FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
For Information Contact:
District Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges
For Running an Illegal Gambling Operation
-Defendant, Others Operated at Locations in Chinatown Area-
WASHINGTON – Chun Liu, 55, of Washington, D.C., pled guilty today to federal charges involving the operation of an illegal gambling business, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. and John P. Torres, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Liu pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to one count of conducting an illegal gambling business and one count of money laundering. The Honorable Senior Judge Thomas F. Hogan scheduled sentencing for Jan. 24, 2013. The charge of conducting an illegal gambling business carries a statutory maximum of five years in prison, and the money laundering charge carries up to 20 years. Under federal sentencing guidelines, the charges carry a likely range of 12 to 18 months in prison.
As part of the plea agreement, Liu agreed to the forfeiture of $255,320, which represents proceeds from the gambling business. The amount includes more than $230,000 in cash that was seized by law enforcement authorities in a search of the operation in September 2011.
According to a proffer of evidence, signed by the defendant as well as the government, Liu and other individuals operated a total of three illegal gambling establishments in the Chinatown area of Northwest Washington from March 2007 through October 2011.
From approximately March 2007 until December 2007, Liu continuously operated a gambling establishment in the 800 block of Sixth Street NW. From April 2009 until December 2009, he moved the operation to another location, on the same block. In February and March of 2010, the operation moved to the 500 block of H Street NW. And finally, from July 2010 until October 2011, Liu returned to the first location on Sixth Street NW.
The gambling activity typically took place from 9 a.m. until 3 or 4 a.m. At any given time, Liu operated electronic, touch-screen gaming machines and up to five Mahjong tables inside the gambling establishments. Liu conducted numerous financial transactions involving the proceeds of his illegal gambling activity, including paying rent for his residence, making monthly payments on his Mercedes-Benz automobile, and paying utility bills.
In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Machen and Special Agent in Charge Torres praised the investigative work of the Special Agents from the Washington Office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. They also commended the efforts of those who worked on the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialist Taryn McLaughlin, the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott L. Sroka, who is prosecuting the matter.12-363