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United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that Anthony Bertino, age 59, of Atlantic City, New Jersey, was found guilty of Bribery Concerning Programs Receiving Federal Funds as a result of a federal jury trial in Aberdeen, South Dakota.
The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, 3 years of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.
Bertino was indicted by a federal grand jury on April 2, 2019.
The Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribe (SWO) operates the Dakota Nation Gaming Enterprise (DNGE), which oversees the tribally-run gaming establishments. Bertino was employed as the Corporate Marketing Officer for the DNGE. Bertino’s employment agreement included provisions stating that self-dealing is cause for termination, that he was not to engage in actions motivated by self-interest, and that he was not to work in any other capacity without first obtaining written consent from the DNGE.
In 2014, Bertino negotiated the DNGE’s purchase of equipment from a 66,000 square foot sprung casino facility in Indiana. On May 21, 2014, the DNGE Advisory Committee approved the purchase for $900,000. After the DNGE wired the money to the seller, Bertino received three kickbacks from the seller totaling $104,909.78.
The case was brought pursuant to The Guardians Project, a federal law enforcement initiative to coordinate efforts between participating agencies, to promote citizen disclosure of public corruption, fraud, and embezzlement involving federal program funds, contracts, and grants, and to hold accountable those who are responsible for adversely affecting those living in South Dakota’s Indian country communities. The Guardians Project is another step of federal law enforcement’s on-going efforts to increase engagement, coordination, and positive action on behalf of tribal communities. Led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the participating agencies include: Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Offices of Inspector General for the Departments of Interior, Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Agriculture, Transportation, Education, Justice, and Housing and Urban Development; Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division; U.S. Postal Inspector Service; U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General.
For additional information about The Guardians Project, please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office at (605) 330-4400. To report a suspected crime, please contact law enforcement at the federal agency’s locally listed telephone number.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann M. Hoffman prosecuted the case.
A presentence investigation was ordered and a sentencing date was set for May 10, 2021. The defendant was allowed to remain released on bond pending sentencing.