Professional gambler charged in illegal financial transaction a - KCTV5

Professional gambler charged in illegal financial transaction at Ameristar

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

The United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri said that a professional gambler from New Jersey has been charged in federal court with illegally structuring financial transactions, including cashing in hundreds of thousands of dollars in chips at a local casino.

Richard Dougherty, 52, of Linwood, N.J., was charged in a federal criminal complaint with structuring financial transactions.

Dougherty was arrested at the Ameristar Casino in Kansas City, MO, Tuesday evening. He appeared in court Friday and was released on bond.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, Dougherty won nearly $700,000 during dozens of visits to Ameristar over the past year. Dougherty is a professional gambler and a member of the Tom Hyland Card Counting team, one of the most successful blackjack teams in America. The Hyland Team is most known for their expertise as card counters. The team at one point had grown to 30 or 40 people.  

Because the Hyland team has been counting cards for so long they are recognized at many casinos. The team has used disguises throughout the years at various casinos.  

Dougherty is charged with structuring financial transactions at Ameristar in order to avoid federal reporting requirements. Federal law requires casinos to file currency transaction reports with the federal government for each transaction (either cashing in or cashing out) of $10,000 or more. These regulations also require that multiple transactions be treated as a single transaction if they are conducted by, or on behalf of, the same person, and they total more than $10,000 during one business day.

According to a release from the attorney's office, it is illegal for an individual to structure financial transactions in such a way that the casino fails to file the required report. 

The criminal complaint alleges that Dougherty purchased at least $166,380 in chips with cash in 11 structured transactions at Ameristar, and that he cashed in chips for $315,075 in 32 separate structured transactions from Feb. 16, 2012 to March 27, 2013.

Dougherty made at least 60 visits to Ameristar between Feb. 16, 2012 and March 27, 2013. During this time period, the affidavit says, Dougherty won at least $697,892 and lost $382,880, netting him $315,012 in casino winnings. Not one time during his play at the Ameristar did Dougherty cash out for more than $10,000, according to the affidavit. Dougherty allegedly structured the currency transactions in amounts less than $10,000 to avoid triggering the filing of a currency transaction report.

The Internal Revenue Service was the investigating agency.

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