Money laundering is an activity that is frowned upon in the United States, yet it continues to be a practice by the criminal world. Criminal organizations will find anyway they can to launder funds including using gaming venues as a front. Just recently, it was announced that a California casino faces a huge civil penalty based on failing to comply with anti-money laundering laws.
Artichoke Joes’ Casino, a large gaming venue in San Bruno, has been hit with a $8 million fine by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the US Treasury Department. Jamal El-Hindi is the acting director of the group who stated that for years the venue was turning a blind eye to loan sharking, as well as suspicious transfers of high-value gaming chips and criminal activity that took place out in the open.
El-Hindi stated that the penalty size was based on the severity as well as duration of the violations. The department took into account the awareness of the activity by the casino as well as the size of the gaming venue plus other factors.
It was in March of 2011 that the casino was raided by federal agents and two customers were convicted of illegal conduct including loan-sharking charges. Federal agents believe that the employees of the casino of a senior level were aware of the issue and in some cases chips were provided to customers by the loan sharks in view of the casino staff without any suspicious activity reports filed.
The venue reportedly waited until the arrests were made back in 2011 to complete a test of their anti-money laundering program, which should have already been completed years prior. Four years later, the casino had yet to conduct another independent test.
This is not the first time a card room in California has been hit with a violation by the federal agency. Hawaiian Gardens Casino faced charges last year and ended up reaching a settlement of $2.8 million while Normandie Casino paid millions that same year based on violations.
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