News

Casino Group CEO Presents First-Ever Award to Boston Police Department for Actions in High-Profile Ponzi Scheme Case

Press Release
May 14, 2015

Washington, DC – In the midst of National Police Week, American Gaming Association (AGA) President and CEO Geoff Freeman presented the Boston Police Department (BPD) with a first-ever award in recognition of its use of anti-money laundering tips to solve one of the largest Ponzi schemes in the history of Massachusetts.

BPD acted swiftly after receiving information from Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) reports regarding Steve Palladino of West Roxbury, who was living a lavish lifestyle and frequently gambled at casinos. In January 2014, Palladino pleaded guilty after defrauding investors of $10 million, and he is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence.

The BSA is the federal law that requires U.S. financial institutions to assist U.S. government agencies to detect and prevent money laundering.

In a ceremony at the U.S. Department of the Treasury in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, Freeman awarded the first-ever Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) “Law Enforcement Award,” which recognizes law enforcement agencies that use BSA reporting in their criminal investigations.

“The gaming industry takes anti-money laundering compliance seriously, and we were honored to be asked to present this inaugural award to the Boston Police Department for its effective use of information from Bank Secrecy Act reports to solve a historic crime,” said Freeman. “As Massachusetts’ gaming industry officially opens for business next month, this serves as another reminder of the stringent and effective measures in place at casinos to prevent money laundering and to protect the integrity of our country’s financial system.”

According to FinCEN, the agency charged with regulating anti-money laundering activities, “this case is the first instance where prosecutors used a recently enacted state money laundering statute to seize funds in bank accounts.” For more information from FinCEN about the case, please click here.

Last year, the AGA released a comprehensive set of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Best Practices to guide the efforts of casinos to protect the U.S. financial system from money laundering and other forms of illicit finance. The AGA’s Best Practices for Anti-Money Laundering Compliance are the result of more than a year of work to identify and enhance industry guidelines, which were developed in coordination with FinCEN.

About AGA: The American Gaming Association is the premier national trade group representing the $240 billion U.S. casino industry, which supports 1.7 million jobs in 40 states.  AGA members include commercial and tribal casino operators, suppliers and other entities affiliated with the gaming industry.  It is the mission of the AGA to be the single most effective champion of the industry, relentlessly protecting against harmful and often misinformed public policies, and paving a path for growth, innovation and reinvestment.

 

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press release contact
Allison Nielsen