U.S. Attorney Kenji Price announced this morning the filing of criminal charges against 15 people, the seizures of 60 illegal gambling machines, homes in Waipahu and Pearl City and cash from bank accounts he said are connected to illegal gambling.
“With today’s announcement of criminal charges, civil forfeitures complaints and seizures, we’re communicating a very clear message to illegal game room owners. Our goal is to take your property through civil or criminal forfeiture. And if you or anyone else you know happens to get a cut of the proceeds of illegal gambling, we’ll be trying to seize that too,” he said.
Price said the filing of three indictments, two criminal complaints and a civil lawsuit is the result of an on-going joint federal-city effort to crack down on illegal gambling operations on Oahu.
The agencies involved in the effort includes his office, the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Honolulu Police Department.
Homeland Security Investigations’ Acting Special Agent in Charge John Tobon said traditionally, illegal gambling attracts is indicative of other illegal activity with proceeds used for drugs and firearms.
Price said illegal gambling also attracts other crimes like robbery and arson.
He said according to one of the indictments, a person who had been leasing space in a Waipahu warehouse set fire to the structure this past April after the landlord learned the person was using the space for illegal gambling and had taken steps to evict him.