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Man with Broward ties sentenced in casino fraud

A man with Broward ties was sentenced in a casino fraud case in California.

According to the Fresno Bee, Jeff Livingston, 51, admitted he used company credit cards for personal gain while working as the general manager at Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino in California.

He spent about $48,500 of the casino's money, prosecutors said, on things such as a Hawaiian vacation package, a PGA golf package, a diamond necklace and autographed sports and music memorabilia, prosecutors said.

The story said he was a "former Broward Sheriff's deputy," and one bio says he was a detective involved in developing gang task forces and assisted in enhancing sentences for violent crimes committed by gang members, but I'm not sure what that really has to do with anything. Records show he worked for BSO from Nov. 6, 1989, to June 26, 1993.

I'm not putting the BSO angle in the headline because he worked here two decades ago, and linking him to something from decades ago to build traffic just seems a crappy way to do business.

(Cops, remember that the next time I'm pulled over...)

Other old clips show Livingston was a 1978 graduate from Northeast High School in Oakland Park. (Maybe we put 'former NE High grad' in the headline?)

More about the Broward angle from a profile article on Livingston:

Born in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to an alcoholic mother and a father who left his mother when she became pregnant, Livingston was raised primarily by his paternal grandparents.

He bounced around to 11 different high schools in Nevada, Kentucky, Ohio and Florida. The traveling made it difficult to earn a diploma, he said, but he finally earned a GED and joined the Army. There he served in the military police, for a while.

“A colonel asked me what I was doing there and said I should be either playing baseball or in college,” Livingston said.

He got a discharge, tried out for the San Francisco Giants and ended up attending Arizona Western College where he joined the school’s baseball team. At the end of the first year, he tried out for a minor league team and failed to make the cut. It was time to rethink his career plan.

His father, living in Las Vegas, helped him get a job with Bally Gaming, the nation’s largest gaming machine maker. Livingston started learning the business from the bottom up — working in the parts department, the warehouse and as an installer of slots. From there it was an easy jump to working at Holiday Casino, now Harrahs, as slot machine foreman.

Livingston said owner Bill “Wildcat” Morris took him under his wing and brought him along to the Landmark Casino, where Livingston was given the job of running all gaming operations.

“Then one day I woke up and moved to Fort Lauderdale and joined the North Lauderdale Police Department,” he said. “I wanted to try something else. I asked myself, what can I give back?”

After a year he went over to the Broward County Sheriff’s Department where he did road patrol and later joined the anti-gang unit.

“I loved what I learned about people from law enforcement,” said Livingston, whose resume lists a criminal justice certification from the State of Florida as well as a business degree from St. Thomas University of St. Paul, Minn., and classes at Harvard...

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Maybe you've made the right play, maybe you haven't. Your heart speeds up, your stomach rumbles.

That's why it's called gambling.

ACTION is a view of the numbers, the psychology and the flavor of gambling here in South Florida, through our lens.

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NICK SORTAL began playing 3-card "gut" and "Indian poker" on high school band trips, moved on to "night baseball" and "pass the trash" during a Dr. Pepper-infused midnight game in the 1980s at the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, and now play in a regular neighborhood Hold 'Em game in Plantation. I have been given the assignment of writing about the gambling life in South Florida casinos for the Sun-Sentinel...which means sitting around watching poker on TV now counts as research.
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