B.C. casinos track cheques traded for cash

Man arrested at Chilliwack had thousands in cash and casino cheques, civil forfeiture office going to court to confiscate it

Rules are in place to prevent money laundering in B.C. casinos, an industry spokesman says after details of an effort to conceal more than $2 million came to light.

Ernest Yee, executive director of the B.C. Gaming Industry Association, said casinos are required to label all cheques issued to customers. If they buy chips with cash and then return most of the chips for a cheque, the cheque is branded “return of funds – not game winnings.”

The attempted transaction and the identity of the person are to be reported to the federal Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC).

“The cheque branding makes it clear that the funds were not derived from casino winnings and creates an audit trail for law enforcement when the cheque passes through the banking system,” Yee said.

Yee was responding to a call for stricter casino regulations this week from NDP leader John Horgan.

Horgan referred to a case stemming from a traffic stop by RCMP at a Chilliwack casino in October 2015. According to court documents, the driver was found leaving his car in a parking spot reserved for disabled people. Inside the car were $12,000 cash and $29,000 worth of cheques issued by Lake City Casino, which has locations in Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton.

A second search of the same man’s car in December turned up $25,405 in cash, along with pills and crack cocaine.

B.C.’s Civil Forfeiture office has applied to court to seize the money and the 2014 Camaro the man was driving as proceeds of crime. The suit alleges the man has laundered more than $2 million in drug dealing profits through casinos in B.C. from November 204 to October 2015.

 

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