The Bicycle Hotel & Casino is back in action today after enduring an FBI raid.
It is not uncommon for the FBI to raid gaming facilities in the United States. In many states, gambling is not allowed so the FBI is called in after extensive investigations reveal illegal activity. Raids also take place within a legalized gambling venue when the property is expected to be operating via illegal means or breaking the law in some way. The latest raid to take place within a gambling facility happened this week in the state of California, in Bell Gardens.
The Bicycle Hotel & Casino Raid
The Bicycle Hotel & Casino was raided on Tuesday by federal agents who seized financial records of the facility due to a money-laundering investigation. The casino was shut down for close to twenty hours on Tuesday in order for agents to enter the main floor and seize what they felt was connected to the investigation. The casino has now been reopened and according to the facility is able to serve customers with normal operations. The casino staff pointed out that the facility has a priority to provide a safe and fun environment for their guests.
The Los Angeles High Intensity Financial Crime Area Task Force led the raid which includes individuals from the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement as well as the California Department of Justice Bureau of Gambling Control, the United States Attorney’s office and the Internal Revenue Service.
Focus of the Investigation
The focus of the investigation is to determine if individuals were able to use the gaming facility as a way to launder funds. It is believed that bets were placed with dirty money and then chips exchanged for clean money. Sources close to the investigation revealed these details and asked to remain anonymous as they are not allowed to discuss the case, according to a report by the LA Times.
A spokeswoman for ICE, Virginia Kice, did not comment on the scope or nature of the investigation but did state that a magistrate judge issued a search warrant for the property and this warrant was sealed in relation to the investigation as it is ongoing. A casino spokeswoman, Becky Warren, stated that management is cooperating with the authorities in this matter but did not make any further comment.
This week was not the first time that the Bicycle Hotel & Casino was subject to an investigation by lawmakers. Back in 1990, the facility was investigated and a raid took place involving the Internal Revenue Service as well as the Drug Enforcement Administration. Authorities had discovered that the property was laundering drug money which was used to finance the construction of the casino.
In this case, a jury found that $12 million of a total amount of $22 million was used on the property coming from drug smugglers of Florida. In 1991, the federal government took over partial ownership of the property. After some time, the government decided to sell the share of the casino to a gaming company of Britain.
The casino is now a privately owned entity by Bicycle Hotel & Casino LLC and offers card games including 185 poker tables.
It will be interesting to see the outcome of this raid on the property. Since 1996, the FinCEN has required that all casinos file Currency Transaction Reports when a customer has a transaction of $10,000 or more in one day. Many times, facilities face charges in regards to such paperwork not being filed or being filed fraudulently.