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Financial Crimes

HSI New York and NYPD take down illegal gambling operation in Chinatown

NEW YORK — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents and New York Police Department (NYPD) officers swarmed a six-story building in the heart of Chinatown Monday evening with search warrants to seize proceeds from an illegal gambling parlor. Nearly half of the building was used for illegal gambling activities.

In connection with the search, HSI special agents and NYPD officers arrested 11 people involved in the illegal gambling operations on New York State charges that are being prosecuted by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office. They also seized approximately $163,000 in gambling proceeds. In addition, the special agents and officers seized large numbers of gambling tables and other gambling materials. The New York Attorney General's Office simultaneously arrested two people for practicing medicine without a license, in the building.

"ICE Homeland Security Investigations and the NYPD have shut down one of the largest unlicensed casino operations in New York City's recent history," said James T. Hayes, Jr., special agent in charge of HSI New York. "We will continue to work with the NYPD to uncover these types of criminal enterprises and put them out of business."

"The defendants in this case continued to operate an illegal gambling business, even after previous seizures of hundreds of thousands of dollars in gambling proceeds at the same location. Now, that building will be forfeited," said Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Manhattan district attorney. "I thank our partners in law enforcement for their assistance and collaboration in helping us combat criminal activity in Chinatown."

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced today the filing of a civil complaint seeking the forfeiture of the six-story Chinatown building, located at 35-37 East Broadway. The building is alleged to have been in the site of a pervasive network of illegal gambling activities.

According to the civil forfeiture complaint, which was filed today in Manhattan federal court, during the course of at least the last two years, the building has consistently hosted a group of illegal gambling operators offering various gambling options, including pai gow poker and computer-based slot machine games, in nearly half of the building's suites. The building itself has been modified to accommodate these gambling operations, including the creation of a ground floor slots room hosting computers dedicated to slot machine games and the installation of surveillance cameras throughout areas of the building dedicated to gambling.

Illegal gambling operators have continued to use the building despite two separate searches conducted by law enforcement in 2011 that resulted in the seizure of hundreds of thousands of dollars in gambling proceeds. Their gambling operations continued at the building as recently as yesterday, when HSI, in cooperation with the NYPD, executed a search warrant for multiple locations within the building, as well as a related gambling site.

SAC Hayes, Jr., praised the efforts of HSI special agents, the NYPD, the U.S. Attorney's Office, and the Manhattan District Attorney's Office for the dismantling of this illegal gambling ring.