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U.S. Attorney cites threat to Indian gaming

U.S. Attorney Sheldon Sperling of the Eastern District of Oklahoma says Indian gaming remains vulnerable to criminal elements.

Sperling successfully prosecuted Ivy Kwok Ong for tax fraud and bribery. Ong was able to infiltrate the Seminole Nation's gaming operation despite his criminal record, Sperling said.

Ong supplied electronic gaming machines to the tribe and took a share of the revenues in violation of federal law. But his arrangements were never reviewed by the National Indian Gaming Commission, which would have discovered his criminal past as part of a routine background check, Sperling said.

"This was a man who should never have been allowed anywhere near an Indian gaming facility,” Sperling said after Ong was sentenced to 39 months in federal prison, The Oklahoman reported. "Until we have a method of tracing not only those who manage, but also those who supply or invest in tribal casinos, Indian Country remains vulnerable to infiltration by those like defendant Ong.”

The Seminole Nation was forced to shut down its gaming facilities and pay a hefty fine to the NIGC for its dealings with Ong, who also sought to open a casino with the Shinnecock Nation of New York.

Get the Story:
Man sentenced in casino bribery case (The Journal Record 5/21)
Ex-casino financier is headed to prison (The Oklahoman 5/21)