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July 21, 2016Honolulu, HI, United StatesFinancial Crimes

Operator of Chinatown game room sentenced to more than 3 years in federal prison

HONOLULU - The operator of a Chinatown game room was sentenced Wednesday to 37 months in prison for operating illegal gambling businesses and conspiring to bribe an agent of an organization receiving federal funds.

Delvin Phuong Pham, aka Kevin Pham, 49, appeared in federal court before Senior U.S. District Court Judge Susan Oki Mollway. In addition to the prison term, Judge Mollway ordered the defendant to forfeit more than $96,000 in personal property and 14 illegal gambling machines.

Pham pleaded guilty to the charges March 8. Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris A. Thomas prosecuted the case.

According to court documents, Pham operated numerous illegal game rooms in the Chinatown and Kalihi neighborhoods which allowed patrons to illegally gamble through the use of slot machines, “fish” video game machines, and Baccarat card tables. Court documents and evidence obtained during the probe showed Pham received proceeds ranging from $10,000 to $28,000 a week from his illegal gambling operations. Additionally, Pham admitted contacting and paying more than $7,200 in bribes to an officer with the Honolulu Police Department who pretended to be willing to accept the money in exchange for protecting Pham’s illegal gambling operations from law enforcement and for the return of illegal gambling machines previously seized during the execution of search warrants.

The charges were the result of an extensive Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force probe using a network of confidential informants and undercover officers overseen by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Internal Revenue Service, and the Honolulu Police Department.