Father and son in Penn Hills accused of taking $100,000 from business to gamble at Rivers Casino

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A Penn Hills father and son surrendered Wednesday morning on charges that they stole more than $100,000 from a local company to support the father's gambling habit.

Joseph Kocott Sr., 44, and Joseph Kocott Jr., 25, each face charges of theft by deception and conspiracy. Investigators with Allegheny County district attorney's office continue to trace the duo's steps and believe there might be more victims, spokesman Mike Manko said in a news release.

A detective with the DA's office wrote in a criminal complaint that Mr. Kocott Sr. approached a man named Brian Gray in June 2012, when Mr. Gray was working at Rivers Casino while operating a private consulting business called Graycomm.

Mr. Kocott Sr. told Mr. Gray he was running a company called Global Marketing Inc. and wondered whether Mr. Gray or one of his clients might want to purchase converter boxes from him, according to the complaint.

Shortly afterward, Mr. Gray and one of his clients, Frederico Sanchez Guevara, CEO of Legoocom in Santiago, Chile, agreed to buy 5,000 converter boxes from Mr. Kocott Sr.'s company for $189,870, according to the complaint.

Investigators said Mr. Guevara tried twice to buy converter boxes from Mr. Kocott. The first time, Mr. Guevara authorized Mr. Gray to cut a $123,500 check to Mr. Kocott Sr.'s company for the converter boxes, but they never arrived, according to the complaint. Mr. Guevara's company asked for and received a refund.

When Mr. Kocott Sr. provided the company with a list of serial numbers for the converter boxes, Mr. Guevara authorized Mr. Gray to cut another check for $123,500, but yet again the boxes did not arrive, according to the complaint.

A detective with the DA's office wrote in the complaint that she discovered that Mr. Kocott Sr. had deposited the check into an account at S&T Bank, the only authorized signer for which was Mr. Kocott Sr.'s son.

She wrote that she suspects the Kocotts refunded the first check Mr. Guevara sent them after they received a wire transfer for $208,625 from a company called Catelcom LLC.

After reviewing bank records and records of Mr. Kocott Sr.'s activity at Rivers, she determined that Mr. Kocott Jr. wrote counterchecks for more than $100,000 to his father who "cashed in" more than $140,000 at the casino during roughly the same period, depleting the bank account, according to the complaint.

The pair were arraigned Wednesday morning and each was released on $50,000 unsecured bail, according to online court records. Neither of the accused could be reached for comment.

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Liz Navratil: lnavratil@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1438 and on Twitter: @LizNavratil. First Published August 28, 2013 3:00 PM


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