Latest News
8/16/09 to 8/22/09

National Gambling Crimes

Aces Wired Pleads Guilty in Statewide Gambling Case

TX - An Aces Wired entity pleaded guilty to operating an illegal gambling operation. In addition to the corporation's plea, founder and board member Gordon Graves, 72, pleaded guilty to felony tampering with evidence charges. The state's investigation into Aces Wired and its executives is believed to be the largest coordinated gambling prosecution in Texas history. Roughly $1 million in assets also must be forfeited by Aces Wired because of the guilty pleas. / 8/17

Alabama Police Forces Raid VFW Hall for Gambling Machines

AL - The state debate over whether electronic bingo games are a form of illegal gambling in Alabama continued, as a district attorney led police forces into a VFW hall to seize machines from the elderly heroes. Rumors persist that link [Gov.] Riley to Mississippi tribal casinos, whose campaign contributions to his gubernatorial run are hidden from public eyes by Alabama law. / by Preston Lewis / August 18, 2009

Austin executive pleads guilty in gambling inquiry

TX - Gordon Graves, the Austin millionaire who rolled the dice in 2005 when he founded a gambling enterprise of uncertain legality, agreed on Monday to plead guilty to a single felony charge of tampering with evidence as part of a sweeping deal to end three separate criminal prosecutions against his company, An inductee of the Lottery Industry Hall of Fame and former chief executive of Multimedia Games Inc., an Austin-based gambling products company, Graves began Aces Wired to exploit a gray area in state gambling laws. Instead of rewarding players of its slot-machinelike devices with cash, which is illegal, Aces used a debit-cardlike system called "amusement with prize," in which customers accumulated points they could later redeem for merchandise. Aces, by comparison, operated aggressively in the open. Its stock was publicly traded. Its parlors were well-lit and clean. The company advertised on giant highway billboards; / AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN / By Eric Dexheimer / August 18, 2009

Casino Workers Make Out Like Bandits On One-Arm Bandits

FL - Employees at Gulfstream Park... Rigged cards that normally contain five dollars with hundreds of dollars, allowing them to play unlimitedly, Employees were able to win almost $290,000... Six employees ended up getting fired and one ended up convicted. / By CARLOS MILLER / Aug 22, 2009

Coast Guard Official Embezzled Over $1.4 Million

CT - A senior U.S. Coast Guard... Academy athletics department official embezzled more than $1.4 million from a student sports fund to pay gambling debts before killing himself in March, Shortly before he was found dead in his car of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Alex Simonka admitted to federal investigators that he took $1.4 million between 2004 and 2009. He acknowledged that he misappropriated an additional amount... The academy did not elaborate on his gambling activities. / The Hartford Courant / By EDMUND H. MAHONY / August 22, 2009

Couple at Joliet casino charged with leaving kids in van

IL - Ibarra told police he had gone into the casino to find Ayala, who was gambling, / Tribune staff report / August 19, 2009

Courts Determine Poker a Game of Chance, Not Skill

PA - Undercover officers had attended several of the poker tournaments, and Burns, 65, was later indicted. Burns, a lawyer... Deemed that, under Pennsylvania law, Poker is a game of skill rather then chance, and should not be subject to gambling laws. Unfortunately for him, the jury did not agree. / Gambling News / by Glen / August 17th, 2009

Firefighters Putting Their Chips On Bill

PA - Lawrence Burns of Latrobe was convicted last week in Westmoreland County court on charges of illegal gambling connected to a Seward Volunteer Fire Company tournament. The attorney general's office ordered the fire company last year to forfeit $40,814 in poker earnings. / August 19, 2009

Gambler son ordered tried in parents' slayings

CA - A professional gambler was ordered to stand trial Friday on charges that he murdered his parents in their Pleasanton country club home in hopes of reaping an early inheritance to pay off mounting gaming and other debts. Witnesses testified that the younger Scherer had been in a desperate financial situation and stood to gain $1.5 million from his parents' inheritance. Scherer III's grandfather testified on video that the defendant was a compulsive gambler who "could not be trusted with large sums of money," The victims were beaten and stabbed in... Their pajama-clad bodies were found a week later. / Chronicle / Henry K. Lee / August 22, 2009

Gambling Ring Busted Up At Social Club In Michigan

MI - Illegal gambling operations come in many different size and colors. They are set up in houses, restaurants, bars, and in the case of Warren, Michigan, a social club. That is where the latest police crackdown on illegal gambling activity took place. / / By Tom Jones / August 21, 2009

Indiana man pleads guilty to embezzling from estate of World War II veteran

MI - Jeffrey Choate pleaded guilty on Friday to charges he gambled away thousands of dollars from the estate of his step-grandfather, a decorated World War II veteran. In exchange for Choate's plea, the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office dropped two, more serious charges of embezzling $100,000 or more. The office also required Choate to turn over to Michael Sierminski's estate more than $400,000 in U.S. savings bonds, which Choate had earlier tried unsuccessfully to cash. Choate made nine wire transfers of at least $10,000 to the Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo. The older Sierminski was wounded while serving in the Philippines during World War II and went to church every Sunday. / Jackson Citizen Patriot / by Danielle Quisenberry / August 21, 2009

Internet cafes or gambling parlors?

FL - There are two styles of these places to play locally. One has arcade-style gaming machines offering a more Las Vegas-type experience. But instead of taking money for each play and dumping cash winnings into a catch bin, these devices work on purchased credits and print out prize receipts when a player wins. Other Internet-gaming businesses feature rows and rows of desktop monitors, more like PC computer screens. At first blush these places strongly resemble gambling parlors, and that fact isn't lost on authorities, who have grappled with the question of the legality of these businesses. They operate within a "gray area" -- a loophole -- of Florida sweepstakes law, officials say. Agents seized 76 computers and two ATMs from properties in Silver Springs Shores and Dunnellon. This case may also set precedence across the country, An article on the site reported San Diego police raided five Internet cafes and seized 31 machines and $11,000 cash in June and noted the similarity between Florida and California law. Marion officials deemed it was gambling, Because slot machines are defined under Florida Statute as "any device that by insertion of money, coin or other object is caused to operate . . . and the operator by reason of any element of chance might receive or become entitled to anything of value." "I see these things pop up all the time and these places know we review (them and the law) as we go along," Leising [Assistant State Attorne] said. "If we feel an organization is gambling, we'll go after them." / By JULIE MURPHY / August 16, 2009

Local Internet cafes still open despite Seminole raids

FL - Longwood police, with the assistance of the Seminole County Sheriff's Office, raided one Allied Veterans cafe in Longwood and a second in Apopka... Months of investigation, complete with video surveillance and the advice of the Internal Revenue Service, FBI, an independent gambling expert and the statewide prosecutor, led to the raids... A resident called Longwood police after his disabled brother, who receives government aid, lost his money there. Kelly Mathis, a Jacksonville attorney who represents Allied Veterans of the World -- a nonprofit organization headquartered in North Carolina -- said he can't understand the raid or the seizure of computers, other equipment and money. Leising [local Assistant State Attorney] has said, because of legal loopholes, it's difficult to bring a winnable case against these businesses. / By JULIE MURPHY / August 22, 2009

Macomb County news briefs: Warren police raid gambling operation

MI - Warren Police said they issued 41 violations and made one arrest after raiding a gambling operation at a social club Wednesday night. / BY STEVE NEAVLING AND CHRISTINA HALL / Aug. 21, 2009

Michael Vick's Second Chance

- A Rasmussen Poll of July 30 finds that 82% of black Americans think the National Football League is right to allow Vick-who was recently released from prison after serving time for operating a dog-fighting ring-to resume his athletic career. Among white Americans, however, 46% favor banning Vick from the NFL. Some people make the case that dog fighting-with all of its violence, gambling and male posturing-has deep roots in rural, Southern culture, much like cock-fighting in Latin America. / OPINION / By JUAN WILLIAMS / AUGUST 19, 2009

Nevada gambling regulators add man to 'black book'

NV - Nevada gambling regulators permanently banned a convicted cheater from entering casinos in the state. McNeive became the 36th person on the current list, originally created in 1960 to combat organized crime. The Nevada attorney general's office has said McNeive has a lengthy criminal history that includes prison time in the state for theft, forgery and having a cheating device. / Associated Press / By OSKAR GARCIA / 08.21.09

Online university embezzler gets 4 years in prison

IL - Man who embezzled more than $580,000... Blew it gambling... Spent it on online gambling [etc.] / Tribune staff / August 18, 2009

Pennsylvania Jury: Poker "Is Not a Skill Game"

PA - Poker has been declared NOT a game of skill by a Pennsylvania jury. 65 year old Lawrence Burns was charged with 12 counts of illegal gambling... / 19 August 2009

Police: Man Scams $2.5M From Women

AZ - A man has been arrested and accused of swindling $2.5 million from six women whom he met in bars and casinos over the past four years, Scottsdale police said. He has also admitted that he has a gambling addiction, police said. / August 20, 2009

Police: Providence woman stole money, bet at casinos

RI - State police have charged a woman with obtaining money [$860,000] under false pretenses and spending it at casinos in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. While preparing the corporations' tax returns for the years 2007 and 2008, the business owners noticed unauthorized cash withdrawals. / Thomas J. Morgan / Aug 21, 2009

Potter authorities crack down on gambling

TX - Potter County investigators raided a suspected eight-liner business on Paramount Boulevard early Thursday, seizing cash, records and hardware, then served three search warrants on local banks seeking evidence related to possible illegal gambling proceeds. Gambling is illegal in Texas. Eight-liner machines are similar to casino-style slot machines, rewarding players with either cash or vouchers. / By Cheryl Berzanskis / August 22, 2009

State Sen. Jeff Smith considering resigning, sources say

MO - State Sen. Jeff Smith of St. Louis is considering resigning his seat because of a federal investigation involving his 2004 Democratic primary race for U.S. Congress, according to state government sources. Smith's term, however, has not been free of controversy. In 2007, Smith was cited for using somebody else's identification to gain entry to a gambling boat in Boonville - a misdemeanor. Smith, who forgot his drivers license on the lobbyist-led gambling excursion, used another legislator's "player's card" to enter the casino. He later gained the attention of casino security for refusing to put his BlackBerry down while playing poker. Charges were dropped earlier this year after voters in 2008 rescinded the loss-limit law - making the requirement to swipe an entrance card obsolete. / POST-DISPATCH JEFFERSON CITY BUREAU / By Tony Messenger / 08/16/2009

Store owners charged with illegal gambling

VA - The raid yielded three slot machines and more than $600 in cash. / By Erin McGrath / August 19, 2009

Suicide try made by suspect

MA - A second man arrested in connection with the fatal shooting... Remained under guard at Springfield hospital Saturday after attempting suicide, police said. DeJesus and Bonilla-Torres shot Hernandez in an attempt to rob him of his gambling winnings, said Holyoke police Chief Anthony R. Scott. / By MIKE McAULIFFE / August 16, 2009

Sunday Raid Nets Gambling Related Arrests In South Carolina

SC - The latest poker gambling related arrests came on Sunday in South Carolina, where eighteen people were arrested in conjunction with a law enforcement raid. There were also varying drugs that were found... / / By Terry Goodwin / August 18, 2009

Texas Completes Biggest Gambling Prosecution Ever

TX - In addition to the illegal gambling charges, founder of Aces Wired, Gordon Graves, plead guilty to felony tampering with evidence charges. The state of Texas is just one state that is attempting to crack down on these illegal gambling establishments. / / By Terry Goodwin / August 17, 2009

Three arrested during game room raid

TX - After an investigation was conducted... Warrants were issued resulting in three arrests Tuesday. Sheriff's Office had received numerous complaints from the community concerning illegal gambling activities... All three were arrested for engaging in organized criminal activities, / 08/19/2009

Tucson Man Arrested in Alleged $1.5M Fraud

AZ - Police... Arrested a... Tucson man they suspect used a scam to defraud several women of more than $1.5 million... He has a gambling addiction... / 21 Aug 2009

Two gaming operations in Seminole County raided

FL - Police and Seminole County deputy sheriffs raided two gaming operations this morning, seizing computers, equipment and cash. No arrests were made. Both are operated by the Allied Veterans of the World... Similar operations in Volusia County have been allowed to operate, with authorities citing a loophole in state laws. / Sentinel / Gary Taylor / August 20, 2009

U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot shows no leniency to robber

OK - A serial bank robber who was turned in by his son blamed gambling for his crimes. His defense attorney told the judge he has a gambling addiction. Gambling compulsively since he was 16... "He wasted no time going back to robbing banks," / BY NOLAN CLAY / August 21, 2009

US Postal Workers, Part Of Gambling Ring In New York, Are Arrested

NY - Another branch of the US Government took a publicity hit on Thursday when US postal workers in New York were arrested as part of a sting operation on an illegal lotto gambling operation that was being run at the US postal service. Hundreds of people played the illegal lottery game, including Department of Sanitation city workers. / / By Tom Jones / August 21, 2009

Update: Bingo hall raid in Roebuck yields $804,000, district attorney says

AL - More than $804,000 was confiscated in a safe and from electronic bingo machines seized Monday at a VFW bingo Hall... / Birmingham News / Tom Gordon / August 21, 2009

International Gambling Crimes

Gambler owns up to robbing law firms
South Africa - A self-confessed "pathological" gambler has asked the court for mercy... On multiple counts of fraud, money laundering and theft, amounting to more than R2-million. Gambled away the money she had saved for her daughter's wedding. / Staff Reporter / August 18 2009

Gambling not 'rite of passage'
Singapore - Saddled with a $600,000 debt, he committed criminal breach of trust, landing the 37-year-old in jail for four months last year. The danger of gambling among the youth was the focus of the two-day Singapore Problem Gambling Conference... While it is hard to pinpoint the prevalence of youth gambling here, studies have shown that most problem gamblers began their fixation in their teens. / The Straits Times / By Teh Joo Lin / Aug 17, 2009

Hotel boss stole #8k to feed gambling addiction
UK - A MAN handed himself in to police after stealing ?8,000 to fund a gambling addiction. Squandered the hotel's takings on a string of failed bets. Stealing the cash from his employer. / August 18, 2009

Inspectors seize illegal pokies
Australia - VICTORIAN gaming inspectors have seized 42 illegal poker machines which they believe may have been destined for illicit gambling dens. A man in his 20s faces up to six years' jail if he is charged with being in possession of illegal gaming machines. The main motive for having illegal poker machines is avoiding the heavy regulation and taxes imposed on licence holders. / August 19, 2009

Man tricks children's charity out of #8,180
UK - A gambling addict has been given a suspended prison sentence after he defrauded a charity for terminally ill children out of more than ?8,000. "While many people raise funds for good causes legitimately, Gary Ferris used money he had raised for charity to fund his gambling habits. After he was arrested in August last year, Ferris admitted during police interviews that he had an online gambling addiction that had left him tens of thousands of pounds in debt and resulted in the loss of his house and car. / 21/08/2009

Most problem gamblers get hooked at early age
Singapore - WHEN he was seven, he made a bet with his neighbour on the outcome of a football match, hoping to win his friend's toy robot - and he did. A lifelong gambling addiction that saw him losing all he had earned 28 years later - a scholarship and a lofty position in the government sector. Saddled with a $600,000 debt, the 37-year-old committed criminal breach of trust, landing himself in jail for four months last year. Overseas, casino visits have gained the reputation as 'the new rite of passage', said Canadian expert Jeffrey Derevensky. 'It's glamorous, it's exciting. Ministry of Community Development, Youth & Sports survey last year on Singaporeans aged 18 and above, which found that three out of four gamblers picked up the habit when they were 24 or younger. The youth - who started betting on soccer matches online and through bookies when he was 16 - had already racked up $700,000 in losses. His mother, who had been covering up for him, had to sell off the family condominium. / The Straits Times / By Teh Joo Lin & Ang Yiying / Aug 19, 2009

Son accused of hiring hitmen to murder mother
South Korea - Lee, a gambling addict, decided to kill his mother after she refused to give him any more of her property. Squandered 1.5 billion of this on gambling. / 8-18-09

Teen gambling addict took bank cards to pay off debts
UK - A 19-YEAR-OLD former gambling addict who tried to take nearly #8,000 from his father's bank account to pay off debts has been put behind bars for seven months. Kendall owed ?9,000 and struggled to pay huge interest rates, Because of his age and income he had to take out loans with extremely high interest rates. Two loans from loan sharks... At extremely high interest rates... / August 19, 2009

Woombye hotel fraud ends in jail
Australia - A motel manager was jailed on Monday after stealing almost $30,000 from his employer over five months in 2007. Had "a long-standing gambling addiction" / By Rae Wilson / 18th August 2009

Young gambling addict jailed
UK - A YOUNG gambling addict who had been seduced by casinos and fast cars was found with bundles of immaculately forged ?20 notes. Despite his young age [21], Hassan has a record of 51 previous offences which include obtaining property by deception and handling stolen goods. It's a gambling addiction he's had for years. In debt... / South Wales Echo / by Liz Keen / Aug 18 2009