Houston Poker Clubs Scammed Out of $250,000 by DA’s Consultant10 months ago
A private poker room in Houston has been scammed out of $250,000 by a consultant to the Harris County District Attorney, the incredible tale leading to all charges against the club being dropped.
As we reported recently, nine members across two Houston poker clubs - The Post Oak Poker Club and the Prime Social Poker Room - were arrested after a two year investigation and charged with money laundering, organized criminal activity and gambling promotion.
Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo stated at the time:
“We need to shut them down. If you want to have these kind of establishments, the legislature needs to authorize it, otherwise we're going to do our job and shut them down."
It transpired that the Prime Social Poker Room had earlier paid $¼ million to have exactly that process enacted, ‘secure passage of a city ordinance protecting gambling establishments’ promised by a consultant to Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg.
However, when the poker club decided to check up on progress of the ordinance, they found that the consultant’s pitch was a scam - a city official responding that ‘he had no idea what they were talking about’ according to the Houston Chronicle newspaper.
The raids that followed saw bank accounts frozen and assets seized, but all charges were dropped by the DA, Ogg citing a potential conflict of interest involving a former contract employee and campaign donor, named by defense lawyers as Amir Mireskandari.
One defense attorney, Brett Podolsky, stated:
“We were told there was a conflict of interest, that it revolved around him being involved in some sort of consulting in regard to the game rooms, while at the same time being employed by the DA’s office”.
“We believe we were the victims of a fraud, much as I believe the DA’s office was also a victim,” stated Joseph Magliolo, attorney for Prime Social Poker Room defendants.
DA Ogg has referred the case to the FBI and explained that the $206,000 seized would be returned to the poker rooms.
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