A card club raid in California unearthed a massive illegal gambling ring in which people laundered millions of dollars in high-stakes poker games.
In US gambling news, the remaining two card clubs in San Diego County—the Palomar Card Room and Seven Mile Casino—have been raided by federal officials and closed. Law enforcement seized over $600,000 from player accounts and bank accounts in the card club raid, and issued arrest warrants for over 25 people across the country who had connections to the illegal gambling conspiracy. Charges include illegal bookmaking, failure to report winnings to the respective authorities, and money laundering.
According to authorities, the illegal gambling ring kingpin is David Stroj of San Diego. The US attorney’s office said that Stroj “used financiers, a business manager, sub-agents, money runners, money couriers and debt collectors” to run an illegal bookmaking operation that handled as much as $2 million a month in bets. He had more than 360 clients and operated across America, as well as in Canada and Mexico.
Casinos owners charged in card club raid
In addition to Stroj and his accomplices, the owners of the Seven Mile Casino and the Palomar Card Room have been arrested for disobeying US gambling laws. Both Palomar Card Room operator Naseem Salem and Seven Mile Casino owner Harvey Souza were accused of failing to track winners earning more than $10,000 a day. Authorities are also accusing Salem of moving money around in an illegal poker and black business.
“They were not duped. It was criminal in nature,” says assistant US Attorney Joshua Mellor.
While the casino owners are under investigation, their casinos are closed, and will remain so unless they meet the criteria to reopen. Said state Attorney General Kamala Harris in a statement: “These casinos engaged in money laundering and illegal gambling schemes that undermine the well-being of our communities. I thank our California Department of Justice Bureau of Gambling Control Special Agents, as well as our local and federal law enforcement partners, for holding the alleged perpetrators accountable for their financial crimes.”