Commissioner Austin Cullen, back centre, listens to introductions before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver, on Monday, February 24, 2020. A former RCMP officer described by his lawyer as a whistleblower for investigating organized crime in casinos is scheduled to testify today at an inquiry into money laundering in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Commissioner Austin Cullen, back centre, listens to introductions before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver, on Monday, February 24, 2020. A former RCMP officer described by his lawyer as a whistleblower for investigating organized crime in casinos is scheduled to testify today at an inquiry into money laundering in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Inquiry hears players stayed away from B.C. casinos after organized-crime arrests

B.C. launched inquiry after reports illegal cash was helping fuel real estate, luxury car and gambling

An inquiry into money laundering in British Columbia has heard the arrests of several people tied to organized crime and illegal gaming in 2017 led to dramatic reductions in revenue at casinos, but only temporarily.

Daryl Tottenham, manager of anti-money laundering programs for the B.C. Lottery Corp., testified Thursday that high-end players weren’t the only ones who stayed away for two to three weeks.

“We saw reductions across the board,” Tottenham said Thursday, adding fewer patrons had a “ghost-town effect” on casinos.

Tottenham, who left his policing job in 2011 to became a casino investigator with the lottery corporation, said casinos drew people known for connections to organized crime.

They included Kwok Chung Tam, a Chinese national who was banned from B.C. casinos in 2012 for five years for his involvement in cash deliveries before a further five-year ban in 2017 related to gang associations and criminal activity, he said.

The commission is also expected to hear Thursday from a former RCMP officer described by his lawyer as a whistleblower for investigating organized crime in casinos.

Fred Pinnock tried to get standing at the inquiry, arguing that his observations led him to conclude the public was being misled about the nature and degree of money laundering in the province.

Inquiry commissioner Austin Cullen denied the request last year.

Pinnock’s lawyer told Cullen the inquiry would not exist without his client, who took early retirement in 2008.

Pinnock was the officer in charge of the integrated illegal gaming enforcement team.

B.C.’s New Democrat government launched the inquiry after reports that illegal cash was helping to fuel the real estate, luxury car and gambling sectors in B.C.

READ MORE: B.C. money laundering inquiry hears of $800,000 and more in bags, luggage, backpacks

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Crimemoney laundering

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Protesters stand in front of a truck carrying logs to the WFP Ladysmith log sort. (Cole Schisler photo)
Protesters block entrance to Western Forest Products in Ladysmith

Blockade cleared by Ladysmith RCMP around noon, December 2

Chemainus Fire Department members ventilate smoke at the former Kinney Clothing Co. location after a call Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Andrea Rondeau)
Fire crews ventilate smoke at former Kinney Clothing Co. location

Industrial floor sander dust collection bag overheats

The Chemainus Theatre Festival’s Playbill Dining Room reopened to host small musical performances. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Chemainus Theatre receives Island Coastal Economic Trust funding

Project will involve recording and live-streaming Playbill Presents series content

Beautiful morning with the sun peaking through, as viewed from Thetis Island. (Photo by Kelly Bannister)
November characterized by a record high, no snow and plenty of rain in Chemainus region

Temperature almost hits the 20 degree Celsius mark on Nov. 4

The CVRD will reconsider its policies on fireworks after receiving complaints. (File photo)
CVRD considers options for fireworks after receiving complaints

District only allows fireworks on Halloween and New Year’s Eve, with a permit

12-year-old Ella Smiley captured some video of orcas on a sea lion hunt on Nov. 28 at Kitty Coleman Park, just north of Courtenay. Photo by Ella Smiley
VIDEO: Orcas hunt sea lion near Vancouver Island shoreline

Twelve-year-old Ella Smiley, of Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings, caught up with a… Continue reading

Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy are inviting audiences into their home for ‘A Celtic Family Christmas’. (Submitted)
Natalie MacMaster coming to you through Cowichan Performing Arts Centre

Here’s your chance to enjoy the famed fiddler in an online show with her husband Donnell Leahy.

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

BIG SALMON ranch in Washington State. (Center for Whale Research handout)
Non-profit buys Chinook ranch in hopes of increasing feed for southern resident killer whales

The ranch, which borders both sides of Washington State’s Elwha River, is a hotspot for chinook salmon

Gaming content was big on YouTube in 2020. (Black Press Media files)
What did Canadians watch on Youtube during isolation? Workouts, bird feeders

Whether it was getting fit or ‘speaking moistly,’ Canadians had time to spare this year

(Needpix.com)
Fraudsters projected to use pet scams to gouge over $3M from customers: BBB

The pandemic heavily contributed to the number of puppy scams

Most Read