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First Posted: 2/17/2015

Troopers: Mohegan Sun dealer conspired with players to cheat casino at Pai Gow table

A casino dealer was arrested after he allegedly teamed up with others to rig a tile betting game to cheat Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in excess of $17,000, according to charges filed.

Dustin Raynor Laird, 29, was charged with two counts of theft, and one count each of criminal conspiracy and tricking to win or reduce loss in an ongoing investigation into his activities while working as a dealer at the casino.

According to troopers, Laird “was conspiring with a small group of patrons to rig hands during play on a Pai Gow tiles table so the house would lose.”

State police said Laird cheated the casino on March 20 and March 30 last year for a total of $17,700, according to the criminal complaint.

Laird, of North Washington Street, Wilkes-Barre, was paid $200 to $300 for cheating the game, the complaint says.

Child predator sweep by state agents nabs two men from Luzerne County

Two men from Luzerne County were picked up in a child pornography sweep law enforcement said was aided by cooperation and technology that shortened arrest times from months to hours.

Vince Diaz, 42, of Plains Township and Anthony Bielut, 49, of Wilkes-Barre, face child pornography charges as a result of a two-week sting operation headed by the state Office of Attorney General. Criminal complaints were filed Feb. 6 against the two men who are held for lack of bail at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane said arrest warrants were issued for two people still wanted in the investigation conducted by members of her staff, the Lackawanna County District Attorney’s Office, Pennsylvania State Police, the U.S. Postal Inspector and Carbondale, Dunmore and Scranton police departments.

The suspects arrested in the sweep were from Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Pike, Susquehanna and Wayne counties. Since taking office in 2013 the AG’s Child Predator Section made 306 arrests, including 25 in the first six weeks of this year, Kane said.

Sign of times: Unclaimed bodies increasing in Luzerne County

There were no prayers or acquaintances paying their respects as a local man was buried at Maple Hill Cemetery in Hanover Township on a frigid afternoon.

His estranged mother and children had refused to claim his body, putting the burden on Luzerne County taxpayers.

A body bag containing his remains was unceremoniously placed inside a corrugated cardboard coffin and lowered into the ground, where he will remain in an unmarked plot among an estimated 250 other unclaimed bodies.

The number of unclaimed bodies has steadily increased to double digits since 2010. The county buried 14 last year.

Some had no survivors. Others had relatives who no longer wanted anything to do with them or maintained they couldn’t afford a no-frills burial or cremation.

A local hospital contacted the coroner’s office several days after his death indicating family members — including an elderly mother — had been notified and said they were not accepting responsibility for the remains.

The county pays $750 for the grave and burial, which is lower than the tab for many counties across the state, Lisman said.

Hugo Selenski: ‘I’m not afraid to die’

Convicted killer Hugo Selenski isn’t afraid of death or having a needle put into his arm.

Selenski, now 41, said those words during a jailhouse interview when he was housed at the State Correctional Institution at Dallas on June 2, 2004.

Selenski’s words may come back to haunt him. The same Luzerne County jury that convicted him last week of the flex-tie strangulation murders of Michael Jason Kerkowski and Tammy Lynn Fassett will be asked to sentence him to death or life in prison.

The penalty phase, scheduled to begin Tuesday morning, can be an emotional proceeding. Like a mini-trial, it involves testimony from family and victims.

Assistant district attorneys Sam Sanguedolce, Mamie Phillips and Jarrett Ferentino are seeking death for Selenski under four aggravating factors. First, the homicides of Kerkowski and Fassett were committed during the perpetration of another felony: robbery. The other elements are torture and two factors related to other deaths.

Selenski’s daughter assaulted by boyfriend

Three days after her father was found guilty of first-degree murder in the deaths of Michael Kerkowski and Tammy Lynn Fassett, Hugo Selenski’s daughter was a victim of domestic violence, according to Wilkes-Barre Township police.

Justin Kosko, 25, was charged with felony aggravated assault, terroristic threats, simple assault and unlawful restraint, following an early Saturday morning incident at the home of Rachael McCuen.

Kosko, of Delaware Water Gap, was jailed for lack of $100,000 bail and is being held in the Luzerne County Correctional Facility, the same facility that is currently holding Selenski. Kosko was placed in protective custody.

“I’ve been through a lot right now,” McCuen told a WNEP-TV reporter on Saturday. “I don’t want to talk.”