comscore Sweepstakes arcade owners sentenced for currency violation | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Sweepstakes arcade owners sentenced for currency violation

  • COURTESY HPD / 2012
    One of 77 sweepstakes machines

All of the $487,044 in cash that former arcade owner Lo Van Ho admitted that he and his wife deposited in their bank accounts in quantities of $10,000 or less over a three-month period last year came from the Products Direct Sweepstakes machines in the arcades, lawyers for the Hos said in federal court Monday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Thomas said federal investigators estimated how much activity would have to occur in Ho’s downtown Honolulu arcade and Kalihi arcade to generate $487,000 but that undercover officers saw “not even a fraction of that activity was happening in these businesses.” While authorities have a theory, they were not able to trace the true source of the money, Thomas said.

In the end the government charged Ho, 49, with conspiring to and structuring cash transactions to evade legal reporting requirements. Ho’s wife, Thanh Bao Ho, 37, was charged with failing to report the crime to authorities.

Both pleaded guilty in November.

U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright sentenced Lo Van Ho to a year in jail Monday and sentenced Thanh Bao Ho to three years of probation, six months of which will be on electronically monitored home detention. Seabright also fined Thanh Bao Ho $2,000 and ordered her to perform 150 hours of community service.

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