TO DISMISS CRIMINAL CASE
The owner of Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino has agreed in principle to settle its criminal case in exchange for the forfeiture of $3.02 million plus other terms and conditions.
Assistant U.S. attorney Ross Naughton, as counsel for the U.S. government, and attorney Bruce Berline, as counsel for Hong Kong Entertainment (Overseas) Investment Ltd., informed the U.S. District Court for the NMI on Friday that although they have agreed in principle to the settlement, they are awaiting the U.S. Department of Justice’s final approval of the civil forfeiture amount.
Naughton and Berline also asked the court to reset the Feb. 9, 2015, jury trial based upon the fact that they have agreed to dismiss the case without prejudice in consideration for the $3-million civil forfeiture, along with other terms and conditions.
Naughton and Berline said Hong Kong Entertainment and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Districts of Guam and the NMI both believe the DOJ will approve the settlement amount.
U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona on Friday granted the parties’ request to move the trial date and set a status conference for Friday, Feb. 6, at 8:30am.
The U.S. government filed in November last year 158 criminal charges against Hong Kong Entertainment: one count of conspiracy to cause a financial institution to fail to file a currency transaction report or CTR, 155 counts of failure to file a CTR, one count of failure to file a suspicious activity report, and one count of failure to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program. The indictment also has a notice of forfeiture.
The initial indictment had charged HKE and then-VIP services manager George Que and then-casino manager Tim Blyth with 10 charges. Que and Blyth later entered into a settlement deal with the U.S. government in exchange for the dismissal of the criminal charges against them.
According to the indictment, HKE allowed gamblers at Tinian Dynasty to conduct transactions involving more than $10,000 without filing CTRs with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network from September 2009 to April 25, 2013.
Tinian Dynasty allegedly failed to file about 3,640 CTRs for cash transactions over $10,000 as required by law. The total dollar amount of reportable currency transactions that were not filed is about $1.38 million.