Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Civil Action Seeking Forfeiture Of Building That Housed Illegal Gambling Operations
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Nearly Half of Chinatown Building Was Used for Illegal Gambling Activities
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, James T. Hayes, Jr., the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (“ICE”) Homeland Security Investigations directorate (“HSI”), and Raymond W. Kelly, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York (“NYPD”), announced today the filing of a civil complaint seeking forfeiture of a six-story Chinatown building located at 35-37 East Broadway (the “Building”) in New York City. The Building is alleged to have been the site of a pervasive network of illegal gambling activities.
According to the civil forfeiture complaint which was filed today in Manhattan federal court:
Over at least the last two years, the Building has consistently hosted a group of illegal gambling operators offering various gambling options, including pai gow poker and computer-based slot machine games, in nearly half of the Building’s suites. The Building itself has been modified to accommodate these gambling operations, including the creation of a ground floor slots room hosting computers dedicated to slot machine games, and the installation of surveillance cameras throughout areas of the Building dedicated to gambling.
Illegal gambling operators have continued to utilize the Building despite two separate searches conducted by law enforcement in 2011 that resulted in the seizure of hundreds of thousands of dollars in gambling proceeds. Their gambling operations continued at the Building as recently as yesterday, when ICE HSI, in cooperation with the NYPD, executed a search warrant for multiple locations within the Building, as well as a related gambling site. In connection with the search, ICE HSI and NYPD arrested eleven persons involved in the illegal gambling operations on New York State charges that are being prosecuted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, and seized approximately $163,000 in gambling proceeds. In addition, the officers seized large numbers of gambling tables, and other gambling materials. The New York Attorney General’s office simultaneously arrested two persons for practicing medicine without a license in the Building.
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The civil forfeiture complaint seeks the forfeiture of 35-37 East Broadway as property used to conduct an illegal gambling business.
Mr. Bharara praised the efforts of ICE HSI and the NYPD in the investigation of this matter.
Assistant United States Attorneys Alexander J. Wilson and Sarah R. Krissoff are in charge of the civil forfeiture action.