Jose Huizar, L.A. City Councilmember, charged in casino chip bribe

Suspicious Activity Report (SAR)

L.A. City Councilmember Jose Huizar has been charged by federal authorities for taking bribes from a Chinese billionaire to facilitate real estate development. This includes cashing in $259,000 in chips at Las Vegas casinos that the billionaire gave him.

Huizar might have thought he was being very clever. Because then the money would be clean, as it was reported to IRS by the casino as winnings. Woo-hoo, Well, no. The IRS and FinCEN almost certainly (as a result of the investigation or on their own) would eventually wonder where the $259,000 came from.

He was probably not able to document where he got the $259,000, especially since there were no records of him winning it. Casinos know exactly who is winning what at all times and cameras are always recording.

Currency Transaction Reports (CTR) are filed for winnings totaling more than $10,000 a day. Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) are sent if anything might be dicey. Cashing out $259,000 without any explanation of where the money came would almost certainly trigger a SAR being sent.

The FBI says casino surveillance video inside several Las Vegas casinos shows the Chinese billionaire providing casino chips to Huizar. The footage additionally reveals the councilman cashing out the chips that were given to him on numerous occasions.

This case pulled back the curtain on rampant corruption at City Hall,” US Attorney Nick Hanna said. “Councilman Huizar violated the public trust to a staggering degree, allegedly soliciting and accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from multiple sources over many years.