CNMI Judge Reschedules Tinian Dynasty Hearing

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Federal authorities investigating unrecorded transactions

By Andrew O. De Guzman

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, May 3, 2013) – U.S. District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands designated Judge Robert C. Naraja rescheduled the hearing on the federal complaint against the management of Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino to May 17, 2013. It was originally scheduled for today.

Naraja granted the unopposed motion for continuance submitted by attorney G. Anthony Long, who represents Hong Kong Entertainment (Overseas) Investment, Ltd. which is doing business as Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino.

An arrest warrant is outstanding for casino manager Tim Blythe.

A stipulation made by attorney Robert T. Torres, who represents VIP services manager George Que, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Marivic P. David, who is prosecuting the case, has asked the federal court to vacate the May 9, 2013 preliminary hearing for Que, who was allowed to post a $30,000 unsecured appearance bond after his arrest on April 25, 2013.

Que through Torres is waving his right to a preliminary hearing which the federal government didn’t oppose, according to the stipulation.

The U.S. Probation Office reported that Que has been placed on location monitoring after being released and is under a curfew from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office charged Que, Blythe, and Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino with conspiracy to cause a financial institution to fail to file currency-transaction reports and causing a financial institution to fail to file currency-transaction reports.

The maximum sentence for each offense is imprisonment for not more than 10 years, a fine of not more than $500,000 for an individual, and a fine of not more than $1,000,000 for a corporation, the prosecution said.

There is also a forfeiture provision wherein, upon conviction, the defendants would forfeit their interest in two bank accounts on Guam, two bank accounts on Saipan, and in the Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino.

The case is being investigated by the U.S. Internal Revenue Services-Criminal Investigation.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Marshals Service, and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations assisted IRS CI in the execution of the search warrant. The U.S. Coast Guard assisted in transporting the federal agents from Saipan to the Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino prior to the execution of a federal search warrant on April 25, 2013.

Federal law requires that a Currency-Transaction Report, or CTR, be filed with the IRS by financial institutions, including casinos, in connection with any currency transaction over $10,000.

According to the criminal complaint, beginning in September 2009 and continuing through the present, the Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino engaged in a pattern of accommodating gamblers in conducting transactions involving more than $10,000 without filing CTRs with the government. Defendants Blythe and Que did not file any CTRs or cause anyone else to do so, despite their knowledge of the reporting requirement, the complaint stated.

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