$1.3 Million In Forfeiture Funds Delivered to HPD
HONOLULU -- United States Attorney Florence T. Nakakuni (third from left in attached photo), Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent-in-Charge Joanna K. Ip (second from left), United States Marshal Gervin K. Miyamoto (fourth from left), Federal Bureau of Investigation Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge Tuan M. Nguyen (third from right) and Internal Revenue Service Supervisory Special Agent David Meisenheimer (second from right) today delivered a $1,310,469.86 check to Chief Louis M. Kealoha and Vice Division Lt. Phillip Johnson (far left) of the Honolulu Police Department (HPD), as a portion of the funds equitably shared with HPD, resulting from forfeited assets. The payment was part of a total of over $2.8 million the Department of Justice delivered to HPD from forfeitures in the investigation and prosecution of an internet gambling operation which also committed money laundering and tax violations.
United States Attorney Nakakuni said that starting in 2009, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, Homeland Security Investigations and the Honolulu Police Department conducted a joint undercover investigation into a large-scale internet gambling operation. According to information produced in court, the investigation revealed that, between 2005 and 2012, the illegal operation, established by Allen Yamada and led by Felix Tom, placed gross wagers totaling over approximately $670 million through internet websites based in Costa Rica.
U.S. Attorney Nakakuni said that according to law enforcement investigations, in the last several years, dozens of internet bookmakers have come into existence, many of whom are located in foreign countries where bookmaking activities are not illegal. These bookmakers direct their activities toward bettors in the United States, who are interested in gambling on American sporting events such as baseball, football, and basketball.
The prosecution identified in excess of 20 agents located primarily on Oahu. The investigation also revealed that many agents also recruited sub-agents (lower-level bookies or runners), who also had their own client base. A total of 26 defendants, including Yamada and Tom, pled guilty to gambling, tax, and/or money laundering offenses. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry L. Butrick (far right in photo).