Friday, October 23, 2020

Northern Florida Bingo Operator Sentenced to Federal Prison for Illegal Gambling and Money Laundering

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U.S. Attorney Lawrence Keefe for the Northern District of Florida today announced the sentencing of Larry L. Masino, 69, of Gulf Breeze, and Dixie L. Masino, 66, of Pensacola.

A jury found both guilty of conspiracy and money laundering charges related to their ownership and operation of Racetrack Bingo in Fort Walton Beach.

The Masinos, through Racetrack Bingo, illegally conducted bingo games by keeping a substantial amount of the bingo proceeds for themselves rather than returning all proceeds to players in the form of prizes, as required by law.

The Masinos received and laundered $5,813,584 in profit between 2006 and 2015.  Larry Masino, the original orchestrator of the illegal bingo scheme, was sentenced to twelve months and one day in prison, followed by two years of supervised release.

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His ex-wife Dixie Masino, who took over as the face of the operation in 2010 after Larry was prosecuted in Tallahassee for running illegal bingo games there, was sentenced to four months of house arrest as a part of a five-year probation term.

“These individuals were preying upon the citizens of Fort Walton Beach,” said Special Agent in Charge Jack Massey at FDLE’s Pensacola Regional Operations Center. “We appreciate the diligent investigative work of our agents and our partners at the IRS, FBI and the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office and thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida for bringing this case to a successful resolution for justice.“

In addition to receiving sentences of incarceration, house arrest, and probation, the Masinos were jointly ordered to pay a forfeiture money judgment of $5,813,584.  The government has already seized more than $1.5 million from the Masinos’ bank accounts and forfeited three properties, the proceeds of which will be applied toward the court-ordered money judgment.

“With today’s sentencing, the Masinos will pay a high price for defrauding unsuspecting charities whose sole mission was to help others,” U.S. Attorney Keefe said. “This office has zero tolerance for illegal gambling schemes, especially those that target charitable organizations. We will prosecute operators to the fullest extent of the law.”

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Assistant United States Attorney Alicia H. Forbes prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.

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