Two Plead Guilty to Operating Illegal Gambling Business in Northern California and Conspiring to Launder Money
Two Los Angeles-area residents pleaded guilty today to operating an illegal gambling business and conspiring to launder money, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
Pleading guilty today were Yosef Yitzchak Beshari, 29, of North Hollywood, and Efraim Journo, 30, of Los Angeles, in related cases.
According to court documents, Beshari and Journo conducted an illegal gambling business involving video slot machines and devices and the sale of credits for online gambling, in Stanislaus County, San Joaquin County, Sacramento County and elsewhere. In addition, Beshari conspired with Schneur Zalman Getzel Rosenfeld, 33, of Los Angeles, who has been charged in a related case, to launder the proceeds of the illegal gambling business by exchanging the cash proceeds for various payments, including checks, direct deposits of purported salary, and a wire transfer to an escrow company for the purchase of Beshari’s house.
In a related case, an indictment charges Los Angeles residents Gal Yifrach, 35, with operating an illegal gambling business and conspiracy to commit money laundering; Nick Shkolnik, 39, with operating an illegal gambling business; and Shalom Ifrah, 32, and Rosenfeld with conspiracy to commit money laundering.
According to court documents, Yifrach and Shkolnik also conducted the illegal gambling business. Yifrach and Ifrah conspired to launder the proceeds of the illegal gambling business in multiple ways, including by exchanging the cash for checks, exchanging the cash for casino chips, and conducting cash exchanges of no more than $10,000 at banks to avoid transaction reporting requirements.
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. Attorney Miriam R. Hinman is prosecuting the case.
Beshari and Journo are scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge William B. Shubb on June 27, 2022. They each face a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conducting an illegal gambling business. In addition, Beshari faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine, or twice the value of the monetary instrument or funds involved, whichever is greater, for conspiracy to commit money laundering. Beshari has also agreed to forfeit $250,000. The actual sentences, however, will 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 against the other defendants are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.