The Bicycle Hotel and Casino in Los Angeles will fork out $500,000 after admitting they failed to follow money-laundering procedures related to $100million of cash transactions from a Chinese gambler.
The unnamed gambler visited the LA casino more than 100 times in an 8-month period in 2016, playing high-limit baccarat in a VIP room using huge bundles of cash that were often transported to and from the casino in duffle bags.
The startling revelations appeared as the Bicycle Hotel & Casino in Bell Gardens agreed to pay $500,000 in a Non-Prosecution Agreement (NPA) with federal prosecutors.
A press release from the Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California relates that the Chinese national had “marathon play sessions” at the casino.
“A Statement of Facts in the NPA also chronicles some of the high roller’s marathon play sessions, such as one occasion where he withdrew $2 million from his player account at approximately 2:45 p.m. and played in a VIP room through 1:20 a.m. the following morning.”
The massive cash transactions were carried out by the gambler’s assistant, amounting to more than $100 million in cash-in or cash-out transactions.
The casino admitted they failed to file Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs) and Suspicious Activity Reports for Casinos (SARCS) that are required under the anti-money laundering provisions of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).
They also accepted that “improperly filed currency transaction reports in the name of the assistant when it should have referenced the high roller”.
The fine was set at $500k as that was the amount of revenue the casino made from the high rolling patron, and the prosecution also took into account remedial actions taken by casino management to improve its anti-money laundering measures.
Johnny L. Griffin III, attorney for the Bicycle, stated that, going forward, the casino would be “ensuring that all of its compliance and reporting programs are strictly followed and updated as the laws and regulations require.”
The investigation involved the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Gambling Control, IRS Criminal Investigation, and Homeland Security Investigations, while Assistant United States Attorney Alexander B. Schwab of the Major Frauds Section negotiated the resolution.