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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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