Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati Connected to Money Laundering
The Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati was reportedly used as a money laundering location for an individual named Ismail Shalash.
Across the United States, commercial casinos operate based on strict rules and regulations. Operators must adhere to protocols or risk losing licensing or fines. One major area of concern is money laundering protocols. Casinos are supposed to follow strict regulations to ensure that money laundering does not take place within the facility. On rare occasions it does, and the casino must pay fines and make changes in order to ensure that the activity does not happen again. The most recent case of money laundering involving a casino comes out of Ohio.
The Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati was reportedly used as a money laundering location by an individual named Ismail Shalash. The alleged perpetrator is said to have moved over $464,000 through the gaming facility from May to August 2021. He also is said to have redeemed almost $790,000 in gaming chips.
Details of the Scam
The money laundering actions of Shalash apparently run much deeper than just the Hard Rock Casino. The individual reportedly took over $1.7 million from five people in four differ states and tried to take $3.4 million from eight people in five states.
The FBI says that Shalash sold cars to dealerships via an online plan. The luxury cars were sold to the dealerships but never delivered. The money was direct into the casino and cashed out with casino credits. Investigators also say that money was deposited into the casino for gambling in the future.
According to authorities, Shalash was redeeming chips for more than the deposit amount. His casino account at the Hard Rock was used for money transfer. He was taking the victims funds and channeling it through the casino to wash it clean. The individual left the US soon after withdrawing around $500,000 from an account via cashier checks.
Still On the Run
After cashing in the funds, it is believed that Shalash went on the run. He was last know to be living in Morocco and feds have been looking for him since September when a warrant was issued for his arrest. Police found that he has dual citizenship in Morocco and Jordan. He is wanted on several charges including wire fraud and money laundering.
Over the past few days, it has come to light that Shalash’s new wife has been spending some of the illegal funds. The FBI has identified her as Abir Mulawwah from Houston, Texas. The wife is believed to have opened a safe deposit box in Houston and used it to store the cash. She traveled to PNC Bank on November 19 to remove the money from the box.
Authorities also say that Mulawwah also went on a spending spree buying clothing and other items. Just a few days after the money was removed, Mulawwah was arrested. FBI agents found $300,000 in a safe deposit box and arrested Mulawwah at the George Bush International Airport in Houston.
She has been charged with making false statements, laundering of money instruments, and conspiracy to defraud the government. While under FBI custody, she claimed that her and Shalash are not marid any more and she does not know where he is.
Authorities will continue to search for Shalash and any additional funds that might be floating around due to his money laundering activity.
This type of action takes place at a casino due to the large amounts of cash that go through on a regular basis. It will be interesting to see how the Hard Rock in Cincinnati handles this situation and what changes might be made to avoid money laundering in the future.