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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


BETH PHILLIPS


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.justice.gov../index.html


JULY 14, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


WICHITA MAN INDICTED FOR $100,000 WORTH OF

COUNTERFEIT CASINO CHIPS


FORMER KCMO RESIDENT PASSED CHIPS

AT ARGOSY RIVERSIDE CASINO


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Wichita, Kan., man has been indicted on charges related to passing counterfeit casino chips at the Argosy Riverside Casino.


            Zhe Li, also known as “Kevin,” 37, of Wichita, formerly of Kansas City, Mo., a naturalized U.S. citizen from China, was charged in a three-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo., on May 25, 2010. That indictment was unsealed and made public today following Li’s initial court appearance.


            The federal indictment alleges that, from Oct. 19 to Dec. 16, 2008, Li defrauded the Argosy Riverside Casino and Hotel in Riverside, Mo., by presenting more than 1,000 counterfeit black $100 casino chips for the purpose of exchanging those chips for cash at the casino. Some of those funds Li obtained as cash, the indictment says, and other funds were used to play table games such as blackjack.


            Li is charged with one count of transporting the proceeds of fraud across state lines. Li allegedly made a series of cash deposits into his and his wife’s checking accounts. Those deposits, totaling approximately $35,500, allegedly consisted of funds fraudulently obtained from the Argosy Riverside Casino through Li’s counterfeit scheme. On Nov. 4, 2008, Li caused the bank to transfer $15,299 to Tampa, Fla., in order to pay off the balance on a loan for a 2007 Hummer H3 he and his wife purchased earlier that year.


            The indictment also charges Li with one count of structuring. Li allegedly made a series of cash deposits into his and his wife’s checking accounts that were intended to avoid a requirement for the bank to report any transaction greater than $10,000 to the federal government.


            Li is also charged with making a false statement to a government agency. According to the indictment, Li submitted an application for food stamp benefits for himself, his wife, and their two minor children. On the application form, Li allegedly checked “yes” when asked whether his “household cash/savings” was $100 or less, knowing that he and his wife each had more than that amount in checking accounts. Li also allegedly made false statements during a telephone interview with a representative of the Missouri Department of Social Services, including a statement that he didn’t own a vehicle, although he owned a 2007 Hummer H3.


            Li received approximately $2,547 in food stamp benefits from August 2008 to February 2009, the indictment says. During that time, Li allegedly received and deposited large amounts of cash as a result of redeeming counterfeit casino chips at the Argosy Riverside Casino. Li never informed the Missouri Department of Social Services about these deposits, according to the indictment.


            Phillips cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian P. Casey. It was investigated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol Gaming Division, working in conjunction with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Missouri Department of Social Services.


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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

http://www.justice.gov../index.html