A Houston gambling parlor operator was sentenced Monday to federal prison for running a string of illegal 8-liner gaming operations for nearly a decade and laundering the illegal profits.
U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes handed down a one-year sentence to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered Melvin “Tiger” Askew to pay $600,000 in restitution immediately.
Askew, 48, remains free on bond and agreed to surrender to officials at a date that is yet to be designated.
Askew pleaded guilty Nov. 6, admitted he obtaining $600,000 after setting up slot and 8-liner electric gambling machine operations throughout Harris County, and then hiding his ownership of them. Askew leased the machines to others or rented properties that he knew would be used for illegal gambling.
Askew was a business owner who manufactured gaming equipment and previously ran game rooms in the Harris County area, said his defense attorney, Kent Schafer. But his lawyer said he had been out of the business for many years.
“He reported the money he made and paid taxes on it,” Schafer said. “However, under federal law it is still considered to be money laundering.“
Askew was linked to gaming clubs in Channelview, Clearview, San Leon and Galveston between 2003 and 2012, according to court documents. He set up the operations under the names of employees, using machines that paid out cash on the spot. Askew then made cash deposits on regular basis and then withdrew cash proceeds to buy a home in Baytown and a commercial property in Channelview, according to his plea.
He failed to keep payroll records for his employees, attempting to keep operation off the radar of officials.
Source: European Gaming News