A new indictment adds four co-defendants to a case involving a massive ring of illegal gambling operations running in Sacramento and throughout much of Northern California, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday in a news release.
The gambling ring bust was announced late last year following a two-year investigation by federal and state officials. State Department of Justice officials said 500 slot machines were illegally operated throughout smoke shops in Northern California. A smoke shop in the Florin area of Sacramento was among the offending businesses.
The four new defendants are men from the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas, joining four men indicted last December for their involvement.
The updated indictment, announced this week by U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott, includes charges of money laundering conspiracies, witness tampering and false statements to a grand jury in addition to the illegal gambling violations.
Atir Dadon, 34, of Sherman Oaks, and Bar Shani, 26, of San Francisco, allegedly conspired with one of the four original defendants, Orel Gohar, to launder proceeds from the gambling business. They allegedly did so using “coded conversations referring to financial transactions as an exchange of bottles or records and exchanged cash for checks from a company controlled by Dadon and Shani to make Orel Gohar’s income appear legitimate,” the news release states.
Adam Atari, another 34-year-old from Sherman Oaks, is accused of using companies he controlled to send checks and electronic bank transfers to another defendant, Yaniv Gohar, in exchange for cash taken from the illegal gambling operation, according to the news release.
Atari is also being charged with two counts of witness tampering. He allegedly attempted to “corruptly persuade two of his employees to lie to the FBI about issues related to the money laundering investigation,” the news release states.
Raz Razla, 48, also of Sherman Oaks, is being charged with false statements made to a grand jury after stating in court he was unaware of charges against one of the four original defendants as of February 2018. He allegedly knew about the charges in December 2017, Tuesday’s news release states.
Shani was arrested Monday in San Francisco and detained pending a court appearance in Sacramento, according to the news release. Atari was arrested Sept. 1 at Los Angeles International Airport. Dadon and Razla each have their initial court appearances Tuesday in Los Angeles, the news release said.
The four join both Gohars and Eran Buhbut, a 33-year-old Oakland resident, as co-defendants in the case, which is being prosecuted by assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew M. Yelovich and Miriam R. Hinman. The three original defendants were all Israeli citizens, The Bee reported at the time.
Another Israeli citizen, Nive Hagay (also known as “Dino the Casino”) was sentenced last September to two years in prison, The Bee reported. In a plea agreement, he pleaded guilty to conducting an illegal gambling business and distributing cocaine.
A 2017 affidavit from a state justice department special agent said the proceeds from the operation may have been sent to Israel after being laundered through a Los Angeles rabbi.
Walnut Creek resident May Levy, 27, pleaded guilty in May for his role in conducting the video slot operation. He was responsible for illicit slot machines at businesses in Stockton, Sacramento, Concord, Hayward, Antioch, El Cerrito, San Pablo, Richmond, San Jose, Watsonville and Salida, a news release said at the time.
Levy was sentenced Aug. 10 by Senior District Judge Garland E. Burrell, Jr., to 24 months probation, public court documents show.
The two-year investigation that led to the gambling bust was coordinated by FBI and the state Department of Justice-Bureau of Gambling Control officials, Tuesday’s news release said.