Category Archives: Crime

A Brief Look at Crime 06/19 – 06/25

Russian Gang Hacked Slot Machines and Plotted Over Stolen Sweets, U.S. Says

There were the usual accouterments of an organized crime prosecution: an illegal poker house and cases of stolen cigarettes, the authorities said. But there was also a scheme to defraud casinos with a hacking device that predicted the behavior of particular models of electronic slot machines. And a plot for a woman to seduce men, drug them with chloroform and then rob them. There was even a large shipment of stolen sweets: 10,000 pounds of chocolate confections that two defendants were overheard discussing on a court-ordered wiretap in March, according to a federal indictment. The authorities offered few details about the slot-machine scheme. In January, they said, Mr. Shulaya was overheard in a phone call discussing the testing of devices that would predict slot-machine behavior; in another call, he was told about the reconnaissance of a casino that featured a particular model of slot machine that would be susceptible to the device.

Shooting victim fends off would-be robbers after leaving Larry Flynt’s Lucky Lady casino

Would-be robbers apparently followed a man from Larry Flynt’s Lucky Lady Casino in Gardena, purposely bumped his car from behind as he drove away and shot him four times in an unsuccessful attempt to steal his winnings, police said Wednesday. The victim survived, but the assailants escaped, police said. “Luckily, it just grazed his head,” Gardena police Lt. Steve Prendergast said. The attempted robbery and shooting — caught on security video — occurred outside a Chevron service station at Rosecrans and Vermont avenue about 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, shortly after the victim left the casino across the street. According to police, the victim won a large sum of money at the casino. As he drove away, the men bumped his car from behind at the intersection. Not realizing the bump was intentional, the victim pulled into the service station and got out of his car to exchange information. Two men got out of the other car and tried to rob him. The victim, however, resisted the crime and struggled with the men. During the fracas, the victim was shot four times, police said.

Brooklyn Grandmother Robbed Of $100K In Casino Earnings

On Saturday morning, two men posing as Jehovah’s Witnesses tricked a 76-year-old Brooklyn woman into letting them into her apartment, then fled with her briefcase containing $100,000 in casino winnings, according to a spokesperson with the NYPD. The thieves first knocked on Yvonne Reeder’s home in East New York just before 10 a.m., police said, and were allowed in after convincing the elderly woman that they were religious door-knockers. Once inside, police say Reeder told them one man pushed her to the ground, while the other went straight to the bedroom to take a briefcase filled with money and a Samsung tablet. Reeder said that she was scared during the robbery, but did not sustain any injuries. “They pushed me over by the wall,” she told the Post.

Kentucky cockfighting pit destroyed, property owners sentenced

A photo released by federal prosecutors in Abingdon, Virginia gave us a glimpse inside an illegal cockfighting venue that operated for more than 30 years. The Big Blue Sportsman’s Club in McDowell, Kentucky had 5,000 members. It housed an 8,000 square-foot facility that featured arena-style seating, multiple fighting pits and a restaurant. The building sat on property owned by Shirley Ray Slone, 73, and Vernon Kelly Slone, 69. Prosecutors said the two men started the club in 1977. They gave up day-to-day operations in the early 1990’s and chose to lease the facility to others for a cut of the entrance fees. The Slones were paid $3 for each person who attended a cockfight. In 2014, the Big Blue Sportsman’s Club was the site of a law enforcement raid. Several people were arrested on federal charges related to cockfighting, gambling, and narcotics trafficking.

Montana woman sentenced to prison for health care fraud

A Montana woman has been sentenced to five years in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $460,000 in restitution and back taxes for lying about her family income to obtain Medicaid benefits, creating false claims for treatment at her father’s physical therapy practice and pocketing the payments, the U.S. attorney’s office said. U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon sentenced Elizabeth Jones Powell of East Helena on Tuesday. She pleaded guilty to health care fraud and tax evasion. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to dismiss 17 other felony counts, including money laundering. Powell, 52, performed office duties and insurance billing for her father’s physical therapy practice in Helena. Prosecutors say from 2009 to 2013 Powell made $584,000 in false insurance claims resulting in actual losses of nearly $421,000 to Medicaid and other insurers. Investigators found that Powell spent at least $32,000 on gambling, court records said.

St. Paul Park man steals a quarter of a million dollars from vulnerable relative

A St. Paul Park man was charged with felony financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult. Gregg Wilwert, 38, stole over $250,000 from the victim he had power of attorney for while living in a senior living facility, according to a criminal complaint filed June 8 in Washington County District Court. The Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center reported financial abuse that began last September and ended May 31. Using $80,000 of the stolen funds, Wilwert purchased a hot tub, snowmobiles and snowmobiling gear, a refrigerator, new TVs and furniture, a trip to Florida, diamond jewelry, garage renovations, a tractor and frequent casino visits. About a week before the financial exploitation charge was filed, Wilwert was charged May 30 with first-degree criminal sexual conduct in a separate case. He posted $125,000 bond on those charges and has been out of jail since that time.

Former Winnebago Tribal Council member pleads guilty to casino theft

A former Winnebago Tribal Council member — one of nine indicted last summer in an alleged conspiracy to steal from the tribe’s casino — has pleaded guilty. Last July, a federal grand jury indicted nine former Winnebago council members, charging each with conspiracy, theft and misapplication of funds belonging to an Indian gaming establishment, and wire fraud. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the remaining charge, though the U.S. Attorney’s Office has recommended he be sentenced to five years of probation and be ordered to repay any funds he obtained illegally from the casino. The distributions to defendants were paid through the use of casino gift certificates and pre-paid debit cards paid for by the casino. The total amount of gift certificates issued to the defendants in 2013 and 2014 was $87,000. The total amount loaded to the debit cards of the defendants in 2013 and 2014 was $240,500.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 06/12 – 06/18

Kitchener man jailed for brazen ATM crime spree 

It was a brazen crime spree that cost businesses more than $1 million. Over two months in 2016, under cover of darkness, an organized group of thieves stole trucks from local dealerships and smashed them through windows of a string of businesses, many in Kitchener. They chained ATMs to the back of the truck, dragged out the cash machines and took all the money. Total cost of the crimes was pegged at $1.4 million, but only $72,490 of this was cash stolen from ATMs. The largest loss was $870,000 in stolen vehicles, followed by $387,120 in damage caused, and $114,300 in cash and property stolen during break-ins. Epstein said Nguyen’s role was minimal, but he was a “full, willing participant in the crime.” Nguyen was a gambling addict who turned to crime to pay off his losses at the poker table. The judge said he’s satisfied Nguyen’s addiction played a role in the crimes.

Dozens dead after gunman torches Philippine casino

A masked gunman set fire to a gaming room at a casino in the Philippine capital on Friday, igniting a toxic blaze that killed 37 people, authorities said, but they insisted it was not a terrorist attack. The victims suffocated inside one of the main gambling venues of the upscale Resorts World Manila, while dozens of other people were injured in a panicked crush to escape, police said. The gunman committed suicide inside a hotel room by burning himself about five hours after storming the casino with an M4 assault rifle and a bottle of petrol that he used to start the fire, police chief Ronald Dela Rosa said. Dela Rosa and other police chiefs insisted the assailant was not carrying out a terrorist attack, pointing out he did not shoot anyone, and said it appeared to be a bizarre robbery attempt by a “deranged” man.However 37 people died from inhaling smoke from a fire that spread quickly because of flammable carpet on the gaming room floors, local police chief Tomas Apolinario told AFP.

FBI Arrests Lucchese Mobsters for Gambling Offences, Fraud and Murder

According to a court filing on May 31, 19 mafia-type figures were arrested in a New York City charged with a host of crimes. Many of those taken in by the FBI’s Organized Crime Task Force and members of the NYPD were linked to the infamous Lucchese family. Known as one of the five crime families that control New York City’s underworld, the Lucchese family has shared a close relationship with high profile mobsters over the years, including the Gambinos. As outlined in the indictments, this life of crime has led a rap sheet that now reads like something from a Hollywood movie. As well as nicknames such as Paulie Roast Beef and Spanish Carmine, the 30-page court document lists crimes such as racketeering, wire fraud, possession of a weapon, gambling, narcotics and murder. Members of the family are no strangers to the long arm of the law. In fact, two of the crime syndicate’s bosses, Joseph DiNapoli and Matthew Madonna, pleaded guilty and received prison sentences back in 2016 for running an illegal gambling operation and racketeering.

Store manager with ‘gambling addiction’ is jailed for theft

A shop manager who stole close to £150,000 to fund a gambling addiction was jailed for ten months. Ownership of the business was transferred and on 23 July last year, an operations manager “noticed an anomaly of £600,” said Mr Murphy but he added that further investigations revealed no money had bee lodged that month at all and that according to sale figures, “about £144,000 was unaccounted for.” McAllen’s father told the s managers “all of the money had gone to the bookies.” Mr Murphy told the court that both the staff and owner at Tommy French bookmakers were spoken to betting slips revealed how a massive £629,846 had gone through the betting shop between stakes and w including stakes of more than £100,000 in a single day.

Patco Electric employee allegedly embezzles $160,000

Bond was set and a preliminary court date scheduled Thursday for Rhonda Laminack, a former Patco Electric employee, who allegedly stole over $160,000 from the company over a period of three years. According to the report, Duncan Police interviewed Laminack on May 4, where she allegedly admitted that she had taken money from Patco without the company’s knowledge. Laminack allegedly claimed the amount she had taken was closer to $140,000; and had been used to fund her gambling problem, help a child without work, and assist with a sick family member. Laminack told police that she had attempted to contact Patterson to make arrangements to return the money. According to the affidavit, during a follow up interview between Duncan Police and Patterson; Patterson told police that Laminack had been fired the previous day, and that upon her firing, Laminack had allegedly told Patterson that she would repay the money if he would not file charges.

Former office manager stole $430,000 from Sheboygan firm

A former office manager at Sheboygan-based *Beaudry Electric Motors* has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $430,000 from the company over a two-year period. Lynette Lomibao entered a guilty plea in the U.S District Court for Eastern Wisconsin earlier this month to charges of wire fraud and making false statements to the IRS. Lomibao began embezzling from the company, which specializes in electrical motor repair and rebuilding, in August 2011 by creating false vendor bills for fictitious services or items, according to her plea agreement. She would then pay the bills by transferring money from the company’s U.S. Bank account to personal checking accounts she held at Sheboygan Area Credit Union, Guaranty Bank and Wells Fargo Bank. The funds were used to buy furniture, take trips, pay bills and for gambling at Oneida Casino, according to court documents.

Washington state man who served time for fraud in 2007 gets charged again

A Washington man who once served time in prison for defrauding his neighbor out of about $800,000 has been arrested again — this time along with his wife, after authorities said they tricked investors out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more. Prosecutors said the Hongs lied about their investment credentials and failed to disclose Hong’s 2007 fraud conviction as they solicited millions of dollars in purported investments, largely from members of religious organizations, since 2011. One California church invested $1 million and lost about $300,000 on a single trade, authorities said, and the Hongs withdrew about $150,000 of it as “advisor fees.” “About the only positive thing I can find (to say) about Mr. Hong is that he may have a gambling problem,” U.S. District Judge James L. Robart said during that sentencing hearing.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 06/05 – 06/11

Val Verde illegal cockfighting ring bust largest in US history

The largest illegal cockfighting ring bust was conducted in northern Los Angeles County on Monday, according to authorities.Most of the birds recovered from the property, which officials said was in a large remote area in a canyon, were commonly used for cockfighting. Approximately 100 deputies raided the property and found mobile cockfighting rings, syringes, steroids and “slasher” weapons, which were strapped to a rooster’s claws during a fight. “The knife-style of fighting are particularly bloody,” Eric Sakach with the Humane Society of the United States said. “The bird is being repeatedly stabbed to the chest area. It’s not unusual to hear a bird to start to vomit up or regurgitate blood. Detectives said their investigation was ongoing and more arrests were anticipated in the future. Authorities said cockfighting was closely associated with Mexican drug cartels and could lead to more crimes such as illegal gambling and the sale of illegal drugs and weapons.

St. Louis robbery victim pulls gun, shoots robber in butt

A man pumping gas Wednesday morning turned the tables on a would-be robber. Police say the man was at the Phillips 66 station at 4500 North Broadway at about 7 a.m. A dark-colored car pulled up and a man jumped out of the passenger seat. He tried to rob the victim. But the victim has his own gun and pulled it on the would-be robber, shooting him in the buttocks. Freeman said the suspect, a man in his 20s, was stable. His accomplice, the driver, got away. Police say the duo is suspected in a holdup an hour earlier at Hollywood Casino in Maryland Heights. In that robbery, two men drove into the parking garage in a dark-colored car. One of them approached a man who was leaving the casino and tried to rob him at gunpoint in a parking garage, police say. But the victim in that case had just lost big at the casino. “They tried to rob him but he was broke. He literally had $2,” Maryland Heights Police Officer Mark Fedak.

Financial Supervisor addicted to Online Gambling jailed for stealing £680,000

Anjna Aggarwal, a financial supervisor has been jailed for stealing £680,000 from her bosses’. She used the money to feed her online gambling addiction. She pleaded guilty to fraud, false accounting, and money laundering. As a result, she received a four-year jail sentence. 37-year-old Aggarwal began her scheme in 2014 while working for Alpha LSG, an airline catering company. She secretly stole £680,000 from her bosses’ while she worked as a financial supervisor for them. The fraudster created 12 separate bank accounts to store the money and would often switch them around. Prosecutor Lisa Brookes explained how Aggarwal carried out her scheme. She said: “She created false documents and invoices and 83% of the false transactions was for British Airways in which she falsified documents and payment requirements.” The financial supervisor used the money to participate in online casinos. The steady flow of money even earned her a ‘VIP’ status on these gambling websites.

2 Cherry Hill men admit $2.5 million Medicaid fraud in Camden

Two men have admitted in federal court to Medicaid fraud totaling $2.5 million while working at a nonprofit that provides mental health services to Camden’s poorest residents, prosecutors said Friday. Cesar Tavera, 53, of Cherry Hill, embezzled more than $1.5 million while serving as executive director of Nueva Vida Behavioral Health Center of New Jersey and spent the money on his family and himself, including gambling sprees at SugarHouse Casino. In 2015 alone, Tavera withdrew $35,000 from the nonprofit’s bank account while at the casino. Tavera pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Camden to conspiracy to commit health-care fraud and embezzling from a health-care program. Tavera and Ayala, also of Cherry Hill, routinely submitted false billings to Medicaid for services not rendered, prosecutors said. Tavera also billed for therapy sessions provided by unqualified individuals, including himself.

79-year-old woman sentenced for embezzling $1.2 million from employer, using it to gamble

Annie Carbullido didn’t just steal $1.2 million from the family-owned travel agency where she worked for nearly 15 years. The 79-year-old gambling addict deprived Bernard Wraith and his wife of the ability to retire the way they hoped, Wraith said. “I’m in my 70s. It’s doubtful that my wife and I will ever recover,” Wraith said in court Thursday. The Wraiths own the Travel Faire agency, and setting aside money to enjoy old age had been their plan. Carbullido stole the money over the course of her employment at the Omaha-based travel agency and blew it at casinos, investigators have said. On Thursday, District Court Judge Leigh Ann Retelsdorf sentenced Carbullido to five to seven years in prison. Carbullido apologized to her own children, saying she had “disgraced” them. She also apologized to her former employers. “I really did not mean to cause any harm,” she said, adding that, if possible, she would like to get another job and pay them back. “I am really sorry, and I beg their forgiveness,” she said.

Leader of Iowa School Meals Group Embezzled for Years

The former executive director of an Iowa nonprofit that promotes healthy, affordable school meals allegedly embezzled at least $169,000 over a 5-year period. A state audit report released Thursday says Norma LaMantia admitted to depositing checks meant for the School Nutrition Association of Iowa in personal bank accounts. LaMantia told auditors and a Davenport police detective last month that the money helped pay her personal expenses and support her addiction to casino gambling. The checks came from school districts and food companies to pay fees associated with association events.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 05/22-6/04

Casino guard dies after wrestling assault suspect 

A security guard at Seneca Niagara Casino went into cardiac arrest and died early Saturday after subduing a man who had reportedly assaulted a female patron inside the casino’s Stir nightclub. Niagara Falls police said the suspect tried to flee the area after punching the woman in the throat shortly before 3 a.m., but he was caught by Thomas Dardes, who was working security. Dardes wrestled with the man briefly. After the suspect was detained, Dardes was out-of-breath and looked pale, casino employees told police. He went to a room to lie down and then went into cardiac arrest, according to police. He was pronounced dead a short time later at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center. Quynshod R. Johnson-Taylor, 23, of Ferry Avenue, was charged with third-degree menacing and second-degree harassment in connection with the incident, police said. It was not clear whether additional charges would be considered because of the security guard’s death.

Gambling machine company owner pleads guilty to criminal charges in $240 million enterprise

The “principal” owner of Forest Park-based Sudama Resorts LLC, a company that last week agreed to forfeit $1.6 million in a racketeering and illegal gambling lawsuit, pleaded guilty Monday to criminal charges. Sandip Patel, 41, pleaded guilty to three counts of commercial gambling. As part of a plea agreement, he was sentenced to one year on house arrest followed by four years on probation. In order to be legal, the games must require an element of skill and cash payouts are prohibited. Winnings can be redeemed for store credit, gas, merchandise or lottery tickets. Sudama Resorts, the owner of 600 machines placed at 100 locations across the state, self-reported that $15 million was played between July 1, 2014, and July 1, 2015, Cooke said during Patel’s plea hearing Monday in Bibb County Superior Court. In the last five years players have fed $240 million into Sudama machines and been paid $168 million, he said.

Husband of woman who stole nearly $13M faces fed tax charges

The husband of a woman convicted of sealing nearly $13 million from a Pittsburgh monuments and engraving firm has been charged with filing three fraudulent joint federal tax returns understating their income.The Robinson Township woman has agreed to forfeit three homes, a yacht and two other boats, at least eight cars, and other items bought with the money, though her attorney, Phil DiLucente, has said she blew most of the money on casino gambling. Under federal law, even stolen money must be declared as income and the charges filed against Gary Mills allege he didn’t include that income in the returns he jointly filed with his wife. Gary Mills faces up to three years in prison for each of the fraudulent returns he allegedly filed. Online court records show he’s due in court for arraignment May 25 and doesn’t have an attorney. Cynthia Mills pleaded guilty to charges including mail fraud, wire fraud and tax evasion and to one count of “engaging in monetary transactions in criminally derived property.” She must make payments toward the $12.9 million she stole, too.

Lee’s Summit Woman Sentenced in Million Dollar Garmin, Black and Veatch, Tristar Embezzlement Schemes

A Lee’s Summit, MO woman was sentenced in federal court Tuesday for a series of embezzlement schemes totaling more than $1.5 million. Kansas City, MO – infoZine – Patricia Webb, 44, of Lee’s Summit, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Roseann Ketchmark to eight years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Webb to pay $1,564,745 in restitution to her victims. Webb admitted that she embezzled at least $1,526,594 in total from Garmin International, Black and Veatch and TriStar Benefit Administrators over the course of four years, 2012 through 2016. Webb registered a business in the name of “Beauty Within Me” and opened a bank account in the name of the business. She then utilized this bank account to divert money stolen from her victims. An analysis of Webb’s bank account shows a large amount of spending at casinos and cash withdrawals at casinos. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul S. Becker. It was investigated by the FBI.

Busted: Cocaine found in 5 greyhounds at Derby Lane

State officials revoked a racing greyhound trainer’s license after five dogs tested positive for cocaine after a race in January. According to records from the state’s *Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Malcolm McAllister’s racing license was permanently revoked April 24. Urine samples for the dogs were taken by state employees following races at the St. Petersburg Kennel Club — known as Derby Lane — in January. Records show Florida’s greyhound industry has had 46 cocaine positives since 2008. It’s unclear how the dogs ingested the drug or whether it was intentionally administered. Carey Theil, the executive director of GREY2K USA, a nonprofit industry watchdog group, said regulators never investigate how dogs get cocaine in their systems. “There’s really only two scenarios,” said Theil. “An outright attempt to fix races, or the individuals who are caring for the dogs are using cocaine and the dogs came in contact with it in some way.” Theil said there have been other positive cocaine tests of racing dogs, but never five at a time.

John ‘Tugboat’ Tognino admits he has a problem before pleading guilty to illegal gambling biz with another mobster

An accused mob goon admitted to both his gambling addiction and betting business in open court on Friday — part of a massive deal with dozens of wiseguys that will take place in the coming weeks. John (Tugboat) Tognino is one of two mobsters busted during a massive racketeering takedown in August 2016. Tognino and Anthony (Tony the Wig) Vazzano each pleaded guilty Friday to one federal count of participating in an illegal gambling business. He also claimed to have been “institutionalized for a month” in the 1980s for “pathological gambling.” The illegal gambling operations included a place called the Yonkers Club in the Bronx, which held poker tournaments and took bets on horses. The pleas make them the first of nearly 40 wiseguys also expected to admit they took part in illegal activities.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 05/15 – 05/21

Gunfire during ‘gambling, drinking’ leaves 1 dead in Birmingham 

A 34-year-old Birmingham man was killed Monday night while gambling and drinking with a group of people in Norwood, police said. Birmingham police on Tuesday identified the victim as Joseph Smith. He lived in Birmingham. Once on the scene, officers found Smith lying on the front porch of a home suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to multiple areas of his body. Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service responded to the scene, and Smith was pronounced dead a short time later. Shelton said the preliminary investigation showed that Smith and others were at the home gambling and drinking when an altercation erupted. At some point in the altercation, the Smith was shot. “We’ve had this happen before within similar circumstances, but the reality is it only takes one disagreement for violence to happen,” Shelton said. “We have to resolve our issues without violence and understand a disagreement should not equal death.”

Authorities say woman was strangled to death by her son

During a court hearing Thursday authorities released autopsy results revealing that Kay Raines was strangled to death. Detectives say she was killed at the hands of her own son. The 68-year-old Mobile woman went missing back in January and months later her body was found in a shallow grave in Baldwin County. Her son, Clarke Raines, has been charged with murder and appeared in court Thursday for a preliminary hearing. The court hearing provided insight on what led to Clarke’s arrest.When police began tracking Clarke in February they learned that he was using his mother’s credit cards and pawning her items. His activity picked up in March when he returned to the Beau Rivage casino to try to cash in on his mother’s previous winnings. The detective reported that same day, Clarke visited a Home Depot and bought a small shovel and 10 bags of potting soil. It was that same day, Gillepsie said, they went to the location and discovered Kay’s body. He said she was face down and it appeared, at one point, she was hog tied. He said she was wearing the same clothes she was last seen wearing on January 29. Later that night, Clarke was arrested. Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich said he hasn’t shown any remorse.

Gambling machine company owner pleads guilty to criminal charges in $240 million enterprise

The “principal” owner of Forest Park-based Sudama Resorts LLC, a company
that last week agreed to forfeit $1.6 million in a racketeering and illegal gambling lawsuit, pleaded guilty Monday to criminal charges. Sandip Patel, 41, pleaded guilty to three counts of commercial gambling. As part of a plea agreement, he was sentenced to one year on house arrest followed by four years on probation. In order to be legal, the games must require an element of skill and cash payouts are prohibited. Winnings can be redeemed for store credit, gas, merchandise or lottery tickets.

Sudama Resorts, the owner of 600 machines placed at 100 locations across the state, self-reported that $15 million was played between July 1, 2014, and July 1, 2015, Cooke said during Patel’s plea hearing Monday in Bibb County Superior Court. During the same period, Sudama reported $12 million was paid in winnings and receiving a $3 million profit, he said.he central computer system reported players played more than $12 million between July 1, 2015, and Sept. 30, 2015, nearly as much in three months as the company had reported for all of a 12-month period, he said. Winnings for the three months totaled $8 million and profits were recorded at $4 million, Cooke said. In the last five years players have fed $240 million into Sudama machines and been paid $168 million, he said. Cooke said undercover police officers played the machines and received illegal cash payouts at more than a quarter of the locations where Sudama machines were present.

Former Edmond property manager defrauded clients to fund ‘crippling gambling habit’

A former Edmond property manager has been ordered to pay nearly $400,000 in restitution to clients she defrauded to support her “crippling gambling habit.” Angela Renee Reneau, 53, of Cashion, also was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in federal prison. She previously pleaded guilty in Oklahoma City federal court to wire fraud and failure to file an income tax return. “In many ways, gambling ruined Ms. Reneau’s life. In the same way, when Ms. Reneau’s crimes were exposed, she started on the road to recovery andredemption,”defense attorney Robert Wyatt wrote in a court document. The defense attorney noted that Reneau developed a gambling habit in her late 40s and “became hopelessly addicted.” When the addiction was in “full swing,” Reneau began taking money from her clients’ accounts, “always with the intention of paying the money back,” the defense attorney wrote. But Reneau dug herself in a hole and “she could not dig herself out,” the defense attorney wrote. “She lost her home, her family, her job and her dignity.”

New York man wins $160.5M in lawsuit against Vegas casino

A former New York hedge fund manager has won $160.5 million in his lawsuit against the Las Vegas Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports the verdict in David Moradi’s lawsuit came this week. His 2014 lawsuit claimed he suffered a traumatic brain injury after Marquee nightclub security guards and manager shoved him to the ground. A Las Vegas neurosurgeon diagnosed his injuries. Defense attorneys say the dispute arose after Moradi reacted aggressively when the general manager told him there was a problem with his signature. They claim that Moradi did not suffer injury or permanent damage during the encounter. Moradi says his hedge fund had to be shut down and he has not found work in the field since.

Feds seek 9 properties, $230K from Beaumont car dealer accused of illegal gambling 

The federal government is seeking nine properties around Southeast Texas and more than $230,000 in cash from Beaumont car dealer Larry Tillery on accusations he’s operated “an illegal gambling and money laundering enterprise,” according to civil asset forfeiture documents obtained by KFDM/6 News on Fox. Among the list of properties is the Daylight Motors dealership on the Eastex Freeway, which last month we reported was being searched by the Department of Homeland Security. According to court documents, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations started looking into “the bookmaking and money laundering activities of (Tillery) and his associates” in April 2014. Homeland Security joined the investigation that July. The investigation included wiretaps and confidential informants. It also included searching the contents of collected garbage at his office and home. There are also allegations of tax evasion. “To date, the investigation has found that (Tillery) is operating illegal sports betting operation with bettors located nationwide,” the April 5 court document states. “The investigation has also found evidence that (Tillery) is evading taxes associated with his gambling activities.” The documents indicate about $5.3 million in wagers from 24 betters were recorded in intercepted calls from September 2015 through December 2016.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 05/08 – 05/14

Problem poker player gets 8 years in prison for $31 Million debt scam

One of the nation’s top poker players blamed gambling for derailing his life on Thursday as he was sentenced to more than eight years in prison for a $31 million debt collection scam. Travell Thomas, 38, a past winner of World Series of Poker tournaments, sobbed as he described how his gambling was “out of control” before he was criminally charged with running a Buffalo-based debt collection business that made false threats and representations to thousands of people nationwide from at least 2010 to 2015. “I would spend days at the casinos,” he told U.S. District Judge Katherine Polk Failla. “I wouldn’t even change my clothes.”Thomas, of Orchard Park, New York, said authorities “saved my life” when they told him he could no longer gamble. “I didn’t spend much time at the office. I spent most of my time gambling,” he said before Failla announced that he must serve eight years and four months in prison, beginning in September. Failla said Thomas preyed on financially distressed people. “A lot of the money that was taken went to him and his enjoyment,” she said. Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Imperatore said greed motivated Thomas and he spent the profits from his business largely on himself, including season tickets to Buffalo Bills games, gold, lavish trips, jewelry, cars, casino entertainment and gambling.

Genting Casino armed raid: Five masked man with knives and axe storm casino  

Police are appealing for information after five masked raiders armed with knives and an axe stormed a Birmingham casino on Easter Sunday. One terrified customer told how the ordeal was ‘like something out of a movie’, as the five men raided the Genting Casino in Edgbaston just after 9pm. The armed men demanded cash from staff and stole a wallet from a customer before escaping in a VW Golf. One customer told how she was having dinner when the men burst into the Norfolk Road casino. “We had just sat at down at the table and could hear loud screaming and everyone running everywhere, only to get up and see 5 or 6 masked men with guns machetes and hammers! “They screamed at us and told us to lay down on the floor while snatching phones off people and headed for the casino cash desk! “It was like something out of a movie!”

Sequim woman pleads guilty in theft case; Crime believed to be one of the largest in county history 

A Sequim woman was sentenced Tuesday morning in Clallam County Superior Court for what could be one of the largest financial crimes in the county’s history, says Judge Christopher Melly. Eleana Maria Christianson, 49, pleaded guilty to second-degree theft for taking at least $775,000 from Donald and Pilar Tucker, owners of Park Manager LLC, and Donald’s mother. The Tuckers settled with the Christiansons through a civil lawsuit for $775,000, which they’ve received about $645,000, Espinoza said. Donald Tucker asked Melly to consider jail time saying “(Christianson) was the mastermind behind a criminal conspiracy that robbed our family of almost a million dollars. Perhaps the largest embezzlement in this county. She forever changed the way Pilar and I trust.” Some of the reported theft included credit cards use in McQuillen’s name, and separate expenditures of an estimated $163,390 at 7 Cedars Casino from Dec. 2, 2010-June 27, 2013, where Eleana only won $11,537 back gambling.

Post office worker jailed for embezzling £134,000 from Edinburgh shop

A man who admitted embezzling more than £134,000 from an Edinburgh post office where he was the manager has been jailed for 16 months.Daryl Louden, 26, from Edinburgh, had pleaded guilty previously to embezzling £134,177.46 from the branch in RS McColl’s in Ferry Road between 1 January and 29 September 2017. Louden had taken the money to feed his gambling habit. Sheriff Crowe had heard that Louden had been in line for promotion to area manager when he wrote to his superior officer, David Richardson, saying he no longer wanted promotion and wished to stay where he was. Mr Richardson had been curious about this and carried out a spot check at the office. It revealed about £135,000 was missing. When Mr Richardson confronted Louden, he admitted to having a gambling addiction, which he said had ruined his life.

Columbia woman charged with stealing more than $100,000 from employer 

A Columbia woman has been charged with four felonies on suspicion that she bilked her employer out off more than $100,000. Katherine D. McCrosky, 41, was charged in October with forgery and three counts of fraudulent use of a credit device. She was booked Friday into the Boone County Jail, where she remained Monday on a $30,000 bond. McCrosky worked for Focus on Learning Center, 200 Corporate Lake Drive, as the bookkeeper and made hundreds of fraudulent transactions using company credit cards between December 2014 and February 2016, according to a probable cause statement. The owner of the business reported the thefts to Columbia police in October. Using three credit cards and also issuing herself a loan check, McCrosky allegedly stole $102,256. The owner of the business told police McCrosky admitted to her that she stole the money because she has a gambling problem.

State police seize illegal gambling machines, over $177K in cash in raids

Pennsylvania State Police seized 215 electronic gambling machines and over $177,000 in cash from bars and clubs following an investigation into illegal gambling in Washington, Westmoreland, Fayette, and Allegheny counties on Tuesday. The Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement (BLCE) executed numerous search warrants and conducted inspections of 48 licensed liquor establishments in those areas. “The ongoing operations of illegal gambling devices and illegal video gaming terminals, while often viewed as a victimless crime, result in lost tax revenue for Pennsylvanians and victimize households of citizens whose family members have gambling addictions,” said Major Scott T. Miller, Director of the BLCE. “The devices are not included in, nor may they be considered a part of, the Small Games of Chance Act.” Illegal machines such as these are unregulated and do not operate on true odds; the amount of money retained by the machine is determined by and set by the vendor. The payout percentage would never be known by the player of the machine and is not verified by any governmental or industry oversight.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 05/01 – 05/07

Shooting outside Argosy Casino leaves man critically injured

Police in Riverside are investigating a shooting outside the Argosy Casino that left one man critically injured early Saturday. The man was shot around 5 a.m. in the valet area of the casino, according to media reports. The victim was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries. Authorities from surrounding law enforcement agencies assisted in the search for two suspects, but neither was found.

June Jury Trial Set for Accused CU CEO Embezzler

A June jury trial is set for Nita Rae Nirschl a former president/CEO who was charged with embezzling more than $5 million from $13.3 million Parsons Pittsburg Credit Union that led to its insolvency. During an April 12 hearing in U.S. District Court in Wichita, Kan., the 64-year-old former executive was arraigned on an 81-count indictment including 22 counts of embezzlement, 37 counts of money laundering, 18 counts of interstate transportation of stolen property and four counts of attempting to evade taxes. Federal prosecutors charged that she embezzled more than $5 million from the credit union over four years. The indictment alleged Nirschl deposited stolen funds into her personal accounts. She also allegedly withdrew the funds from ATMs at casinos at Missouri, Oklahoma, New Orleans and Lake Tahoe. Nirschl admitted that she and her husband wagered millions at casinos and typically broke even, but she denied gambling using credit union funds when questioned by examiners during an audit in January 2014.

Mother, 32, is jailed for 18 months after stealing £100,000 from her company

A mother who plundered almost £100,000 from her company and even stole cash while partying in Ibiza has been jailed. Natalie Akinola took so much money from ESS Birmingham that the electrical contractor went bust and six workers – including her brother – lost their jobs. The 32-year-old accessed the company’s system to take cash during her sunshine holiday and even stole wedding gift money meant to help pay staff wages. Passing sentence Judge Murray Creed said: ‘There is a really high degree of trust. ‘I believe it was sophisticated and planned over a sustained period.’ Akinola was responsible for the daily running of the ESS office as well as its accounts and payments to suppliers. Akinola told police she stole the money to pay off someone else’s gambling debt, as well as unsecured loan sharks.

Mercedes-Benz salesman stole £128,000 after ‘second chance’ at dealership

A car salesman who was given a “second chance” after attempting tocover up his criminal past has been jailed after stealing £128,770from Listers Mercedes-Benz in Grimsby. Grimsby Crown Court heard how 49-year-old Darren Thornton, of Marlborough Drive, Scunthorpe, had been sacked by another branch for covering up his convictions but was handed a £58,000 job after the dealership decided to give him a chance. The show of faith proved misplaced, however, when Thornton admitted taking the six-figure sum via fraud and money laundering between May 1, 2015 and June 3 last year. Dealer principal Steve Kilford was told by a sales executive a short time later that Thornton had taken £8,000 cash from a customer and paid it into his personal account, however. After concerns were raised about another £15,000 Thornton confessed, telling his employers to go to the police before blaming gambling debts from his past as the trigger of his stealing. Lowe said: “The defendant took skilful steps to cover his tracks to prevent the fraud being discovered.

Priest Accused Of Stealing $500K For Gambling 

A prominent religious figure in Philadelphia is accused of embezzling more than $500,000 from the Catholic Church to fund a lavish lifestyle that included trips to local casinos. The federal government said earlier this month that Msgr. William Dombrow, 77, went gambling at Harrah’s Casino in Chester with money that was for a home for retired priests. Dombrow was in charge of the home’s finances. The government said that the scheme went on for nearly nine years until the bank became suspicious of some transactions and alerted the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. According to, Dombrow was charged with four counts of wire fraud by way of a criminal information. If convicted, he could face 80 years in prison. His attorney said that Dombrow is “ashamed to have shed such a bad light on the Archdiocese.”

Dombrow’s case isn’t the first of its kind. In 2014, a priest in Ottawa was sentenced to a year in prison after admitting to stealing $130,000 from the church to fund his gambling addiction. In 2015, a Roman Catholic priest in Massachusetts was given five years of probation for stealing a sum of $240,000 to feed his years-long gambling habit. Catholic nuns and Buddhist monks have also been charged with stealing money to fund casino trips.

Police say dispute over drugs, gambling led to Boynton shootings 


A 31-year-old Boynton Beach man was arrested Thursday in connection with a shooting that occurred in January in the northern end of the city. Police say that James Young II shot two men the evening of Jan. 24 during an argument over drugs and gambling. He faces charges of aggravated battery with a firearm, being a felon in possession of a firearm and marijuana possession. Young was released Saturday from the Palm Beach County Jail after posting $203,000 bail. Detectives received numerous anonymous tips indicating that Young was the gunman. They obtained a warrant to search his apartment. It was unclear from the police report whether investigators found video evidence of the shooting. However, officers did find a bag filled with marijuana, an electronic scale and clear plastic bags, according to the report. One of the shooting victims gave police a brief statement before being rushed into the surgery.

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