A Brief Look at Crime 11/22 – 11/28

L.A. casino fined $500,000 for looking the other way when a gambler brought duffle bags stuffed with $100 million for marathon gambling sessions

A Los Angeles County casino was hit with a hefty fine for failing to properly alert financial regulators and the Internal Revenue Service when a “high roller” walked in with $100 million in cash to bet on games of baccarat. Federal prosecutors say the unnamed whale — who was described only as a Chinese national — made over 100 visits to the Bicycle Hotel & Casino over eight months in 2016, often arriving with duffle bags full of cash to bet on marathon sessions of the high-stakes card game. On numerous occasions, the gambler’s assistant would exchange millions in cash for chips, with the high roller cashing in and cashing out approximately $100 million during the course of his months-long gambling spree, prosecutors said.

When gamblers buy over $10,000 in chips using cash, a casino is required to file a currency-transaction report and a suspicious-activity report with the Department of the Treasury. But prosecutors say the casino routinely filed the forms in the name of the gambler’s assistant, in violation of the law. Last week, the casino reached a nonprosecution agreement with the Department of Justice under which it will pay a $500,000 fine and revamp its anti-money-laundering protocols.

Man arrested months after fatal shooting at illegal gambling operation in San Antonio

A San Antonio man was arrested Sunday on suspicion of murder months after a fatal shooting at an illegal gaming room, according to police. The footage, taken on a cell phone, showed Alderete walking over to Isaac and attempting to shake his hand, according to the affidavit. Isaac is seen pulling out a gun and pointing it at Alderete, shooting him in the chest. The two kept fighting, and Alderete was shot a second time. Isaac’s stepdaughter was also shot in the ankle during the struggle. 

Two employees get prison for stealing $777K from Native American addiction center 

Two employees of a Native American counseling and addiction center, including its executive director, have been sentenced on charges of embezzling more than $777,000 in federal funds. DeCoteau served as executive director of Ain Dah Ing (ADI), which has operated as a non-profit halfway house in Spooner, Wisconsin since 1971, from 2002 to 2017. Schmuck worked as the bookkeeper from 1990 to 2017. They were fired after the thefts were discovered. DeCoteau and Schmuck pleaded guilty to one count of theft of federal funds on July 15 and June 24, respectively. ADI offered mental health and alcohol and substance abuse services to Native Americans from Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. At sentencing, Judge William M. Conley noted that DeCoteau and Schmuck stole more than 67% of the total funds intended for programming at ADI, and that they gambled away most of this money at local Indian casinos.

Former Office Manager Sentenced for Swindling Broken Arrow Business of $2.7 Million

Dihel pleaded guilty to mail fraud and tax evasion on July 21, 2021, after she brazenly embezzled more than $2.7 million from her employer from 2011 until May 2019. Dihel took advantage of her trusted position as an office manager at the business and forged the president’s signature on approximately 334 checks for her own benefit and to the detriment of the company. She made some checks payable to herself, some to her boyfriend and a family member, and some to personal credit card companies to pay her monthly credit card bills. Her boyfriend and family member were unaware of her scheme. Dihel further manipulated accounting entries in her employer’s books and records to cover her tracks. Dihel stated in her plea agreement that she spent most of the money on gambling. 

Cash, drugs, guns, flamethrower seized in Oakland illegal ‘gambling shack’ bust

The Oakland Police Department is investigating an illegal casino gambling operation that has already landed three arrests and the seizure of weapons, drugs and even a flame thrower. Among the items recovered by officers were four loaded firearms, a 50 round drum magazine, a flame thrower and $17,500 in cash, police said. OPD said officers also recovered eight gambling machines, a quarter pound of suspected meth, and a large amount of tar heroin packaged for distribution inside of what they described as a “gambling shack.” Two people were arrested during the search warrant, while a total of 11 people were detained. A third person, who is believed to have been running the operation, was arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm, police said.

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


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