A Brief Look at Crime 09/25 – 10/01

Father, son plead guilty to running illegal sports betting ring out of San Diego card room

A father and son accused of running a bookmaking operation out of the Lucky Lady Casino and Card Room on El Cajon Boulevard pleaded guilty in San Diego federal court Tuesday to a racketeering conspiracy. Segal’s son, Sydney Segal, 34, was an employee who managed the cage at the casino and admitted to co-mingling the illegal wagers with the card room’s legal profits, according to the plea agreement. He further admitted to acting as the operation’s bookkeeper, keeping a record of winning and losing bets. The indictment alleges the operation generated nearly $1 million in profits. Sanders Segal received 10 percent of profits in the enterprise, he admitted.

Teen Sitter, Her Mom and Beau Abandoned Infant at NY Casino

A 14-year-old babysitter, her 16-year-old boyfriend and the sitter’s 44-year-old mother have been arrested after allegedly abandoning a 9-month-old child at a Long Island casino. Authorities say the infant’s mother hired the teenage sitter, who claimed to be 18, from a childcare website on Monday. The mother didn’t arrive to pick her baby up at the pre-designated time, and the trio called police around 6:40 p.m. When cops got to the home in Ronkonkoma, police say the caregivers said they had resolved the issue and had arranged to meet the baby’s mother.

The sitter’s mother, Dejuana Stewart, and her daughter, who live in Ronkonkoma, along with the teenager’s 16-year-old boyfriend, who lives in Brooklyn, arranged to meet the baby’s mother at Jake’s 58 Hotel & Casino in Islandia. But there was an argument about pick-up arrangements and payment, and the trio ended up leaving the baby in a carrier on a bench outside, according to police. The teenage boyfriend was the one who left the carrier, police say. He initially walked back to the car, but then went back to the bench, picked up the baby and brought the child inside to a security guard, officials say. The boyfriend told security he found the baby outside, police say. He then went back outside and drove off with his girlfriend and her mom.

Online gambling firm 888 hit with record £7.8m penalty

The Gambling Commission said there were “significant flaws” in the firm’s social responsibility processes. The regulator highlighted a technical failure which meant 7,000 customers who had chosen to bar themselves from their 888 accounts were still able to gamble. Another customer bet more than £1.3m over 13 months before he was identified as having a problem. The Gambling Commission said “the lack of interaction with the customer, given the frequency, duration and sums of money involved in the gambling, raised serious concerns about 888’s safeguarding of customers at-risk of gambling harm”. The chief executive of rival betting company Ladbrokes Coral told the BBC that the whole sector was in the process of learning how best to manage the problem of vulnerable gamblers. “We have a responsibility to look after our customers. Ladbrokes Coral are also on that journey and there are issues that we’ve found in the past. But we are working with the Gambling Commission,” said Jim Mullen.

Arizona man accused of stealing $711K in taxes from clients

An Arizona man has been indicted for allegedly stealing more than $700,000 in federal employment taxes from Phoenix-area businesses over a two-year period. Internal Revenue Service officials say John Chandler Propstra is accused of tax evasion and is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 13 in U.S. District Court in Phoenix. Authorities say Propstra owned and operated entities that acted as outsourced human resources departments for his small- and medium-sized business clients who didn’t want to handle payroll or other functions internally. Investigators say Propstra failed to pay the IRS nearly $711,000 in employment taxes from his clients’ businesses in tax years 2010 and 2011. They say Propstra spent most of the money on trips to Hawaii and Las Vegas, gambling online and at casinos, jewelry and tickets to sporting events.

Men posed as law enforcement before killing Kissimmee man

Osceola County deputies said two suspects accused of shooting and killing a Kissimmee man posed as law enforcement officers before robbing the victim. Darvis Houston was shot and killed in March at an illegal after-hours gambling location, deputies said. Investigators said two masked men, now identified as Chrisson Nicolaas, 31, and Christopher Brooks, 30, walked into Versatile Motor Sports on Michigan Avenue after posing as law enforcement officers and robbed Houston. Police said the men dressed in generic police gear. A struggle ensued and Houston was shot and killed, deputies said.

Bookkeeper who stole more than $1 million gets prison term

A bookkeeper who stole more than $1 million from her former employer to fuel her addictions is now headed to state prison. Virginia DeBerri received a six-year sentence on Friday. The 53-year-old Brick woman had pleaded guilty in January to theft by unlawful taking. Monmouth County prosecutors say DeBerri wrote herself more than 500 unauthorized company checks over a five-year period and deposited them into her personal bank account. She also increased her own salary by manipulating the company’s payroll without authorization. DeBerri’s attorney said his client has long struggled with Xanax, alcohol and gambling addictions and used the stolen money to finance those addictions.

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

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Hurricane Irma Brings out the Worst in Feuding Florida Casinos

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the desire for the gambling industry to push new casinos into Florida and to the benefit of Florida families, most of the efforts to expand gambling, especially through full-scale Vegas-Style casinos, has failed. More recently, reports have surfaced that the industry really views gamblers as prey and they seek out specifically target the must vulnerable. So to some degree, its shouldn’t seem shocking to learn that at a time when communities should come together, like after a major hurricane that rocks an entire state, casinos are instead fighting over who has the right to prey on whom. This unbelievable story centers around one casino actively trying to attract the gamblers from anther casino whose property was damaged as a result of Hurricane Irma, and the classless media fighting and jabs they took at each other. Mardi Gras Casino is closed due to damage and nearby Gulfstream Park Racing is doing everything it can to lay claim to their gamblers. An online source reports:

The two casinos have long been sworn rivals, and are regularly in hot competition for sixth place (out of eight) in Florida’s pari-mutuel market. And while there may be little wrong with healthy competition, Mardi Gras contends its old foe is being exploitive, and has taken things too far.

According to the /Miami Herald/, since the hurricane hit the state on Sep. 10, Gulfstream has been advertising that it will honor loyalty coupons Mardi Gras gives to top players offering free slots play.

“It is sad and pathetic, but not surprising,” Mardi Gras PresidentDan Adkins told the /Herald/. “It’s so sad when you have a community hat’s battered and someone feels like now’s the time to be an opportunist. It’s indicative of their nature and that’s OK with me.”

But Gulfstream Park’s assistant GM Ernie Dellaverson says Adkins is being a bit disingenuous.

“We’re just doing something that’s been done since the beginning of casino marketing,” he says. “If the roles were reversed, I’d expect them to do [the same]. It’s about helping the players, and I haven’t heard a complaint so far.”

As if those actions and comments weren’t shocking and damaging enough, the fighting for Florida families in the wake of a natural disaster got even uglier when the focus was centered on the competition that would follow after the Mardi Gras casino reopened. The sad display continued through the previous source: 

Adkins contends Gulfstream is still sore about being beaten to the sixth spot in casino earnings this year, albeit by a photo finish. Mardi Gras posted $51 million in gross gaming revenue for the first half of 2017, compared to Gulfstream Park’s $50 million.

But ultimately, Adkins says he believes his casino will win in the long run because it has a certain Buddhist spiritual principle of cause and effect on its side. “Here at Mardi Gras we have a little friend named Karma,” he said.“When we rise from the ashes, the grandeur of Mardi Gras, along withKarma, will more than overcome these senseless, childish opportunists.” Although, for such a believer in Karma, he must be asking what he did in a previous life for his casino to get trashed by a hurricane while the other one a mile up the road is doing just fine. “When we reopen,” he said, “we’re going to go back to kicking their ass.” 

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


A Brief Look at Crime 09/18 – 09/24

Dramatic moment armed cops stormed Las Vegas casino in hunt for ‘active shooter’ after Mayweather v McGregor fight 

Dozens of cops stormed the Cromwell Hotel as panic spread among thousands of fans who descended on Sin City for the blockbuster contest. A video shot by super-middleweight star Eubank Jr shows officers drawing their weapons and shouting “hold that door” as they charge towards the venue in what was treated as an “active shooter” scenario. Footage shows hundreds of people cowering on the floor inside the Cromwell Hotel before cops and security order everyone to evacuate the building. DailyMail.com reported that it is believed a brawl had broken out near the casino entrance which led to heavy ornamental statues being knocked over – causing the loud noises which sparked the panic. Cops later confirmed no active shooter was on the loose.

Woman receives life sentence for husband’s murder

A 49-year-old Sand Lake area woman convicted of first-degree murder in the death of her husband will spend the rest of her life in prison. Duram was convicted of first-degree murder and a felony firearm charge in the shooting death of her husband, 46-year-old Martin Duram. The man was shot five times in May 2015 at the couple’s Ensley Township home, police said. Officers arrived at the home to find Martin Duram dead and Glenna Duram with a bullet wound in her head. She was transported to a hospital for treatment, and survived. The scene was initially reported to be a suicide. Police suggested financial issues may have led to a fight between the Durams. Their probe into the incident looked at the couple’s gambling habits and the fact that their home was in foreclosure.

Hermosa Beach Ironman champ gets probation for role in gambling, narcotics ring

Five-time winner of the Hermosa Beach Ironman competition, Jeff Bellandi, was sentenced last week to three years probation including eight months of house arrest for his role in a criminal gambling and money laundering ring. Bellandi, also a co-owner of Waterman’s on Pier Plaza, reportedly served as a bookmaker for Owen “O-dog” Hanson, a Redondo Union High School graduate and former USC football player, who faces a minimum of 20 years in prison. Bellandi pled guilty in January to operating an illegal gambling business and money laundering, though none of the charges traced back to the popular Hermosa Beach bar. According to federal prosecutors with the Southern District of California, Bellandi set up a shell corporation and laundered roughly $4.1 million in cash for Hanson that was obtained through illegal gambling proceeds and narcotic sales.

West Salem woman pleads guilty to embezzling over $800,000 from Onalaska church

A West Salem woman has pleaded guilty to financial and tax crimes in a scheme to defraud an Onalaska church of $832,210. Snyder served as the secretary and accounting clerk for the church, and the embezzlement she’s accused of took place between 2006 and 2015. Snyder took a portion of the church’s funds during that time and used them for gambling, according to Acting U.S Attorney Anderson. To avoid detection, Snyder discarded records of church collections, created false entries in accounting records and lied to church auditors, Anderson said. Snyder filed a false Individual Income Tax Return for 2015, where she underreported her gross income, Anderson said.

Man killed in shooting at Hon-Dah Casino

A man was killed around 10 a.m. Monday during an apparent failed armored car robbery attempt the Hon-Dah Resort Casino and Conference Center. The incident was a second violent incident in more than a month at the White Mountain Apache Tribe-owned resort and casino. The FBI’s Phoenix office, along with Bureau of Indian Affairs officials, said a cash courier making a stop at the Hon-Dah Resort Casino was approached by a man who sprayed her with an unidentified chemical irritant. The courier then reportedly pulled her pistol and shot the man on the spot at the front door of the casino, where he fell and died a short time later. No one else was injured in the shooting and no one else is suspected in the robbery attempt, Phoenix FBI representative Jill McCabe said. “The cash carrier was treated on scene and is expected to be OK,” she said. The FBI has not yet released the name of the deceased man, but plans to do so pending notification of his family.

Online gambling firm 888 hit with record £7.8m penalty

Online gambling firm 888 is to pay a record penalty of £7.8m after it failed to protect vulnerable customers. The Gambling Commission said there were “significant flaws” in the firm’s social responsibility processes. The regulator highlighted a technical failure which meant 7,000 customers who had chosen to bar themselves from their 888 accounts were still able to gamble. Another customer bet more than £1.3m over 13 months before he was identified as having a problem. Sarah Harrison, chief executive at the Gambling Commission, said the penalty would ensure that “lessons are learnt”. Part of the penalty package will be used to repay £3.5m in deposits made by the customers who had self-excluded themselves when they wanted to stop gambling.

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


Florida’s Voters in Charge Petition Reaches 200K Signature and Receives addition backing by Disney

Casino Watch Focus has reported on Voter’s In Charge petition for Florida voters. The idea is simple, voters should have the final say in gambling expansion. It shouldn’t be enough for legislators to pass gambling expansion, in especially in an era of backroom deals and cronyism. They believe when an issue has such a drastic impact on Florida families, specifically gambling expansion, the final decision should be left to the voters. So far the petition has passed all the normal steps on its way being on the ballot, including a look by the Supreme Court. Its now being reported that an important milestone is being reached and additional support continues. An online source reports: 

Disney Worldwide Services, part of the Disney entertainment empire, contributed another $600,000 in August into a Florida ballot initiative that could make it harder to expand gambling in the state. This, according to a newly filed campaign-finance report.

As of Aug. 31, Disney had contributed $1.75 million of the $1.98 million raised by a political committee known as Voters In Charge. The group is at the forefront of efforts to get the initiative on the November 2018 ballot. The initiative would change the Florida Constitution by giving voters the “exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling” in the state.

The political committee needs to submit a total of 766,200 petition signatures to get on the ballot. As of Sept. 11, it had submitted 216,469 signatures, according to the state Division of Elections website. The committee had spent $1.47 million as of Aug. 31, with the majority of the money going to petition gathering and verification.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 09/11 – 09/17

Addicted gambler gets house arrest after stealing $1 million

A Burford woman who stole almost $1 million from her CIBC employer was given a remarkably light sentence in Ontario Court last week due to her equally remarkable response to the crimes. Margaret Pepper, 56, was sentenced to a form of house arrest for two years rather than being sent to jail, which is typical for frauds of that magnitude. Pepper’s story began when she and co-workers from the CIBC’s Lynden Park Mall branch celebrated a birthday at the Brantford Casino. It started a major gambling addiction for the woman as she returned repeatedly to the casino, eventually spending $100,000 of her own funds and those of family. According to police, Pepper then began using her bank position to transfer money between client accounts and open new accounts in the names of some clients. Her scheme worked from October 2010 until November 2014 when an internal bank audit uncovered the theft. By that time, the bank had lost nearly $1 million, although it ensured no clients were out of pocket. The bank wasn’t initially named because it insisted, as the victim of a crime, it didn’t want to be identified. Pepper wasn’t charged until February 2016 and by that time, despondent at what she had done, she tried to take her own life.

‘Friction in gambling territory’: Vaughan kingpin Mark Peretz shot

Former Vaughan resident and illegal online gambling businessman Mark Peretz was the victim of an organized crime hit-style shooting at Sherway Gardens, according to CTV News. The news organization said it was told by a police source that it was Peretz who was shot in a brazen shooting at the Etobicoke mall on Aug. 16, around 7:30 p.m., that left him in life-threatening condition. According to an eyewitness in a CBC report, a man dressed in black with a mask suddenly appeared outside the mall and started firing into the driver’s side window of a car with a firearm that appeared to be fitted with a silencer. Peretz rose to infamy in the GTA after he was sentenced to nine years in prison for helping to mastermind an intended hit on reputed mobster Michele Modica. Getaway driver Peretz’s associates, Antonio Borrelli of Richmond Hill and Hells Angels member Paris Christoforou, fired 20 bullets in a failed attempt to kill Modica, who allegedly owed some $130,000 worth of gambling debts to Peretz. Reputed mobster Pietro “Peter” Scarcella was also sentenced to 10 years in prison for the incident.

Robbery suspect shoots 3 in Fort Worth, prompting gambling investigation

A robbery suspect is believed to have shot three people overnight, prompting an investigation into gambling at the building in East Fort Worth, police said. Three people had entered the building and attempted to rob three other people, police spokesman Daniel Segura said. The victims refused to cooperate, and one of the gunmen opened fire. He struck one person in the abdomen and another person was wounded in the leg. Police believe the third victim was also shot but left before officers arrived, Segura said. Detectives are also investigating gaming at the location, which is listed online as Pamir Smoke Shop.

Video Gambling Linked to Crime Spike

A new study led by economists at the University of Illinois suggests that access to video gambling is responsible for an increase of violent crime and property crime in Chicago. The Video Gaming Act of Illinois took effect in 2012, allowing local businesses with a liquor license to have up to four gambling terminals; presently, there are somewhere around 6,000 video gambling parlors in the state. Chicago maintains its 1993 ban on gambling, but access to video gambling has increased in the city thanks to its adoption by neighboring municipalities. Unlike other gambling studies which have been region- or state- specific, the authors analyzed block-level data. Drawing on police reports between January 2006 and June 2016, as well as monthly data on establishments with video gambling from the Illinois Gaming Board, the study found that “access to gambling adds on average 0.10 and 0.28 violent and property crimes per block group each month. In other words, legalizing video gambling has contributed to approximately 1,450 and 4,100 additional violent and property crimes in  Chicago since the Video Gaming Act took effect.”

While former studies have found a positive link between casinos and increased crime, the authors point out that “crime effects due to casino openings are driven by multiple mechanisms, not just gambling itself,” including an increase of visitors to counties where a casino has opened. By looking at video gambling only, researchers were able to eliminate factors extraneous to gambling.

North-east IT worker jailed after taking £1 million from council

A council IT expert who admitted swindling more than £1 million of public cash has been jailed. Mark Conway, 52, from Brechin began siphoning off local authority money into his own bank account to pay online gambling debts. He got away with the fraud for seven years before bosses at Dundee City Council grew suspicious. Conway, who admitted defrauding £1,065,085, lost the money betting on football matches. The offence was committed between August 2009 and May last year. Only £7,337 of the money was recovered. Judge Graeme Buchanan told first offender Conway: “I accept it was your addiction to gambling that led to the commission of this crime. “However, that is no excuse for what you did.” Judge Buchanan told Conway it was “a serious breach of trust.”

Identity theft, bank fraud at local casinos earns prison term 

A Las Vegas man was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for defrauding casinos, including two large local Native American operations. Frank Luo 49, was sentenced by Judge Kim Mueller of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento. Luo and a conspirator are accused of causing losses of more than $1.1 million to casinos and credit card companies. From 2008 to 2014, Luo used fake identities along with the names and Social Security numbers of migrant workers to apply for credit at casinos, called casino markers, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. A marker is essentially a cash advance from a casino, secured by a check from the patron. Luo and his accomplice would borrow money, and then pay it back, even sometimes faking that they were losing money gambling, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Luo worked in concert with other people to get and then pay down makers in order to show they were good for more credit. After building up and establishing creditworthiness, they would gather large sums on markers in a short time and leave with the cash.

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


Unsurprisingly, Casino Lobby Joins New Jersey in Attempt to Sway Supreme Court in favor of Legalized Sports Betting

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the many attempts by New Jersey to legally allow sports betting in their state, despite federal law that makes it illegal. Every attempt made has resulted in the courts shutting down the illegal sports gambling. The case will finally be resolved one way or another later this year when the Supreme Court will examine the issue. The list of opponents of this expanded sports betting is long and includes all the major sports and collegiate organizations such as the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. Not surprisingly, the casino lobby is coming to the side of New Jersey and they have submitted a brief to the Supreme Court. The Washington Examiner reports: 

The American Gaming Association filed a brief on Tuesday supporting Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in his upcoming Supreme Court fight with top U.S. athletic leagues over sports betting. Christie’s team argues that federal law banning sports betting violates states protections under the 10th Amendment. More than two decades ago, New Jersey failed to take advantage of a window in federal law to run sports gambling, but then decided to do so on its own in 2011.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association challenged the New Jersey law, along with the NBA, NFL, NHL, and Major League Baseball. The Supreme Court has yet to set a date for oral arguments this term in the sports gambling case, which will be closely watched as its outcome could change sports gambling rules throughout the country.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 09/04 – 09/10

SCV suspect arrested in online gambling raid pleads guilty

New York prosecutors are whittling away at the list of Santa Clarita Valley men arrested in a massive joint forces series of raids carried out almost two years ago in connection with an illegal $32 million nationwide sports betting ring, The five local men were among 17 suspects across the country indicted Oct. 28, 2015, by a Queens County grand jury on charges of unlawfully operating a highly sophisticated sports gambling enterprise that stretched from New York to California and used offshore-based gambling websites. According to the grand jury indictment, the online gambling enterprise, which is alleged to have booked more than $32 million in bets annually, is also accused of laundering its criminal proceeds by depositing and withdrawing large sums of cash from various banks throughout the United States. Members of a multi-agency police operation led by New York Police Department investigators surrounded a Saugus home Oct. 28 and arrested Irani, alleged to be the ring’s kingpin, law enforcement officials said.

Wedding planner conned dozens of couples out of £130k to feed gambling addiction

A wedding planner conned dozens of couples out of £130,000 to feed his gambling addiction and then jetted off to a holiday in Ibiza. Craig Williamson is facing jail after ruining his victims’ dream weddings, who had booked their big day at a grand castle setting. Williamson worked at Guthrie Castle in Angus but he took his victims’ money and failed to record their bookings, the Daily Record reports. As a result, some weddings were double or triple-booked and other couples were left in limbo, not sure whether their big day would go ahead.The castle’s owner, American businessman and multi-millionaire Dan Pena, has paid more than £130,000 from his own pocket to cover refunds and honour bookings taken by the conman. At Dundee Sheriff Court yesterday, gambling addict Williamson, 42, admitted fraud between July 16, 2015, and April last year.

Jack Entertainment fined $200,000 by Ohio Casino Control Commission for Underage Gambling

Jack Entertainment will pay a $200,000 fine to the Ohio Casino Control Commission for allowing underage patrons into the Cleveland casino and giving unauthorized employees access to the computer management program for the Cleveland and Cincinnati casinos. “We acknowledge the significance of the matters identified by the Ohio Casino Control Commission and take our compliance with their important operational policies and procedures seriously,” Matt Cullen, Jack chief executive officer, said in a statement. “We have swiftly taken steps to respond to these issues and will continue to work with the Commission to ensure ongoing compliance.” Both issues arose last year after Jack Entertainment took over ownership of the casinos from Caesar’s Entertainment Corp., said commission spokeswoman Jessica Franks. “We found a number of cases where underaged individiuals were allowed on the property,” she said. “We get that you will never have 100 percent compliance in keeping out minors and the Cleveland casino has unique features,” she said. “But we found that basically the security personnel were not following procedures that are supposed to be followed to screen out individuals.”

Trio embezzled $750K – Probation for former seniors director; casino employee, mother await sentencing

Three Atmore women recently entered guilty pleas in two separate federal court cases to charges they collectively embezzled more than $750,000 from the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. According to a press release issued by Steve Butler, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, 54-year-old Carolyn Dortch was sentenced on August 4 to serve five years on probation for using her former position to steal tribal money. Court documents show that Dortch was employed as Poarch’s senior services director from around 2010 until October 2016. She was in charge of the tribe’s Seniors Active in Learning (SAIL) Center, which provided numerous activities for seniors such as meals on wheels, games, crafts and outings. The Atmore woman was responsible for purchasing food and supplies and for handling tribal money on senior trips. In October 2016, tribal accountants discovered that Dortch had been apparently “misusing her position of employment and submitting falsified receipts representing fictitious purchases.” Federal Bureau of Investigation agents took over the probe and discovered that over a six-year period Dortch had embezzled more than a half-million dollars from the tribe and used the money for personal gain.

Gambling addict who defrauded company out of £1.7m ordered to pay almost £800k

An online gambling addict has been ordered to repay almost £800,000 after defrauding her employers of more than £1.7 million. Tracey Stevenson, 54, from Arlington Way, Thetford, Norfolk, was instructed to pay back £786,766.38 to refurbishment contractors Ecsec Ltd in Newmarket. Stevenson had been found guilty of fraud at Cambridge Crown Court in July last year, but the same court had a confiscation proceeding on Friday, August 11 and determined that amount. Stevenson had fraudulently diverted in excess of £1.7 million from the company’s bank accounts, which she used to buy two houses in the UK and one in Spain, as well as fund an addiction to online gambling. She committed these crimes between 2011 and 2016. Her criminal activity was uncovered after Ecsec Ltd suffered from cash flow problems in January and launched an investigation, which caused Stevenson to go on sick leave. The account manager’s lies were uncovered however, when her husband discovered a suicide note that confessed the crimes. He later told the company bosses.

NM woman pleads guilty to stealing $400K for child care meal money

Capitan woman pleaded guilty last week to embezzling $400,000 in federal money meant to reimburse child care centers for meals provided to kids. Gina McPherson, 50, faces up to 10 years in federal prison after admitting she stole the funds while working as the manager of the day care center for employees’ kids at the Inn of the Mountain Gods resort near Ruidoso. According to a criminal complaint against her, McPherson tried to deny she stole the money but ultimately admitted to an FBI agent that she took it to pay for her gambling addiction. “McPherson acknowledged having a gambling problem and stated, ‘I felt like I gave them back everything I took from them … gambling it back,’ referring to gambling losses McPherson incurred at (the resort) and other Native American casinos,” FBI agent Lisa Kite Hill wrote in the complaint.

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