comscore Illegal Oahu gambling yields $1.9M in forfeitures | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Illegal Oahu gambling yields $1.9M in forfeitures

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The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Hawaii announced on Tuesday that it obtained in January an order forfeiting $307,523.32 as part of a 2020 civil forfeiture action on a Wilhelmina Rise house that the government alleged was purchased using illegal gambling proceeds.

Rather than forfeit the house at 1649A Paula Drive, the $307,523.32 was paid.

This latest forfeiture has raised the amount to more than $1.9 million the United States has obtained in forfeitures from an illegal gambling business running at least nine illegal game rooms on Oahu as a result of a joint criminal and civil investigation.

“Forfeiture provides a critical tool for law enforcement in its efforts to disrupt illegal enterprises and reduce criminal activity in our community,” U.S. Attorney Clare Connors said in a written statement. “Illegal gambling businesses cause significant harm and the successful forfeiture of more than $1 million from this illegal gambling operation reflects our commitment to pursue both criminal and civil actions.”

The Department of Homeland Security, the Hawaii High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, the Honolulu Police Department and other law enforcement partners conducted the investigation, which started in 2018, resulting in 12 criminal convictions.

In 2019, the U.S. Attorney’s office sought civil forfeiture of four real properties and other seized property, which resulted in the forfeiture of $885,070.14.

They include a single-family Waipahu house at 94-103 Pupupuhi St., where an illegal gambling business was being operated, and another location in Pearl City.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said federal search warrants were executed at the two locations, at another game room and other properties used in the gambling business.

It also includes a South Street apartment in Kakaako purchased with illegal gambling proceeds, and a $360,000 settlement payment to resolve a forfeiture claim to a Liliha Street property.

Law enforcement seized U.S. currency, gambling machine paraphernalia and other property.

Warrants were also executed at financial institutions and funds seized that were found to be gambling proceeds or funds involved in structuring.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sydney ‘Spector and Rachel Moriyama handled the forfeiture litigation.

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