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Bicycle Casino Agrees To Pay $500K To Settle Violations Of Federal Anti-Money Laundering Rules

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The operators of the Bicycle Hotel & Casino in Bell Gardens will pay $500,000 to settle violations of the Bank Secrecy Act, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Friday.

The casino accepted responsibility for failing to properly file reports for a Chinese national who conducted millions of dollars in cash transactions back in 2016, which violates a number of federal anti-money laundering rules, according to federal prosecutors. Bicycle Casino also agreed to strengthen its anti-money laundering practices.

The Bicycle Hotel & Casino in Bell Gardens
BELL GARDENSS, CA - APRIL 4, 2017 -2663169_la-fi-bicycle-casino_ALS Federal authorities executed warrants early Tuesday as part of a criminal investigation at The Bicycle Hotel & Casino in Bell Gardens. Details about the investigation were not immediately available, but authorities with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed the warrants are related to the Internal Revenue Services. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The investigation into the Bicycle Casino concerned a "high roller" Chinese national who gambled there about 100 times over an eight-month period in 2016. The high roller, whom prosecutors did not identify, played high-limit baccarat in a VIP room with huge sums of cash that he occasionally carried to and from the casino in duffel bags. On one of those occasions, he withdrew $2 million from his player account at 2:45 p.m. and played in a VIP room until 1:20 a.m. the next morning, federal officials said.

The high roller's transactions drew scrutiny because it was his assistant who conducted more than $100 million in cash-in or cash-out transactions on his behalf – transactions that were improperly filed in the assistant's name, rather than the high-roller's name. During this period, which started on at least Jan. 7, 2016 and continued through July 27, 2016, the casino also failed to file any Suspicious Activity Reports for Casinos (SARCS) that are required under the Bank Secrecy Act, according to prosecutors.

After the casino's staff informed senior management in July of 2016 of the failure to file the proper reports in the high roller's name, the casino took steps correct the situation, including amending Currency Transaction Reports to show they were done on the high roller's behalf, and creating an Anti-Money Laundering Committee within its management ranks. The $500,000 settlement is part of a non-prosecution agreement between federal prosecutors and Bicycle Casino.

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