US govt asks court to issue warrant to ‘arrest’ TDHC’s $2.5M


The U.S. government on Monday requested the federal court’s clerk of court to issue a warrant to arrest the $2.5 million that the owner of Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino has agreed to pay as part of the $3.03-million settlement of a criminal case.

In the U.S. government’s application for warrant of arrest in rem, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Marivic P. David, Russell H. Lorfing, and Ross K. Naughton said a Supplemental Rule for Admiralty or Maritime Claims and Asset Forfeiture Actions provides that if property is subject to forfeiture in a civil forfeiture case, and the property is in the U.S. government’s possession, custody or control, the clerk of court “must issue a warrant to arrest this property.”

Last Aug. 21, the U.S. government filed a complaint for civil forfeiture that seeks the forfeiture of Tinian Dynasty’s $2.5 million.

Hong Kong Entertainment (Overseas) Investments Ltd., owner of Tinian Dynasty, gave the $2.5 million to the U.S. government in the form of a check last July 23 pursuant to their non-prosecution deal.

The new owners of Hong Kong Entertainment and the U.S. government have agreed not to prosecute the criminal case against HKE in exchange for HKE’s forfeiture of $3.03 million.

Last July, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona dismissed the criminal charges against HKE, based on the U.S. government’s request.

In the forfeiture complaint, the prosecutors asked the court to order all persons having an interest in the funds to appear in court and explain why the forfeiture should not be decreed.

The parties entered into a non-prosecution agreement that requires Tinian Dynasty to forfeit $3,036,969.12—the largest forfeiture ever collected by the U.S. in the CNMI.

Pursuant to the non-prosecution deal that the parties signed, HKE has made a payment of $2.5 million to the U.S. government.

With the $2.5 million payment, HKE does not need to pay more because the $536,969.12 that federal agents previously seized from Tinian Dynasty is also forfeited to the U.S. government, bringing to a total forfeited amount of $3,036,969.12.

The U.S. government filed in November last year 158 criminal charges against HKE.

The charges are 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 has also a notice of forfeiture.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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