FREMONT – The restraining order issued against the California house of a suspected casino money launderer has been reaffirmed by the court as authorities believe that the property might have been purchased using laundered money.
Hongjie Ma, the wife of high-stakes gambler Dan Bai Shun Jin, failed to convince the Victorian Supreme Court in Australia to lift the restraining order over their home in Fremont. The house, which was estimated to be worth $2.7 million, has been identified as one of the three properties seized in 2013 following the start of the investigation on the nature of Jin’s income and wealth.
“The evidence of Hongjie Ma and her witnesses all supported the fact that Jin is a big gambler but no comment was made or explanation given as to how he is able to fund his very high-stakes gambling,” explained Victoria Supreme Court Justice John Dixon regarding the decision to deny Ma’s request, according to The Age.
According to Dixon, the extent of Jin’s alleged crime could have reached other countries including the United States. Hence, it would be more prudent for the authorities to keep their hold on the California house especially since the suspected large scale laundering crimes have yet to be proven.
"Jin is likely to be involved in large-scale illegal casino based money laundering activity in Australia, the US, Macau and Singapore,” wrote Dixon via The Age.
At the moment, the Chinese-Australian casino VIP is under an investigation conducted by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The investigation stemmed from the massive discrepancies detected by the AFP between the declared income of Jin and his extravagant gambling lifestyle. However, neither Jin nor Ma has been charged with any criminal offense to date.
"Money laundering is suspected in circumstances where a person with access to multiple identities engages in large buy-ins and cash-outs of chips on a regular basis," explained Dixon, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. He added, "Such conduct creates a huge turnover figure, but on each occasion of a buy-in and cash-out, that money can actually be exchanged with other sources of money, permitting laundering. The cash being used for buy-in may be tainted, while the cash obtained on a cash-out creates an apparently legitimate source for money.”
The house in California was bought by the couple in 2009 at $1.7 million. According to the documents, the property was purchased using the funds from the joint account of Jin and Ma in the Bank of America. The funds were discovered to have been transferred by Crown Casino. Later on, the said investment property was placed under the name of Ma.
According to The Age, the house is located in the San Francisco Bay Area. It has four bedrooms as well as three bathrooms. In terms of design, the property features granite counters. It also has cathedral ceilings.
In her petition, Ma pointed out that the AFP has initiated the investigation based on unspecified intelligence. She alleged that the agency acquired the information from the IRS, but they had not provided the details on how they believe she and her husband laundered the funds.