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

Faith columnist Jim Taylor packed away Thanksgiving decor and hung Christmas seasonal items in their place despite new orders from Dr. Bonnie Henry cancelling worship. (Photo by Clearwater Times News Staff)
COLUMN: Church decorated for Christmas despite COVID-19 regulations banning worship

Faith columnist Jim Taylor explains why he prepared the church despite new health orders

North Okanagan Knights KIJHL Junior B Hockey League players Ethan Matchim (from left), Cade Enns and Jake Dubinsky helped out a toy drive organized by Vernon’s COBS Bread. (Photo submitted)
Trio of North Okanagan Knights give assist to toy drive

KIJHL players help out Vernon bread store with toy drive

Seventeen-year-old Joyce is battling cancer in BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, but mother Irma Hopkins said she is ‘one tough cookie.’ A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to raise funds for Joyce and her family. (Contributed)
Vernon rallies behind teen fighting cancer

Joyce, 17, is ‘one tough cookie,’ her mother says; she’ll be in hospital in Vancouver until sometime in June

The Township of Spallumcheen is now handling applications for planning and development. (Morning Star - file photo)
Township of Spallumcheen handling development, planning applications

Convenient service for township residents, businesses, who no longer have to travel to Coldstream

An Enderby restaurant and pub was shut down Sunday afternoon, Nov. 29, 2020 as a precaution after a guest reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. (Howard Johnson photo)
Enderby pub reopens after COVID-19 scare

After a guest reportedly tested positive for the virus, staff test results came back negative

Janet Austin, the lieutenant-governor of British Columbia, not seen, swears in Premier John Horgan during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. Horgan says he will look to fill gaps in the federal government’s sick-pay benefits program aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. premier says province prepared to patch holes in new federal sick-pay benefits

Horgan said workers should not be denied pay when they are preventing COVID-19’s spread

(Google Maps)
Osoyoos Credit Union staff member tests positive for COVID-19

The credit union made the announcement Dec. 1

Elkhart Gas Station, located on Highway 97C about 60 kilometres west of Peachland, opened in November 2020. (Google maps)
The Okanagan Connector now has a gas station

The highway previously ran for over 117 kilometres without a place to fuel up

The Hughes’ Grinch was stolen from their front yard Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2020. The Santa suit the Grinch is wearing is 50 years old and has sentimental value. It was once worn by April Hughes’ dad. (Hughes photo)
Grinch stolen from Penticton home is ‘irreplaceable’

The Hughes have had a Christmas display for 25 years on Grandy Avenue in Penticton

Midway RCMP’s Cpl. Phil Peters spoke at Greenwood’s city council meeting Monday, Nov. 23. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
B.C. Mountie builds fire to warm suspect with hypothermia prior to rescue

Cpl. Phil Peters said the civilian helped police track, apprehend and eventually rescue the suspect

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Revelstoke COVID-19 cluster linked to non-essential travel: Horgan

There have been 46 cases of COVID-19 in the community

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

Most Read