The Las Vegas Sands Corp is trying to recover $6.4 million in gambling debts from two VIP Chinese gamblers who blew millions in just a couple of days playing baccarat – a game that is very popular with Chinese gamblers. The 52 year old Meie Sun and 59 year old Xiufei Yang are facing criminal charges for failing to pay back the money they received at the Palazzo and Venetian casinos on the strip after singing an IOU, according to a Reuters investigative report.
Lowenstein & Weatherwax LLP and Fabian VanCott, the two law firms that are representing the accused threw a curve ball in court after they alleged that Meie Sun and Xiufei Yang weren’t really VIP gamblers but just local housekeepers who were recruited by the Sands Corp to take out high value loans as a front and then pass on the money to the actual VIP gamblers at the table in an attempt to keep their names of the books. The attorneys from these two firms allege that Sands Corp violated federal anti-money laundering laws in the process and as a result the two women were actually the victims. The defense attorneys have asked the court to drop all charges against their clients.
Ron Reese, a representative for the Sands Corp labeled these arguments as a smokescreen and stated that there was no actual evidence that the Sands Corp had hired these two women as employees. In a statement, Reese said “If credible proof is presented that an employee or employees were complicit, we will promptly take appropriate action as required by our policies. However, even a scenario in which a company employee was involved still does not void the debt. Ultimately those people signed credit on behalf of their name and that debt should be collected”
This case has highlighted the fact that there may still be a number of loopholes with Vegas casinos which allow money laundering to take place. Casinos in Vegas over the last few years have targeted the Asian market, especially Mainland China and its high-rollers who love playing high stakes baccarat. Marketations, a casino consulting company stated in the report that baccarat was one of the fastest growing gaming in Vegas over the last decade and 90 percent of all baccarat gaming in Vegas is played by Asian gamblers with the majority being from Mainland China. More than 75 percent of the VIP gambling segment in Las Vegas was made up of high-rollers from Asia.