Express Train to the Big House


A tip for thieves and fraudsters everywhere: If you’re going to regularly steal entire bags of coins, it’s probably best not to buy things with them at your local gas station — at least not every day.

That lesson was apparently lost on two men working for Washington, D.C.’s subway system, one of them a Metro police officer. They were busted this week, allegedly for their roles in a long-running scheme to make off with entire bags of coins taken from ticket machines they were assigned to service and guard. Authorities suspect the pair made off with tens of thousands of dollars, and possibly upwards of six figures, over the last several years.

They were finally undone when a Virginia gas station owner reported some strange behavior: a man dressed in a police uniform was coming in each day to buy hundreds of dollars’ worth of $1 instant lottery tickets. His method of payment: $500 bags of coins.

“Investigators said the man started buying tickets with coins about three years ago, first bringing a handful to the counter. But he grew more bold, buying tickets almost every weekday with $500 bags of coins,” the Washington Examiner reports. “Sometimes, he went back to his Jaguar parked outside for more.”

Classy move. Another tip: best to leave the Jaguar at home when spending your loot on lottery tickets.

Sweep to Lotto tickets bought with bags of coins lead to bust in massive Metro theft

Picturing one of the toughest, most feared motorcycle clubs around – the Hells Angels – generally conjures up images of leather and steel, violent clashes, and criminal activity like drug deals and gun running.

But during the U.S. housing boom, apparently even the Hells Angels couldn’t help but branch out into a lucrative new scam that was sweeping the country: mortgage fraud.

Raymond “Ray Ray” Foakes, former president of the Hells Angels Sonoma Chapter, has now been sentenced to six years for helping run a $10 million mortgage fraud scheme.

Bay City News reports the fraud flourished in 2006 and 2007, as club members in league with a crooked loan officer and tax preparer arranged for numerous fraudulent mortgages, reaping the profits as they bought homes – one of which was also used as a marijuana grow house.

Foakes is one of eight people indicted in the scheme, and the first to be sentenced. Aside from time in federal prison, and will have to pay about $1 million in restitution.

Sweep to Former Hell’s Angel president sentenced for pot grow house mortgage fraud

Authorities in India say they have received more than 7,000 reports of suspicious transactions related to the country’s casinos that indicate possible ties to organized crime and terrorism.

The Indian government says during the last fiscal year its Financial Intelligence Unit has tracked thousands of reports of questionable transactions. India has a rather small casino industry, with barely two dozen casinos – many of them in the coastal state of Goa.

“The casino sector, although small in India, is vulnerable to instances of criminal money and terror funding in its channels,” a finance ministry official told the Times of India.

The report by the Indian government comes amid debates over whether a sweeping anti-corruption bill, known as Lokpal, should apply to corporations, or only government entities. Currently, the government agency in India monitors corruption in private companies.

Sweep to Report indicates terror, crime funds trickling in casinos


Aaron Kessler

Aaron Kessler

Aaron Kessler is an award-winning journalist who for nearly a decade has investigated a wide range of subjects from financial crimes by corporations and individuals, to politics and government abuses at the local, state and federal levels, to terrorist financing networks.