San Francisco and Los Angeles Area Residents Charged with Operating an Illegal Gambling Business, Money Laundering, Witness Tampering, and Making False Statements to the Grand Jury in Superseding Indictment
Business Placed Illegal Video Slot Machines in Northern California Convenience Stores and Smoke Shops
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A superseding indictment was unsealed today, adding four defendants and additional charges to a case involving an illegal gambling business operating in Sacramento and elsewhere in California, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
Yaniv Gohar, 35, of Berkeley; Orel Gohar, 28, of San Francisco; and Eran Buhbut 33, of Oakland were indicted in December 2017, charged with conducting an illegal gambling business. According to court documents, from September 2015 through November 2017, Yaniv Gohar, Orel Gohar, and Buhbut operated a gambling business that installed and maintained video slot machines at smoke shops and convenience stores throughout Northern California, including in Sacramento, in violation of California laws prohibiting such machines.
The superseding indictment adds four new defendants and several new charges, including two different money laundering conspiracies, two counts of witness tampering, one count of making false statements to the grand jury, and two counts of failure to appear. According to the superseding indictment, Orel Gohar conspired to launder the proceeds of the gambling business with Atir Dadon, 34, of Sherman Oaks, and Bar Shani, 26, of San Francisco. To do so, the three allegedly engaged in coded conversations referring to financial transactions as an exchange of bottles or records and exchanged cash for checks from a company controlled by Dadon and Shani to make Orel Gohar’s income appear legitimate. Yaniv Gohar and Orel Gohar are also charged with conspiring to launder proceeds with Adam Atari, 34, of Sherman Oaks. Atari allegedly used multiple companies under his control to send checks and electronic bank transfers to Yaniv Gohar in exchange for Yaniv Gohar and Orel Gohar paying his San Francisco area employees in cash that was derived from the gambling business.
Atari is also charged with two counts of witness tampering for allegedly attempting to corruptly persuade two of his employees to lie to the FBI about issues related to the money laundering investigation. Raz Razla, 48, of Sherman Oaks, is charged with making false statements to the grand jury for his statements that he only learned of the charges against Yaniv Gohar in February 2018, when in fact he allegedly knew of those charges in December 2017. Finally, Yaniv Gohar and Orel Gohar are charged with failing to appear at court hearings in January 2018 after having been released from custody after their arraignment on the original indictment.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the California Department of Justice – Bureau of Gambling Control. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew M. Yelovich and Miriam R. Hinman are prosecuting the case.
Yaniv Gohar and Orel Gohar fled the United States upon their release in December 2017 and remain at large. Atari was arrested on September 1, 2018, at Los Angeles International Airport, and has been detained pending his appearance in Sacramento. Shani was arrested in San Francisco Monday and ordered detained pending his appearance in Sacramento. Dadon and Razla have their initial court appearances today in Los Angeles.
If convicted, Yaniv Gohar, Orel Gohar, and Buhbut face a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the gambling offense. For the money laundering conspiracies, Dadon, Shani, Yaniv Gohar, Orel Gohar, and Atari face a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000, or twice the value of the monetary instrument or funds involved, whichever is greater. For each count of witness tampering, Atari faces a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Finally, Raz Razla faces a statutory maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the false declarations before a grand jury charge, and Yaniv Gohar and Orel Gohar face the same maximum penalties for their respective failures to appear. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.