Federal indictments handed down for illegal gambling
by Mindy Aguon
Guam - Two separate federal indictments were handed down on Wednesday. The charges stem from raids that were conducted by federal authorities earlier this year at various establishments that are related to the Overseas Chinese Association Center organization.
Betsy Pik Chee Tang Ho and Chin Hao Tsai (aka, "Peter Tsai") were indicted on two counts of illegal gambling business, 42 counts of money laundering and criminal forfeiture. In a separate indictment, Jimmy Hsieh, William M. Perez, Wai Kam Ho, Jennie Wen Chin Pau and Pauline Perez are charged with conspiracy, illegal gambling business, 36 counts of money laundering, 3 counts of structuring and criminal forfeiture.
According to the indictments, the OCAC was approved for income tax exemptions in June 1998 based on its representation that it was a charitable organization that would provide information for new residents and provide services to senior citizens and classes for Chinese lessons.
Betsy Ho and Tsai are accused of conducting illegal speed bingo games through a for profit business, Isa Game Room, which purported to offer play on legal amusement devices. They're also accused of illegally diverting proceeds of OCAC bingo games through RTJ for the purpose of enriching themselves. Betsy Ho and the OCAC operated Paradise Bingo at the Royal Orchid Hotel and Isla Bingo at the Compadres Mall. The OCAC filed financial reports claiming that the organization operated bingo games to fund off-island travel for the Medically Indigent Program from referrals from the Department of Public Health.
According to the indictment, Ho falsely certified that OCAC had not done business with any for-profit business that was controlled by the same officers, owners, or directors as OCAC. But during 2008 and 2009, Ho and Hsieh were corporate officers for OCAC and RTJ Inc. Ho wrote 18 checks drawn against OCAC's bank accounts, totaling more than $440,000, and deposited them into RTJ's bank account even though RTJ had not performed any services for OCAC. Ho also wrote another $369,000 to be distributed to herself and others by writing checks drawn against RTJ's bank account.
The feds are looking to seize money in six of Ho's bank accounts as well property she owns in Orange County, California.
The second indictment against Hsieh, William Perez, Wai Kam Ho, Pau and Pauline Perez deals with the illegal gambling operations that were conducted at the MGM Spa, that was purporting to be a health club and massage spa. Hsieh, Ho and Perez were listed on the articles of incorporation.
The defendants are accused of offering illegal poker and baccarat games on the premises of the MGM Spa Building in Tamuning by offering card games of chance approximately five times per week in violation of Guam law taking a percentage of the winnings and charging $5 per $100 of bets for food and drink.
According to the indictment, Perez took the player's money and entered their names in a ledger book and gave them poker chips for the games while William Perez allegedly advanced money to players to remain in the poker game. The numerous money laundering counts deal with numerous checks all for $12,5000 that were made payable to Pacific Isla Plaza and Guam Concrete & Asphalt, LLC as rent payments for the MGM Spa building. The three structuring counts were filed against Pau who deposited large quantities of cash into various bank accounts to allegedly evade reporting requirements as required by law.
The feds are also looking to seize five banks accounts and two Lexus vehicles.