On 16th July, a Pensacola area based local couple who acquired and laundered around $6 Million via illegally organized bingo games were sentenced. The couple was ordered to return all the money for restitution. The jury found the couple Dixie L. Masino, aged 66 and Larry L. Masino, aged 69, from Pensacola, guilty of the charge of money laundering and conspiracy.
These charges were related to the operation and ownership of the Racetrack Bingo located in Fort Walton Beach, as confirmed by the news release obtained from Florida based U.S. Attorney’s Office for the North District. The Masino’s, although divorced for long, decided to stay together for their business. Together, the couple owned the Racetrack Bingo & also ran the bingo games to help support the area charities.
Unknown to the local charities, the couple were keeping aside a substantial sum acquired from the proceeds of the bingo game for themselves. Instead of returning all of the proceeds to the players as prizes, which is mandated by the law, the couple decided to side with a part of the proceeds.
According to the official news release, the couple laundered and received around $5,813,584 as profit from the proceeds between the year 2006 & 2015. Among the two, Larry Masino was the main orchestrator for this illegal scheme for the bingo games. He was sentenced for a total of 12 months in prison which was followed by 2 years of a supervised release.
On the other hand, Dixie Masino, his ex-wife took a turn to act as the main face of this operation starting the year 2010. This was after Larry got prosecuted for running the illegal games in Tallahassee. She was also sentenced for a duration of 4 months in house arrest which was a part of her 5year-long probation term.
Apart from receiving the incarceration sentences, probation, and house arrest, the couple was jointly required to pay up the overall proceeds equal to $5,813,584. As of now, the local government has managed to seize around $1.5 million saved in the bank account of the couple along with 3 different properties forfeited.
Larry Keefe, the U.S. Attorney mentioned that the sentencing carried out for the Masino shall require them to pay up a high amount for conducting frauds with unsuspecting charities who just want to help the ones that are less fortunate. The local attorney office does not tolerate illegal schemes for gambling, especially the ones that tend to target the charitable organizations.