RCMP unravels “sophisticated” money laundering scheme at casinos

By Gambling Insider

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has pressed multiple charges against five individuals in connection to money laundering at casinos in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Niagara region.

Zu Wen Chang, Lin Li, Bo Hai Chen, En Quan Chen and Jian Hua Tao are all facing criminal charges for participating in a “sophisticated drug trafficking and money laundering scheme.”

A total of 29,975 cannabis plants, 7,926 lbs of dried cannabis and approximately CA$1.03m (US$789,135) was seized as part of the investigation, which had been ongoing since 2017.

Back then, the RCMP began gathering information about a potential money laundering scheme that was operating through casinos in the GTA and Niagara regions. As a result of the investigation, it was discovered that over CA$3m was laundered from the illegal sale of cannabis.

Superintendent Jeff Cooper, Officer in Charge of District Command, said: “This investigation, conducted with the assistance of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and FINTRAC, serves as a great example of how a coordinated enforcement effort can contribute to safer communities by disrupting the illegal drug trade and confiscating money laundering proceeds.”

Members of the OPP’s Investigation and Enforcement Bureau (IEB) attached to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) provided assistance to the RCMP throughout its investigation.

“We were pleased to lend our resources and gaming expertise to the RCMP in this matter, and will continue to support all stakeholders in our shared goal of effectively detecting and safeguarding against criminal activities in casinos,” said Alison Jevons, Chief Superintendent, OPP, IEB.

The AGCO will now conduct a review of the regulated gaming entities to “assess the effectiveness of their controls in meeting their obligations under the Gaming Control Act, its regulations and the Registrar’s Standards for Gaming.”

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