Monthly Archives: January 2021

Miami Mayor’s Veto of Edgewater Gambling Expansion Upheld in Court

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing efforts to secure a new casino in the Edgewater district near Miami, FL.  The community has opposed such a casino and other smaller gambling expansion attempts by the existing casino such as a proposed jai alai fronton and poker room in the Edgewater neighborhood. Miami Mayor vetoed the most recent proposal and naturally, his veto was challenged.  A Miami-Dade Circuit Court has upheld the veto, thus killing the gambling expansion.  The Miami-Herald reports:  

A controversial proposal to bring a jai alai fronton to Edgewater has been shot down in Miami-Dade Circuit Court. Judge Michael Hanzmann ruled on Wednesday that the push by West Flagler Associates, the owners of Magic City Casino, to bring gambling to Edgewater in downtown Miami was, at its core, a “land use issue” that overruled any other permissions the company had been granted to pursue its pari-mutuel facilities..

West Flagler had received a permit to proceed with their establishment in July 2018. When a change in law that would change zoning permits for gambling establishments was enacted in 2019, the developer sued and won approval from City of Miami commissioners in a 3-2 vote on Feb. 13, 2020, to proceed with its plan to build a fronton and card-gambling establishment as part of a larger complex at 3050 Biscayne Blvd.

On February 21, 2020, a week after the commission approved the project, Mayor Francis Suarez vetoed that lawsuit settlement, blocking Flagler Associates to proceed with the fronton.

West Flagler Associates and the City of Miami were sued in March 2000 by a group of elite civic leaders, including billionaire automobile magnate Norman Braman and Related Group CEO Jorge M. Pérez, who claimed the permission to proceed with the gambling establishment had not been properly settled by a court.

Judge Hanzmann’s ruling on Wednesday affirmed Mayor Suarez’s legal ability to veto the deal, citing the casino owners “claimed they obtained special rights to expand casino gambling through private meetings with City officials.”

This particular backroom deal appears to be completely dead as no appeal is planned.  A new attempt, one that is above board and more transparent is planned however.  The Miami-Herald concludes:  

Joseph DeMaria, a partner at Fox Rothschild who is representing West Flagler Associates, said his client has no plan to appeal the ruling. “We have already resubmitted a settlement proposal to the city attorney and asked that they schedule it for the next commission meeting,” DeMaria said. “The new proposal provides for a jai alai fronton and card room but no slot machines and waives all attorney’s fees, which could run up into the millions. If the city commission doesn’t approve it, or if the commission not override the mayor’s veto, we’re going to court.”

 “We are pleased with the Judge’s decision,” Braman said in a press release Thursday. “And with help from the City Mayor and Commission, Miami has become a world class city and is on the precipice of further transformational leaps. The last thing our city needs is the plight and desolation that come with casino gambling. I look forward to working alongside City officials to continue the advancement of Miami.”

Grace Mead, one of the attorneys at the Stearns Weaver Miller law firm representing Braman and the other opponents of the casino, said “We are pleased with the ruling and one preceding it which together likely brings an end to a back door, secret attempt to alter the zoning code to expand gambling in the City.”

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION

A Brief Look at Crime 01/18 – 01/24

Ex-Los Angeles Councilman Pleads Not Guilty to Corruption Charges that Included Accepting Las Vegas Gambling Trips as Payment

Former City Council member Jose Huizar pleaded not guilty Monday to federal charges that he took bribes to help developers win favors for large building projects in the city’s burgeoning downtown district. Huizar entered the plea to a new racketeering indictment that added additional charges. The 41-count complaint includes allegations of bribery, honest services fraud and money laundering. Huizar was arrested in June on allegations that he masterminded a $1.5 million pay-to-play scheme tied to the approval of developments. They included a 77-story tower in Huizar’s district that would have been the largest skyscraper west of the Mississippi River. The developer, who already had a hotel in the district, was accused of providing cash and benefits worth $800,000 to Huizar and others that included a dozen trips to Las Vegas casinos and funds to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit against the councilman. Huizar left office earlier this year and pleaded not guilty to the earlier 34-count indictment. His trial was set for June 22.

Florida Man Gets Stuck With $93,000 Tax Bill After Letting Boss Use His Daily Fantasy Sports Account

A lawsuit filed in Florida alleges that a former employee of Oakes Farms and Seed to Table is stuck with a massive bill from the IRS for winnings that, he claims, are not his. Andrew Moste says he felt pressured by the company’s vice president, Steven Veneziano, to let the latter use his DraftKings daily fantasy sports account. Veneziano came out $216,000 ahead and owes $93,000 in taxes on those winnings. However, since it’s Moste’s account, that’s where the tax bill went. The suit alleges that Veneziano refused to hand over the cash. Instead, he attempted to convince Moste to participate in tax fraud with him. Moste is seeking a jury trial and asking for over $181,000 in damages.

This is the second time in as many months that DraftKings has been at the center of legal drama over alleged account sharing. The previous story likewise involved a bettor from Florida, who placed a staggering $3 million wager through a friend’s New Jersey sports betting account.

Feds charge employee with stealing $315K from northern Minnesota casino

An employee stole more than $315,000 from a northern Minnesota casino over more than six years, according to federal charges. Jennifer L. Boutto, 32, of Willow Valley Township, Minn., was charged Monday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis. The alleged embezzlement of $315,739.87 from the Fortune Bay Resort and Casino in Tower stretched from June 2013 to October 2019, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Fortune Bay is operated by the Bois Fort Band of Chippewa.

Connecticut Poker Player Pleads Guilty to $1M Tax Evasion, Faces Five Years in Prison

A Connecticut poker player and small business owner has pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion. The charge carries a maximum imprisonment of up to five years. The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut says Smith owns a commercial interior construction business called Centerline Interiors LLC, but made considerable income playing in poker tournaments across the country. “Even though the IRS notified Smith on multiple occasions that he was required to report all of his gambling income on his federal tax returns, Smith concealed his gambling income from his tax preparer and paid no income taxes on more than $1 million in gambling winnings,” a Department of Justice release explained.

Sports betting company, two casinos fined by state gambling regulators

An online sports gambling company and two casinos have been fined by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission for violations. Racing and Gaming Commission administrator Brian Ohorilko says DraftKings was fined for a late download of new self-ban list information. He says an audit by the commission determined the list was not uploaded within the required seven days — and he says they did note that no one on the ban list signed up or played. He says this was the first violation for the company.

The Rhythm City Casino in Davenport was fined for a violation involving surveillance cameras. “There was an instance in November of 2018 — the facility started experiencing some surveillance system issues — there was a complete loss of coverage on January first of 2019. It did include critical areas of the facility,” Ohorilko says. He says the problem happened again. “There was a second situation in February where there was the intermittent loss of critical areas for approximately four-and-a-half-hours. In that particular situation, the commission and DCI were not notified,” he says.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION

Missouri Senate Pro Tem Files Illegal Missouri Gambling Machine Bill with Severe Punishments for Violators

Casino Watch Focus has long reported on the every baffling situation involving illegal gambling machines all over Missouri.  The State’s gambling law is very clear that slot machines are only allowed inside legally licensed and regulated casinos, yet these gambling machines have popped up all over the state.  Casino Watch Focus presented a Guest Article clearly outlining the lack of proper enforcement on the issue, even after a clear court ruling confirmed such machines are illegal.  Given the enforcement has been so slow, Missouri Senate Pro Tem David Schatz has introduced legislation that would clearly outline enforcement and more significantly, severe punishment, for those who continue to run these illegal slot machines.  The Missouri Times Reports:

“I filed SB 10 because of the proliferation of illegal gambling machines throughout the state,” Schatz said before the Government Accountability & Fiscal Oversight Committee Thursday morning. “There are dozens — if not hundreds — of establishments across the state of Missouri that house these unauthorized gaming machines. There is no grey area with this; the gaming laws are black and white, and this is impacting revenues that should be going to our schools. There’s no need for us to not move this legislation forward.”

Under Missouri law, gambling machines are only allowed in casinos. Schatz’s bill would allow the Gaming Commission to partner with the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Supervisor of Liquor Control to investigate illegal gambling machines in rest stops, fraternal organizations, and other locations across the state. The bill would also add permanent revocation of a lottery gaming license to the list of sanctions for offenses and assert that devices using random number generators and awarding monetary prizes fall under the definition of illegal machines.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION

A Brief Look at Crime 01/11 – 01/17

Cleveland developer embezzled $885,000 from Eastside Market project during bad losing streak at casino

A Cleveland developer who found himself more than $1 million in the hole at the casino embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from a project to bring a grocery store and health services to the Glenville community, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Arthur Fayne, 58, faces nine counts of wire fraud from an indictment a grand jury in Toledo handed up last week. Prosecutors said Fayne stole more than $885,000 intended for a construction management contractor and an audio-visual technology installation subcontractor, as his company was used as an intermediary for payments made by a nonprofit behind the project. At the same time, Fayne was using his company’s money to gamble, losing large amounts between 2016 and 2018, according to the FBI.

U.S. Alleges Visa Fraud, Criminal Conspiracy at Saipan Casino

U.S. federal prosecutors indicted three people involved with Imperial Pacific International Holdings Ltd. controversial casino project in Saipan for employing undocumented workers, making illegal money transfers, and participating in a criminal conspiracy — adding to the legal troubles connected to the Hong Kong operator. Prosecutors allege the trio conspired to illegally hire large numbers of Chinese laborers to work on the casino site, “instructing prospective hires to lie to immigration inspectors” on arrival by claiming they were tourists. The indictment includes a conspiracy charge under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a powerful legal tool used in the past against Mafia families in New York as well as the Hells Angels motorcycle club.

A black Ferrari and $62,000 at the casino: How some are living large with COVID relief aid 

The financial aid was meant to help those most in need during the pandemic. But millions of dollars from a COVID-19 relief fund instead are falling in the wrong hands: It’s been misspent on jewelry store spending sprees, high-stakes casino trips and glitzy cars — like a flashy Lamborghini and Ferrari. Of the dozens of South Floridians accused of defrauding the government, some of them have been caught using their ill-gotten gains to live high-flying lifestyles, federal prosecutors say. Court records obtained by the South Florida Sun Sentinel shed new light on how extensive the COVID-19 relief fraud has been across the region. One man accused of fraud applied for and received a loan, claiming the money was for his business. Instead, he spent $95,000 at jewelry stores, $62,000 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, $6,630 on flights, $5,300 at Gucci, $2,000 at Dior, and $1,000 at Milano Exchange, prosecutors say.

Dunsmuir woman gambled away money she embezzled as property manager

A Dunsmuir woman accused of gambling away thousands of dollars she embezzled while working as a property manager was sentenced Wednesday to a suspended 10 years, four months in prison. Jeannine Marie Tobey, 73 of Dunsmuir, pleaded guilty in July to eight felonies, said Siskiyou County District Attorney Kirk Andrus. Given her  age and the current COVID-19 crisis she will not be required to serve immediate jail time. However, Andrus said, Tobey must pay all restitution by the end of her three-year probationary period on Dec. 1, 2023. “The victims deserve to collect money … that Ms. Tobey flushed down the toilet of an apparent gambling addiction,” Andrus said. “Tobey claimed that between 2014 and 2016 she began having serious financial trouble. Witnesses reported that she had a severe gambling problem,” Andrus said. Tobey admitted to the sergeant that she had removed thousands of dollars of client funds from the escrow account and had spent them gambling, said Andrus.

Bookmakers ‘helped gambling addict squander injury compensation’

Two leading bookmakers helped a severely disabled gambling addict fill out betting slips as he squandered his compensation from a botched operation, it has been claimed. Lawyers for Liam McCarron say that Ladbrokes Coral and Paddy Power failed to intervene over more than three years as his losses reached at least £500,000. McCarron had been a successful businessman until 2007, when he sustained “catastrophic” injuries during a medical procedure, leading to permanent and severe impairment of his movement and speech.

In a letter seen by the Guardian, McCarron’s lawyers say it should have been obvious to both companies that he was a vulnerable person who could not have been earning a salary and was likely to be gambling beyond his means. According to the claim, which has been forwarded to the Gambling Commission, staff at Ladbrokes  were aware that he was using the diminishing proceeds of a one-off payout, writing in internal notes in 2014 that he had “received substantial compensation”. But they allegedly failed to take proper steps to address his gambling disorder until 2017, when staff at Ladbrokes’ sister company, Coral, asked him to fill out a form proving his source of funds. He was unable to do so because he would have required the help of his wife, who was not aware of the extent of his gambling losses.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION

Live Greyhound Racing Officially Comes to an End in Florida Virtually Eliminating the Gambling Sport throughout the Country

Casino Watch Focus has reported on Florida’s Amendment 13, which made live dog racing illegal in the state.  There was a transitional period to allow tracks time to transition their business model and find homes for all the greyhounds used in those races.  That time has come and Florida now joins the vast majority of the states that no longer allow greyhound racing.  Florida was such a large player, that the entire industry is seemingly on its way out.  NBC News reports:

The dog racing “mecca” of Florida ran its final greyhound contests Thursday night as the gambling mainstay strides closer to its potential demise across America.

The clock struck midnight when a speedy pooch named Bug Brush crossed the finish line to win the final race at Palm Beach Kennel Club in West Palm Beach and brought a curtain on the sport in Florida.

A little more than 25 months ago, state voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment 13, outlawing greyhound races, starting in 2021, and issuing what could amount to a national death sentence for the century-old U.S. sport.

With the state now out of the greyhound-running business, four tracks in three states — West Virginia, Arkansas and Iowa — are left still chasing rabbits.

When Amendment 13 passed in 2018, Florida had 11 of America’s 17 dog tracks, which were spread out across six states. Earlier this year, tracks in Texas and Alabama went out of business.

“Florida was the mecca (of dog racing), the base, the largest state with the most tracks,” Humane Society Florida Director Kate MacFall told NBC News recently, celebrating her state’s role in the sport’s decline. “Now this industry has withered.”

Those who have been long involved in the battle to end dog racing believe they still have unfinished business and are working to end the gambling practice in the few remaining legal jurisdictions.  NBC News continues:

With Florida’s ban now in place, there are laws on the books in 41 states against the sport, according to Christine Dorchak, co-founder of the anti-racing group GREY2K. Not yet satisfied with the sport’s near-comatose state, Dorchak said her group is pushing for federal legislation against greyhound racing that she insists has bi-partisan support.

Even without the work of animal activists like GREY2K, the Humane Society and the late singer Doris Day, dog racing has been losing at the bottom line with gamblers for years.

It’s believed Arkansas and Iowa could soon be done with the sport. Operators of Southland Casino Racing, in West Memphis, Arkansas, have already said they’ll stop running by Dec. 31 2022. A subsidy to the Iowa greyhound industry sunsets at the end of 2022, which could finish dog racing two years from now in the Hawkeye State. Dog racing’s demise comes as Americans — at least pre-coronavirus — gamble more than ever before.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION

A Brief Look at Crime 01/04 – 01/10

Man sentenced to life in prison without parole for casino parking lot killing 

A family unleashed nearly two years’ worth of frustration and anger on Robert Pulvermacher in court Tuesday. A judge sentenced the man to life in prison for killing 88-year-old Harold Johnson outside of Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells. Pulvermacher didn’t say much during his sentencing hearing in Sauk County Court. He pleaded no contest to first-degree intentional homicide. The crime itself goes back to January 2019. According to a criminal complaint, Johnson lent $100 to Pulvermacher at the casino. Johnson returned two days later, expecting Pulvermacher to pay him back.

Surveillance video showed the two men walking outside together and getting into a car. Johnson’s body was found a day later with five stab wounds, including two in his neck. Several family members spoke before Tuesday’s sentencing. They said this may have started as a dispute over $100, but Johnson’s family said they’ve paid a much greater price. “You stole his wallet and left him to die in his car and you used his money and gambled for seven hours. You are a coward and a waste of skin and I hope you rot in prison and then in hell,” Johnson’s daughter Nancy said.

Cwmbran finance director stole £800k from We Fight Any Claim

A FINANCIAL director who swindled her own firm out of £800,000 to feed an online gambling addiction wept as she was taken to the cells. Lauren Farr, 34, conned Cwmbran company We Fight Any Claim for more than three years while working there as a trusted senior executive. She was remanded in custody by Judge Neil Bidder QC who told her she will be going straight to jail after she pleaded guilty to fraud. Her crime attracts a prison term of between five to eight years, Cardiff Crown Court was told. The defendant, of Spring Grove, Greenmeadow, Cwmbran, admitted defrauding We Fight Any Claim out of £825,751.

Ieuan Bennett, representing mother-of-two Farr, told Cardiff Crown Court: “She has been frozen with fear and trepidation with what is going to happen to her. “She is paralysed with anxiety. There is a back story to the defendant.” Mr Bennett added: “She became a senior figure in her field. She has overcome a drink problem which still haunts her. “She spent her money online with a wholescale gambling addiction. She hasn’t told her family. “I think she is still living in something of a state of denial. I think the realisation of her inevitable future is sinking in.”

Seven men indicted in connection with Eastman dog fighting ring

About two-and-a-half years after 63 pit-bulls were rescued from a large-scale dog fighting ring in Dodge County, seven men connected with it have been indicted in federal court. “Contests of animal cruelty not only are illegal, but also are cesspools of associated criminal activity including gambling, drug trafficking and illegal firearms possession,” U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine for the Southern District of Georgia said in a Wednesday news release about the indictments. “We won’t tolerate it, and with our prosecutors and law enforcement partners, we are determined to eradicate this barbaric practice. Most of the charges are felonies carrying up to five years each in prison upon conviction. Attending a dog fight is a misdemeanor that carries a punishment of up to one year in prison.

Secretary-Treasurer of Maryland Labor Union Pleads Guilty to Embezzling More Than $294,000

Sarah Geddes Holmes, age 65, of Clinton, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to the federal charges of embezzlement from a labor organization and bank fraud.  Holmes, who was the Secretary-Treasurer of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Local Lodge 24, admitted that she embezzled $294,585.18 from the union. Between May 2015 and June 2018, Local 24 represented approximately 423 members, who worked for 10 different employers at Andrews Air Force Base.   Local 24 members paid monthly dues that were intended to fund legitimate union purposes, including bargaining with employers, litigating grievances, and providing any administrative support that Local 24 required to conduct its business. Holmes used the fraudulently obtained union funds at casinos and to make personal purchases, including food, household goods, beauty supplies, online gaming, and other gambling-related charges. On 17 occasions, Holmes deposited fraudulent Local 24 checks, totaling $39,894.79 on the same day that her player card was used at Maryland Live! Casino.

Night of violence leaves 4 dead, draws Houston closer to 400 murders for the year

In a violent night across Houston, four men were slain in separate shootings, including a security guard killed at an illegal gambling site, police said. The killings bring the city’s murder count to 380, marking a nearly 50% increase from this time last year. The first shooting occurred around 6:45 p.m. Thursday on the 8000 block of   Winthrop Lane in southeast Houston, said Lt. M. Pavel, a Houston Police Department night commander. The victim, in his 20s, walked outside of his house and a red truck pulled up, Pavel said. After a short while, the victim’s sister heard six or seven gunshots. She ran outside and saw her brother had been shot. Paramedics pronounced him dead.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION

Florida Sports Gambling Legislation Leveraged to Push Seminole Gambling Compact

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing attempts to solidify a new Seminole Compact to govern over tribal gambling and exclusivity rights on various forms of gambling in Florida altogether.  The compact’s exclusivity clause expired a few years ago and a series of events have prevented a new deal.  There have been various stalls and subsequent attempts to bring everyone back to the negotiation table though, including a push last summer over sports gambling exclusivity in a new Compact.  Given the coronavirus pandemic, more people were at home, spending more time online, so mobile sports gambling became a carrot to negotiations.  Those efforts also stalled and questions over the legality of its expansion in light of the voter approved Amendment requiring voter approval for gambling expansion were left unanswered.  Now, a similar effort is being made to leverage exclusivity in sports betting to bring everyone back to the gambling table.  An online source explains:

Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, filed three bills Monday that would allow the state’s lottery department to issue licenses and oversee legal sports wagering in Florida with revenue dedicated to education beginning Oct. 1, 2021.

Brandes’ Senate Bill 392 authorizes the state’s Department of the Lottery to operate a sports wagering program and lays out the parameters of how it would operate. SB 394 imposes a 15-percent tax on “sums received from a sports pool” and SB 396 establishes $100,000 application and renewal fees for state-issued sports wagering licenses.

Brandes’ 2021 proposals are similar to the trio of bills he introduced in the waning days of the 2020 legislative session as lawmakers prepared to leave Tallahassee in March without a new gaming pact with the Seminoles. The bills are essentially a prod to spur urgency in talks between Florida and the Tribe and to stop leaving money on the table – some estimates top $700 million annually – when the state’s current year and next year budgets face unanticipated pandemic-induced shortfalls.

The Seminole gaming compact remains in negotiation with the Tribe objecting to the state’s taking control of sports wagering, especially since such an expansion could be outlawed under the November 2018 passage of Amendment 3, which requires any “expansion of gambling” be approved by at least 60 percent of voters in a ballot measure.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION

A Brief Look at Crime 12/21 – 01/03

North Shore butcher who made $3.7M from illegal gambling

The year Domenic Poeta purchased a $1.5 million home in Highland Park, the feds say he told the IRS he made less than $12,000. That was in 2008. The year before, Poeta allegedly reported $38,975 in income. In 2009, he reported $18,835. But prosecutors say the North Shore butcher’s spending managed to dwarf his reported income because he ran an illegal sports gambling business on the side. Poeta, 63, admitted earlier this year that he made more than $3.7 million from that bookmaking business between 2012 and 2017, dodging $1.4 million in taxes. So Monday, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly sentenced Poeta to a year in federal prison and ordered him to pay the $1.4 million he owes.

Woman sentenced for $287K embezzlement from Warren County employer

A Kettering woman was sentenced Tuesday to four years in prison for embezzlement of $287,887 from her Warren County employer. Judge Robert Peeler sentenced Alison McGaughey, 40, for telecommunications fraud and identity fraud during a hearing in Warren County Common Pleas Court. Peeler also ordered restitution of more than $37,000 to the employer victimized in the case, Nelson & Associates, a low-income housing developer and manager.

In addition, the judge ordered McGaughey to make restitution of more than $122,000 to Great American Insurance, which partially compensated the company for its loss McGaughey was indicted in March on charges of telecommunications fraud, aggravated theft, unauthorized use of property, identity fraud and tampering with records. She was accused of stealing the money to cover gambling debts and pay for vacations and personal items, as well as altering computer records and forging bank statements to cover up the thefts.

‘Tony Meatballs’ among 15 mobsters busted in Philadelphia

A reputed wiseguy nicknamed “Tony Meatballs” is among more than a dirty dozen alleged South Philly  mobsters charged in a sweeping federal indictment unsealed Monday. The suspects are accused of everything from illegal sports betting to heroin-peddling to offering loans at 400 percent interest — not to mention plotting to kidnap and possibly murder a drug dealer to save their reputations after the guy sold them fake narcotics. “The charges unsealed today against these 15 alleged members and associates of the Philadelphia La Cosa Nostra show that the mafia remains a criminal presence in our city and beyond,” said Michael Driscoll, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division, in a statement. “From loansharking and illegal gambling to drug trafficking and extortion, the mob continues to keep its fingers in many different pots, in its ceaseless quest for illegal profits.

Shooting leads officers to possible gambling den at motel

A 30-year-old man was shot at a motel in the Del Cerro neighborhood Saturday, and officers believe the violence was tied to some kind of illegal gambling operation. The shooting was reported just before 6 a.m. at the Rodeway Inn on Adobe Falls Road, according to Officer Tony Martinez of the San Diego Police Department. Officers arrived and found a man across the street from the motel who had been shot in his stomach and buttocks. The victim was taken to the hospital for treatment, but was expected to survive, according to Martinez. As investigators worked through the scene, they stumbled upon something unexpected: some kind of illegal gambling operation on the second floor of the motel. “Inside one of the rooms, officers found what looked like possible illegal gambling,” San Diego Police Lt. David Bautista explained. Bautista didn’t elaborate on the nature of the set-up, but conversations on a police scanner indicated there were gambling machines of some sort set up in the room.

California Underground Slots Fugitive Pleads Guilty to Illegal Gambling, Money Laundering After Israel Extradition

One of two Israeli brothers behind an illegal slot machine empire that once stretched across Northern California is finally facing justice in the US. Orel Gohar, 30, fled to Israel in 2017 as the net closed in on the operation, dubbed the Gohar Organization by authorities. Gohar was arrested by Israeli police in Tel Aviv in December 2019, where he had been “moving frequently between apartments to evade authorities,  according to court documents. On Tuesday, he pleaded guilty in the US District Court for the Eastern District of California to illegal gambling, money laundering, and failing to appear. *Prosecutors believe the brains behind the operation was Yaniv Gohar, Orel’s brother, who was sentenced to four years in prison in September 2019. Meanwhile, Orel was the point man of the operation, who boasted of personally earning $500k per year from the gambling ring. 

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION