Casino probe suggests BC betting housewives and students are casino money launderers.
The probe into apparent money laundering at casinos in British Columbia continues, and it’s unveiling some interesting information. One of the the things gaming officials are looking closely for is patterns. When a pattern arises, it tends to point to suspects. And last month, all fingers began pointing towards BC housewives and students.
BC Betting Housewives and Students Laundering Money?
Sounds crazy, right. Attorney General David Eby and his anti-money laundering task force think so, too. But according to a bevy of documents detailing high-price deposits, the point seems valid. An inordinate amount of suspicious buy-ins came from people identified as housewives or college students.
What’s so suspicious about this, as AG Eby pointed out in January, is that these people don’t generally have a lot of money to beign with.
“The conspicuous thing about students and housewives is that these are groups of people who don’t have any source of income,” said Eby in an interview. “So for people who don’t have any apparent source of income showing up and playing with large amounts of cash, it seems to me this should have been a red flag”.
But no red flags were raised by this. Sure, there are some housewives out there that don’t work because their affluent husbands have high-profile jobs. And doubtless there are some students whose parents are generously funding their ride. But according to documents, there’s a suspicious amount of them spending 5-to-6-figures a year at BC gambling halls. Way more than any reasonable amount.
Actually, it’s not BC casinos, but a single casino… the River Rock Casino in Richmond. The very casino that BC has been investigating for suspected money laundering since Attorney General David Eby took office last year.
Investigation into Source Funds for BC Gambling
The Gambling Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB) has published a report on the BC government’s open information website, as mandated following a freedom of information request. That report relates to “large cash buy-ins by high roller and high limit VIP gamblers, and the professional backgrounds of those gamblers, at River Rock casino in 2015.”
The report indicates that the top three spending categories, by occupation, were real estate, business and construction. Housewives came in at #6 on the list, with 75 patrons buying in for $14.3 million. The report only lists the top 10 employment groups, but notes that, “Student was #17 with 36 patrons and $2.3M in buy-ins”.
The document goes on to specify that 42 housewives had $50,000+ buy-ins across 495 transactions. 87 of those have been identified as Unusual Financial Transactions, or UFTs. Those individuals were indirectly associated with an additional 39 UFTs, meaning “they weren’t the primary individual conducting the buy-in”. The reason they were indirectly identified in those UFTs had to do with “who the housewives associated with”,” states the report.
As for students, there were 9 in 2015 that totaled buy-ins of at least $50k across 1,915 transactions. Evidence points to their direct onvolvement in 610 UFTs, and indirect involvment in 156 UFTs.
Following the revealing audits, officials are now investigating the matter more thoroughly. The Attorney General said they’re now “asking ‘where did you get this box of cash from?‘ – literally a box, or a duffle bag, of cash.
“It’s incomprehensible to me why that didn’t result in further investigative work, and attempts to ensure that people demonstrated where they got the money from,” said Eby.+