Latest News
9/13/09 to 9/19/09

National Gambling Crimes

Another Government Seizure Attacks Online Gambling

- Another federal raid took place against the online gambling community. Authorities had sufficient evidence to take the money under the UIGEA and money laundering pretexts. Funds were forfeitable due to the nature of the funds being associated with illegal gambling activities and money laundering transactions. 30M had been seized by the federal government in the last two months from poker winnings, / Gambling News / by Glen / September 13th, 2009

Arts group treasurer charged with $400,000 theft

IN - Of an arts group... Charged with embezzling about $400,000. The 28-year-old Benker had a gambling problem and spent most of the money in Las Vegas. / Wire Reports / 9/18/2009

Blagojevich fundraiser dies days before he was to go to prison

IL - A former chief fundraiser for ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich died Saturday, just days before he was to report to prison to begin a three-year sentence for tax offenses. They included using his company's money to pay gambling debts and claiming it as a business expense. Also pleaded guilty last week to an $8.5 million fraud involving hangar roofing contracts at O'Hare International Airport. / AP / By MIKE ROBINSON / 09/13/2009

Cape clients betrayed by crooked attorneys

MA - Nancy Allen lost part of her inheritance when attorney John Roberts stole more than $100,000 from her mother. She says she felt "physically assaulted" when she learned Roberts used the money to finance a gambling habit... Roberts, now disbarred, pleaded guilty to stealing $137,000 from the estate of Alice May of Sandwich... He was arraigned on a charge of larceny by a single scheme in the theft of $650,000 from Norm Sasville... Allen, whose inheritance was partially stolen by Roberts, expressed similar feelings. Her mother, Alice May, had considered Roberts a friend. She said it felt like she had been "physically assaulted" when she figured out Roberts had grabbed the money to feed his gambling habit. / By George Brennan / September 13, 2009

Cockfighting ring, meth lab, weapons -- oh, my!

WA - An investigation into a cockfighting ring has unearthed a criminal enterprise in southeastern Pierce County, complete with cockfighting, illegal gambling, a marijuana grow operation and meth lab. Stolen cars and automatic weapons also were seized on the property. / By KOMO Staff / Sep 18, 2009

Dayton Police raid two convenience stores for promoting gambling - Three arrests

TX - Dayton Police raided two convenience stores in Dayton, Coleman emphasized the importance of ridding the area of this type of activity because the promotion of illegal gambling attracts other, more serious types of crime. / Sept 19, 2009

Eight more accused of cheating casinos

CA - Eight more people have been indicted in a scheme to cheat 11 casinos around the country, including three in San Diego County, 30 people have pleaded guilty... / September 19, 2009

Ex-Penrod treasurer charged with theft, forgery

IN - A former treasurer accused of stealing nearly $382,000 from the Penrod Society may have blown the money on a gambling addiction, Stayed solvent only because of a flurry of donations and sponsors. / forgery#> , was arranging to turn himself in through his attorney, James Voyles. Benker faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Voyles notified Penrod of the missing money in November, around the time Benker resigned as a junior auditor at Indianapolis-based Somerset CPAs. Brizzi said efforts were under way to make sure no Somerset clients were ripped off. Penrod's board sued Benker in July to recover the money, but the police affidavit suggests little remains. It says Voyles, who has not commented publicly about the matter, told a Penrod official that Benker had a gambling problem and had lost all the money. / September 18, 2009

Former Immokalee High football standout arrested after casino fight

FL - A former Immokalee High School football standout was Tasered and arrested... After a fight at the Seminole Casino Immokalee, When Collier deputies arrived at the casino, they found broken glass from beer bottles on the floor and witnessed two men bleeding. The deputies also found two other men, one of them later identified as Rolle, acting belligerent while being restrained by security guards, Rolle led the Immokalee High Indians to an undefeated regular season in 2000. All the men were charged with disorderly conduct. Balentine... Was charged with possession of cocaine. The incident occurred after 3 a.m. / By Naples Daily News staff / September 14, 2009

Former OSSAA Exec. Might Repay $400K

OK - The former Executive Secretary for the OSSAA... May have to pay $450,000 back to the organization. Danny Rennels has been charged with embezzling the money. The 58-year-old allegedly took the money to feed a gambling problem. Advertising, sponsorship, and money from parents and students attending high school events was gambled online on poker websites. 10 different accusations. They include $160,000 from a Danny Rennels orchestrated sale of a Lamar Billboard. Another $100,00 from a Reebok donation, and $11,000 from a Farmers donation. / KSBI News / Sep 15, 2009

Former stockbroker gets 21-month sentence

IL - A judge sentenced a former stockbroker from Alton to 21 months in federal prison Friday after a prosecutor said the defendant continued to gamble, even after he was fired for stealing other people's money to do so. The government has evidence that Harrison continued to gamble at casinos in St. Louis and St. Charles, Mo., even after he was fired in 2008 by Stifel Nicolaus when they caught him taking clients' money. Brock, 67, had no other retirement fund than what he provided for himself by investing the money he earned. The man he trusted to give him investment advice, Harrison, took money that was not his and gambled it away, Brock said. Brock noted that while he was trying to salt away a little money for retirement, Harrison was leading the good life. Harrison then racked up debts of $150,000 and stole more than $90,000, the prosecutor argued. / The Telegraph / By SANFORD J. SCHMIDT / September 18, 2009

Internet gambling hurts

- Gambling on the internet involves hundreds of thousands of people and billions of dollars. As online gambling drains the national wealth. Kahnawake Gaming Commision... Admitted cheating occured at Ultimate Bet... / San Francisco Blackjack Examiner / John Stathis / September 13

Jail time for debt-owing high-roller

- High roller has filed for bankruptcy leaving an estimated $4 million in gambling debts. William "Boots" Del Biaggio III... Was sentenced... For bilking investors and banks out of millions of dollars in a desperate attempt to buy a professional hockey team. Enjoyed jumping on his private plane to take him to Las Vegas for a gambling excursion. [SEC] seeking some $20 million he allegedly stole from individual investors... / Industry Insider / by Ray Poirier / September 15, 2009

Las Vegas Metro Undercover Drug Ops Hit Casinos

NV - The Las Vegas Metro Police are undergoing an aggressive attempt to crack down on swimming pool "drug" parties at casino hotels... The charges included prostitution... Planet Hollywood... Fine... $750,000... / Sept 15, 2009

Las Vegas clubs get slapped for bad behavior

NV - Authorities crack down on 'topless and lewd activity,' excessive drunkenness, prostitution and drugs, holding nightclubs and casinos responsible. 'We have rules,' a Nevada gaming regulator says. Slapped the Planet Hollywood casino with a $500,000 fine for its Prive nightclub's bad behavior, including "topless and lewd activity" and dumping club-goers in the casino "in various states of consciousness." Rio closed its Sapphire topless pool, managed by a local gentleman's club, after authorities arrested 10 people on suspicion of prostitution and drug crimes. Eight more arrests on similar charges were made at the Hard Rock Hotel's pool club, Rehab. Though the clubs are reliable moneymakers and publicity machines, some have vexed officials with their fraternity-style antics -- including stripping contests, fistfights, and alleged drug use and sexual assaults. Some clubs launched stripping contests; others tried to sneak around no-nudity ordinances by slathering women in body paint. At Prive, patrons were involved in drugs and brawls, and minors were served alcohol. / By Ashley Powers / September 19, 2009

Limits on Roosters Get a Green Light

CA - "These are cockfighting operations," in which birds shred each other for sport and illegal gambling draws "tens of thousands of dollars," she said, adding that in two and a half years, she has "investigated 200 cockfighting operations." In addition to noise, filth and violence, she said, "often prostitution is going on, and narcotics are sold" at fights in neighborhoods where local gangs get a cut of the profits. / By REBECCA CATHCART / September 16, 2009

Man pleads guilty to not paying taxes

LA - A Baton Rouge oil-and-gas land man admitted in court Monday he failed to file tax returns on $240,000 he earned over a three-year-period. He 'blew his money' because of a gambling addiction," / Advocate / By BILL LODGE / Sep 15, 2009

Mariner booster confesses to stealing $46,000

WA - Mariner High School's Blue and Gold Club is scrambling to regroup after the nonprofit's longtime treasurer confessed to embezzlement. The treasurer told booster club president Renee Boyd that she had stolen about $46,000 over the past eight years, mainly to feed a gambling habit. Students were left reeling in the wake, unsure of how they would pay for such extracurricular necessities as shoes and pads for various sports, transportation to competitions, activities for students in special education and, in the case of the French Club, an eagerly anticipated trip to Paris in the spring. The Blue and Gold Club is the umbrella organization for many such fundraisers. Students have individual accounts and work various jobs such as at local restaurants, and at Mariner and Seahawk games, as well as selling merchandise for fundraisers and helping run the concession stands at Marauder home games. They don't immediately see any of the fruits of their labor; instead the money is paid directly into their individual Blue and Gold Club account. / by Rebecca Carr / 16 September 2009

More Account Seizures in the United States

- US investigators in Maryland had filed for forfeiture of three bank accounts of HMD Incorporated, which is a payment processing company. The reasons given for the seizure were that the accounts handled the proceeds of an illegal gambling business and were involved in money laundering transactions. The US 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia opined that the UIGEA... Was not a federal law and could be applied only in those states where Internet gambling is explicitly illegal. / By: Adam Baker / September 15th 2009

OSSAA ex-official Danny Rennels charged in $457.5K theft

OK - A former official was accused Monday of embezzling $457,500 from the private association that regulates high school sports in Oklahoma. He had embezzled the money and spent it on Internet gambling, The prosecutor said the Internet gambling involved at least poker. The charge is the latest in a string of embezzlement cases this year that have hurt state agencies and other private associations. Some of the other cases also have involved allegations funds were gambled away. / BY NOLAN CLAY and RYAN ABER / September 15, 2009

Online Poker Scandal Investigation Completed

- Investigation into the cheating scandal at online poker room... According to the report by the gambling regulators, the owner of the Ultimate Bet site, Tokowiro, was fined $1.5 million, as well as forced to pay restitution of over $22 million to players whose poker outcomes were determined to be involved in compromised hands. / by Matt Miller / September 14, 2009

Pair Charged In $70,000 Casino Chip Thefts

NJ - Had $66,000 in cash and several stun guns. At the Showboat Casino Hotel, and Caesars Atlantic City. / AP / Sep 17, 2009

Pit bull's injuries raise false alarm

IN - It's an issue law enforcement and those who work with animals are watching closely. The spotlight was on Indiana last month when authorities raided two Orange County in August, busting two alleged dogfighting operations. "We were told the guy had them tied up with chains in the backyard," he said. "Some of them had neck injuries and open sores. A couple of them were not badly injured, but they were badly scarred up." Organized dogfighting is a concern for law enforcement because it often is linked to drug-related and violent crime, It has become a sport for a lot of drug traffickers. At most dogfighting venues, we also find firearms, illegal gambling and drugs." / By SOPHIA VORAVONG / September 16, 2009

Police officer suspended after being allegedly being caught in gambling raid

KY - A Shepherdsville police officer has been suspended after Hillview police say they caught him in a raid on an illegal gambling operation. / WHAS11 / September 16, 2009

Police: Internet Caf? Housed Illegal Gambling

FL - Detectives in Marion County say another gambling hall, masquerading as an Internet caf?, is closed for business. Deputies recently shut down two other cafes. What patrons saw as harmless entertainment investigators call an illegal gambling operation raking in $1,200 to $2,600 per day. The DEA has also gotten involved in shutting down these cafes. / September 17, 2009

Problem gambling grows as Oklahoma casinos abound

OK - Of all the labels that apply to Jackie Borovetz - wife, mother, grandmother, professional - gambling addict might be the last to come to mind. But the life of this deputy at the Muskogee County Court Clerk's office, a daughter of a Baptist deacon, began crumbling several years ago as Native American casinos began proliferating across Oklahoma. Borovetz is one of a number of state, local and business officials who have been accused of stealing money to pay gambling debts. "Now you see more and more casino gamblers." The National Council on Problem Gambling estimates about 8 million people nationally are pathological or problem gamblers, which would translate to about 75,000 people in Oklahoma, She started spending all of her monthly pay at the casino. She devised a scheme to defraud the state and Muskogee County of $594,230... Former director of audits for the Commissioners of the Land Office, Accused... Of taking more than $1.16 million... Has a gambling problem. Former executive secretary for a private association that regulates high school sports in Oklahoma, was charged Monday with embezzling $457,500 from the organization. Gambled the money away. Former State Rep. Was sentenced... For his role in a kickback scheme... Fueled by his gambling addiction. / Associated Press / By ROCHELLE HINES / 09.18.09

Raid on cyber caf? in Ocala

FL - Officers from multiple law enforcement agencies have raided a business in Ocala believed to have conducted illegal gambling activities. Internet Express Cafe... / FOX 35 News / By COURTNEY PROCTOR / 17 Sep 2009

Slide Ended in Apparent Suicide

IL - Kelly was a roofer, a fundraiser, a gambler and a felon. He started small, made millions, befriended a young politician named Rod Blagojevich and died last weekend in an apparent suicide. Kelly's marriage had foundered and he was living apart from his three young daughters. His finances were in ruins and he was already facing prison on a different charge of cheating the Internal Revenue Service. It was a shock to close followers of Chicago politics and the Blagojevich scandal when Kelly died... Kelly wagered millions of dollars with an Illinois bookmaking operation and millions more in Las Vegas casinos, according to court documents. As the losses grew, he illicitly siphoned money from his roofing business to pay debts, then falsified his tax returns. He pleaded guilty in June. Kelly was due to stand trial next year on allegations that he plotted with Rezko and the incoming governor as early as 2002 to profit from an abuse of power. / Washington Post / By Peter Slevin and Kari Lydersen / September 15, 2009

Two Businesses Raided For Illegal Gambling In Texas

TX - Authorities poured into the two establishments and busted them for illegal gambling activity. All charged with engaging in organized criminal activity. Undercover officers had been going into the establishments and playing the machines... / / By Tom Jones / September 17, 2009

Two Georgia Men Charged In Atlantic City Casino Heists

NJ - Newman... And... Acuna... Were both arrested and are being held on $150,000 bail each after police caught the men. They are accused of pulling off a heist at three separate AC casinos. They struck twice at Caesar's, Bringing their total chip count to over $70,000. / / By Terry Goodwin / September 17, 2009


PA - When Michael Vick founded his dogfighting operation, Bad Newz Kennels, he was 21 and had just become a rich man. He could have traveled the world or bought a condo in Hawaii. Instead, he chose to spend enormous time and money on dogfighting for six years, when it was clear he knew the risks to his career. ASPCA psychologist Randall Lockwood said that gambling addiction and greed are part of the culture, and there's a streak of sadism in many dogfighters. "When we see folks involved in animal cruelty, a lot of it is about power and control and a sense of accomplishment through your animals," he said. / Philadelphia Daily News / By DAVE DAVIES / Sep. 15, 2009

What's Next? The Future of Online Poker in the United States -- Part 1

- Banks have begun preparing for Dec. 1, when they will be legally responsible for complying with all UIGEA regulations. And poker players look to Rep. Barney Frank's bills... With cautious optimism that the federal government will finally move to explicitly legalize and regulate the game. "Where they [banks] are responsible for monitoring and blocking transactions are with debit and credit cards, and that is most likely going to be where you see banks blocking whatever falls into the category of both lawful and unlawful wagering," Only six states have laws against internet gambling... "Part of the problem is there's no definition of what's unlawful, and what's unlawful for one state for one user may not be unlawful in another state under different state laws. IMEGA Chairman Joe Brennan... "That's why the UIGEA is a crappy, insidious law," said Brennan. Lying during this line of questioning could constitute bank fraud, one of the charges listed against Douglas Rennick, who was indicted by the Southern District of New York... Last month. Rennick is accused of providing payment services to online poker players through several shell companies. He believes that it's only a matter of time before states grow hungry for a cut of that booming revenue. As for when and how that situation might come to fruition, that is the topic for next installment of this series. / by Stephen A. Murphy / Sep 11, 2009

'Craigslist Killer,' VVS grad, is subject of book, TV show

MA - A reporter with the Boston Globe and a TV producer with CBS News have released a book detailing what they say are unknown secrets about the life of the "Craigslist Killer" and former Vernon-Verona-Sherrill student Philip Markoff. Markoff, a Boston University medical student and former Sherrill resident, accused of robbing women who advertised erotic services on Craigslist and killing one of them, has pleaded not guilty to the crimes. Investigators had said they were looking into whether a gambling addiction was a possible motive for the robberies. / Sept 17, 2009

International Gambling Crimes

'Coward' raider gets 10 years

UK - A ROBBER who attacked two vulnerable women in their homes to feed his gambling habit has been jailed for 10 years for his "despicable" crimes. He even tore a wedding ring from the finger of one of his victims, He duped the elderly widow with a fake ID card and once inside pulled out a kitchen knife, threatened to cut her throat and demanding money. "He has developed a rather substantial gambling habit, that led to him getting into financial difficulties. / By Richard Blackledge / 19 September 2009

Clerk booked for Rs 24L fraud

India - Purohit confessed that he was a habitual gambler and had incurred heavy losses in betting on cricket matches. He decided to commit the fraud to recover these losses. / 19 September 2009

Collins pleads guilty

Canada - As an NDP MHA for eight years, Randy Collins advocated for the province's poor and powerless, but on Tuesday he pleaded guilty to stealing from those same people, and bribing a public official to do so. Collins overspent hundreds of thousands of dollars from his taxpayer-funded constituency allowance. The final tab came in at $358,598. The fraud trial of longtime Liberal MHA Jim Walsh is underway... Collins' crimes appear to have helped support a social ill he crusaded strenuously against as an MHA. Collins pleaded guilty to bribing Murray, the top financial official at the legislature. Murray told the Jim Walsh corruption trial he needed money to feed a $500-a-day VLT gambling habit. / The Telegram / ROB ANTLE / 16/09/09

Denmark: Man Must Turn Over All Winnings From Online Poker

Denmark - A 35-year-old unemployed man has been told by the Supreme Court to hand over 194,000 kroner he won playing online poker, Because it was his sole form of income, he had violated laws banning earning a living from gambling. / Sept 16, 2009

Eastbourne milkman dodges jail after creaming off customers' cash

UK - A milkman creamed off cash from vulnerable customers to pay for his gambling habit. His victims included a 91-year-old woman who asked him to withdraw ?100 from her account for her. Had spent ?50,000 over the years after starting to play fruit machines... When he was a teenager. / By Nigel Freedman / 15th September 2009

Former banker pleads guilty to robbing banks

Canada - A former banker who eluded police for six years during a holdup spree... Pleaded guilty today to 10 counts of bank robbery. Pinto's motive - financing his compulsive gambling "addiction," / Sun Media / By IAN ROBERTSON / 16th September 2009

Goa minister booked for extorting money from casino

India - Police... Booked controversial state Tourism Minister Francisco alias Mickky Pacheco for extortion and threatening a casino employee, Extorted Rs.3.69 lakh from the management of 'Treasures' casino... / India News / Submitted by admin4 / 18 September 2009

Govt-backed gambling industry slammed

NZ - A Reefton woman who defrauded two small clubs to feed her gambling habit was the victim of a government sanctioned industry that encouraged people to gamble, a judge has said. "You are the victim of an industry that has government approval and the approval of some community groups, that is set up to encourage people to gamble in a way that finally induces the type of addiction you've suffered." / Sep 18, 2009

Illegal gambling rampant in Botswana

Botswana - The Casino Control Board (CCB) Has expressed concern about illegal casino operators who take advantage of outdated casino laws to operate in the country. The board partly blamed cell phone companies for taking advantage of the outdated casino and gambling laws, Lotteries and Betting Act specifies that lotteries and bingos are restricted to charities and non-profit organisations such as the Botswana Red Cross, the same Act does not address lotteries wrapped within advertising and promotions, or even loan agreements. Illegal machines are installed in many shops, often with no age restrictions on the players. / Sept 11, 2009

Israeli Police Arrest Suspects for Operating Online Casinos

Israel - Israeli operators of online casinos were arrested and charged with money laundering, among other offenses, even though Israel permits ownership of online gambling sites as long as Israelis are barred from participating. The judge noted that many Israelis own gaming operations, some listed on the London Stock Exchange, and asked why this case would require arrests and prosecution. / by Tom Weston / September 13, 2009

Man Nabbed for Burying Gambling Partner Alive

South Korea - Yu lost about 40 million won at an illegal gambling parlor to which he had been taken by his colleague... Yu buried his colleague in... Grave with his head above the ground, interrogating him over whether he was part of a gambling fraud. Yu... Suspected of stabbing a creditor... Who loaned him the 40 million won... Yu... A compulsive gambler, [lost] 50 million won he had inherited from his parents... / 09-14-2009

Man jailed over $1.5m tax avoidance

Australia - Defrauding the tax office of $1.5 million. Phan has a significant gambling problem... / Sep 15, 2009

Melco's Loss Widened 32% in Half

Hong Kong - The casino operator, which is controlled by Lawrence Ho, the son of Macau gambling magnate Stanley Ho, said its net loss for the six months ended June 30 was 811.9 million Hong Kong dollars (US$104.7 million), widening from a net loss of HK$614.4 million a year earlier. Visa restrictions introduced by the Chinese government and fierce competition have hit gambling revenue... Beijing tightened restrictions on visits to Macau in mid-2008 in an apparent attempt to stop civil servants from gambling and to curb money laundering. / By JACKIE CHEUNG / SEPTEMBER 14, 2009

Nurse 'stole from patients to fund casino trip'

UK - Fayers, 45, raided the safe at the Skiddaw Walk mental health unit... To fund trips to the casino, Also alleged to have grabbed petty cash and more than ?100 belonging to a patient to gamble while working a nightshift... / 14 September 2009

Prison Gambling Associated With Crime, Substance Abuse When Offenders Re-enter Community: Study

Canada - Parolees with a gambling habit may resort to criminal activities and substance abuse when they are released from prison if there are few community supports to help them re-integrate, a University of Alberta study has concluded. Gambling is prevalent in prisons and the study found that even inmates not habituated to the pastime before incarceration can acquire a taste for it they're unable to shake when released. / Science Daily / Sep. 17, 2009

Thief is caught thanks to Chron

UK - A credit controller who stole more than ?100,000 from a Northampton-based business was caught out again... The court heard that between December last year and May, she stole ?107,518 to fund her on-linegambling addiction, having been sacked from her two previous jobs for stealing. / 15 September 2009

`Exchange bandit' pleads guilty

Canada - Pinto's the name and robbing banks to pay off a gambling debt was his game... Pinto, 38, a former financial compliance officer with investment firm Paradigm Capital, pleaded guilty yesterday to 10 counts of robbery. Pinto's lawyer, Calvin Barry, attributed his client's "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type of scenario" to a compulsive gambling addiction that left him with a debt of more than $100,000 and his credit cards maxed out. Pinto gambled online and at casinos, said Barry. / Raveena Aulakh / Sep 17, 2009