017 while working for TJT Enterprises LLC, an Inola-based company owned by Tommy Thompson, records show. “White collar crimes can be devastating to victims,” U.S. Attorney Trent Shores said Monday night. “Fraudsters, embezzlers, and the financially corrupt must be held accountable.

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A Brief Look at Crime 12/31 – 01/13

2-year-old girl dies after being shot in head; father accused of putting her in danger

A 2-year-old girl was shot and killed when gunfire erupted early Tuesday at a Tennessee apartment complex, police say. Detectives said the girl’s father, Mikal Grogan, 23, of Memphis, placed his daughter in danger by exposing her to gambling, illegal drug sales and violence. He is being charged with aggravated child neglect and endangerment. According to Memphis police, Grogan admitted to selling marijuana out of his apartment and was playing dice and gambling the night of the deadly shooting. Witnesses said they heard more than a dozen shots fired at the Enclave apartment homes off Hickory Hill on Tuesday morning. The toddler was killed after a bullet hit her in the head. “I was hearing a lady down here saying, ‘Oh, my God! My baby, my baby.’” Police said it is unclear where exactly the shooting happened, but it left more than 12 bullet holes in the walls and shattered glass from a porch door.

Child gambler epidemic: Worrying new figures reveal 55,000 under-17s have ‘a problem’ with another 70,000 at risk

The alarming scale of children’s addiction to betting is laid bare today in an official report. It says the number of problem gamblers aged 11 to 16 has quadrupled in two years to 55,000. A further 70,000 youngsters are at risk, according to the audit by the Gambling Commission. It found that a worrying 450,000 children – one in seven of those in the 11- 16 age group – bet regularly. They stake an average of £16 a week each. The money goes on fruit machines, on bingo, in betting shops or online, which are all illegal for under-18s. The commission’s report also said: Lord Chadlington, former chairman of Action on Addiction, demanded an advertising crackdown. ‘We are on the brink of a gambling epidemic in this country,’ the peer said. ‘I am calling for a stop to gambling advertising on live sporting events on television, and these numbers reinforce the need for urgent action. ‘Italy, which has some 20 per cent fewer problem gamblers than the UK, is banning it. Why is this bombardment of gambling advertising on television continuing in the UK?’ The number of children with gambling problems has quadrupled in two years to 55,000. Predatory companies which use tactics that entice vulnerable kids must be confronted head on. This is a generational scandal.

Stephen Gionfriddo, former Middletown mayor, pleads guilty to stealing from his law firm and his brother

Gionfriddo stole more than $500,000 from a Rocky Hill law firm where he worked, then stole from his brother to pay the firm back, according to a statement Tuesday from John H. Durham, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut. The case is the second conviction for Gionfriddo. He was a Republican councilman for 14 years and was mayor for about six months in 1993 when he filled the term of another mayor who stepped down from the post. He is one of only three Republican mayors in Middletown in the last 25 years. He served prison time after a 2006 conviction for stealing more than $600,000 from clients he represented as an attorney. He said during court hearings in that case that a gambling addiction led to huge debts piling up.

CG Technology Receives $2 Million Fine from Nevada Gaming Commission 

Last Thursday, the Nevada Gaming Commission accepted a $2 million settlement by Las Vegas sportsbook operator CG Technology related to serious compliance failures and miscalculating customer payouts. CG Technology has a long history of rule violations in Las Vegas and had been concerned that the Nevada Gaming Commission might move to revoke its license. CG Technology operates eight sports books for major casinos based in the greater Las Vegas area. This includes the likes of The Hard Rock, The Tropicana, The Venetian, The Cosmopolitan, The Palms, M Resort Spa Casino, The Palazzo, and the Silverton Casino Hotel.

Over the past five years, however, the company has fallen foul of the state’s gambling regulator on three occasions. These serious compliance failures have subsequently resulted in CG Technology paying three out of the state’s top ten biggest fines ever levied on a Nevada-based gaming company. This includes a number-one spot on the list after forking out a massive $5.5 million in 2014 to settle a litany of charges involving illegal gambling and money laundering. As part of the same case, CG Technology also had to may a whopping $22.5 million to the U.S. government, including $16.5 million to the U.S. attorney offices in Eastern District of New York and Nevada, and a further $6 million to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. The latest case saw CG Technology accused of a whole catalog of violations and errors. This list of infringements included accepting wagers from outside the state via its mobile sports betting app, accepting wagers after events had finished, and making incorrect payouts to 1,483 bettors. The firm also misconfigured a satellite sports betting station for a 2018 Super Bowl party taking place at an unnamed Las Vegas casino.

Former WPSD employee gets probation in $210,000 theft

A former employee of the William Penn School District who stole more than $210,000 to support a gambling habit was sentenced to 23 months of intermediate punishment. Rose Marie Lyons was also given three years of consecutive probation and ordered to repay more than $30,000 as part of the sentence imposed by Delaware County Common Pleas Court Judge Anthony Scanlon. According to charging documents, Lyons formerly served as president and recording secretary of the William Penn Education Support Personnel Association. She had also worked in an administrative role at the school district. The union represents about 90 employees of the district, including instructional assistants, secretaries, staff nurses and library assistants. Money collected by the association is used to pay dues to the Pennsylvania State Education Association, as well as for the benefit of the union. Two newly appointed members of the union discovered a misappropriation of funds and filed a report with the Lansdowne Police Department in January 2016. An affidavit of probable cause for Lyons’ arrest indicated that she had “complete control” of the association’s financial accounts between 2009 and 2015 and appeared to be responsible for numerous unauthorized withdrawals and deposits.

Ex-tax collector gets prison for stealing $250K from town

A Massachusetts town’s former tax collector who stole about $250,000 in municipal funds has been sentenced to a year in prison. The Telegram & Gazette reports that 66-year-old Marcia Langelier was sentenced Tuesday in Worcester Superior Court to a year in prison after pleading guilty to charges of embezzlement by a municipal officer and making false entries in corporate books. Langelier has been ordered to pay restitution, which will be determined at a later hearing. Prosecutors say the former Barre tax collector stole money from 2005 into 2011 while serving in the elected position. Officials say Langelier changed town records to hide the thefts. Prosecutors say she used the stolen funds on gambling.

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