Casino crime roundup: felonies that shocked the world of gaming this week

Content Team 5 months ago
Casino crime roundup: felonies that shocked the world of gaming this week

Americas: Son sentenced to life for arranging father’s mafia-related hitman murder to inherit illegal gambling machine empire

Anthony Zottola has been found guilty of hiring a hitman and paying $200,000 to murder his father, Sylvester “Sally Daz” Zottola, who was shot and killed in a drive-thru at a Bronx McDonald’s in October 2018. This week, a federal judge in Brooklyn imposed a mandatory life sentence on Anthony Zottola, as well as an additional 112 years in prison.

Sylvester Zottola was a reputed associate of the Lucchese crime family, one of the five Mafia families in New York City. He was involved in an illegal gambling machine scheme in bars and private clubs and had amassed a $40 million property empire through the years.

Anthony Zottola orchestrated the killing of his father by enlisting the services of hitman Himen Ross, so that he could take over the business. Sylvester Zottola was shot numerous times in the head and body while sitting in his car at the fast-food restaurant waiting for his coffee. Himen Ross was also given a life sentence.

Zottola Murder
While sitting in his car at a fast-food restaurant, waiting for his coffee, Sylvester Zottola was shot multiple times in the head and body.

Europe: German sportsbook Tipster faces raids amidst allegations of organised crime and illegal gambling

More than 900 German police officers took part in raids against sportsbook Tipster across several states. The operation, led by the State Criminal Police Office of North Rhine-Westphalia, involved executing over 100 search warrants and six arrest warrants.

Lawmaker Ulrich Mäurer used this occasion to express his view that sportsbooks were a hotbed of illicit activities. The senator from Lower Saxony’s Bremen had previously warned about this. The raids focused exclusively on Tipster’s activities.

Two and a half years ago, an investigation was initiated, and the authorities have recently responded to it. Tipster’s management has been accused of various offenses, including the establishment of a criminal organization, money laundering, illegal gambling, and unreported employment.

Evidence, along with an unknown sum of money and valuables, has been confiscated by the police, and further seizures and arrests are anticipated.

The State Criminal Police Office in Germany has claimed that the recent searches were part of a broader effort to confiscate tens of millions of euros in revenue obtained illegally. Although the authorities did not disclose the specific allegations that resulted in the searches, the involvement of various law enforcement departments suggests the gravity of the accusations.

The Central Office for Organized Crime in Germany, in addition to officials from the North Rhine-Westphalia financial investigation department and customs, participated in the operation.

Allegations include the creation of a criminal syndicate, money laundering, unauthorised gambling, and employing people without proper reporting.

Asia: Tak Chun Group’s Levo Chan Weng Lin receives 14-year sentence for running billion-dollar illegal gambling ring in Macau

Levo Chan Weng Lin, the former head of the now-defunct junket operator Tak Chun Group, has been sentenced to 14 years in prison by the Macau Court of First Instance for various offenses, including organized crime, illicit gaming activities, fraud, and money laundering.

Chan faced a total of 83 charges, but the court found him guilty of 34 charges due to a legal technicality. According to public prosecutors, Chan was involved in a criminal syndicate that enabled under-the-table bets in Macau casinos, resulting in HK$575.2m in gaming tax losses for Macau’s government and HK$135m in losses for the city’s gaming operators between 2014 and 2020.

In addition to Chan, four other defendants were found guilty of under-the-table betting, fraud, and participation in a criminal organization and were sentenced to prison terms ranging from seven to eleven years. Four other defendants were acquitted of all charges.

The guilty verdict against Chan follows similar sentencing of Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, the former boss of Suncity Group, to 18 years in prison in January. All those sentenced have 20 days to appeal to the Court of Second Instance.

Chan and four other defendants must pay compensation to the Macau government and five gaming operators, while the amount was not specified, the criminal syndicate led by Chan reportedly profiteered by HK$1.5bn from under-the-table bets.

Levo Chan Weng Lin, who used to lead the defunct junket operator Tak Chun Group, has received a 14-year prison term for committing organised crime, participating in illegal gambling activities, perpetrating fraud, and engaging in money laundering.

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