Somebody wanted this story to go away. The link to the courthouse docket on this case, as well as the link to the story have been removed. Here is the original article in it's entirety.
Here is the Broward county case number for your further review - CACE98019332
Search Here: https://www.browardclerk.org/Web2/CaseSearch/
Seminole Indian Casino, Tampa & Monte Carlo, Accused Of Customer Cheating
By JEFF TESTERMA
TAMPA -- Authorities this week raided a casino boat run by the managers of Tampa's Seminole Indian Casino and said the vessel's operators violated state gambling laws and engaged in flagrant cheating of its customers.
After a nine-month undercover operation, investigators from the Florida Attorney General's Office and the Broward County Sheriff's Office boarded the Monte Carlo in Pompano Beach and seized slot machines, gambling paraphernalia and $152,340 in cash.
Attorney General Robert Butterworth filed a civil complaint seeking forfeiture of the equipment and the cash. The operators face possible forfeiture of the vessel, millions of dollars in fines and potential criminal prosecution, said Assistant Attorney General Cece Dykas.
Named as defendants in Butterworth's complaint were:
James R. Clare, chief executive officer of Pan American & Associates, the company that runs the Seminole Indian Casino in Tampa and the Seminole Tribe's casino in Immokalee.
Buddy J. Levy, Pan American's general counsel.
Neal Gellert and Joe Lopez, associates with Clare and Levy in Coastal Gaming Group Inc., a cruise ship gambling company also listed as a defendant.
Boca Casino Cruises Inc. and its principals, Joseph R. Polidore and Glenn G. Kolk.
Broward Sheriff Ken Jenne said the Monte Carlo violated state laws by permitting gambling by patrons within Florida's territorial waters, or within 3 miles of the coast. Also accused of that and illegal sports bookmaking were five other South Florida other gambling ships: the SunCruz I, SunCruz VI, SunCruz VII, New SeaEscape and Palm Beach Princess.
But only the Monte Carlo was accused of fleecing patrons when winnings were paid out and of cheating passengers at card games.
"Especially in the case of the Monte Carlo, there was a rip-off going on," Jenne said.
Undercover gambling experts aboard the Monte Carlo turned up evidence that dealers shortchanged gamblers collecting winnings and withheld "high count" cards from the decks in some card games, said Jenne spokeswoman Cheryl Stopnick.
"It's a little hard to get blackjack when the face cards and aces are missing," Stopnick said.
The allegations of cheating could result in the filing of an unfair and deceptive trade practice complaint by Butterworth or the filing of criminal charges by Broward state prosecutors, who were asked to review investigative findings concerning the Monte Carlo.
Because a criminal record is sufficient for the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) to disqualify someone as manager of an Indian casino, prosecution for acts aboard the Monte Carlo could affect the management of the Seminole casinos in Tampa and Immokalee.
"The NIGC is tasked with approving casino managers," said Assistant Attorney General John Glogau, "and I'd assume if the civil forfeiture case blossoms into criminal action, as these things often do, the NIGC would be interested to know the people running the Tampa Indian casino are running an illegal gambling operation elsewhere."
The U.S. Justice Department already maintains that illegal gambling is occurring at the Seminole casinos in Tampa, Immokalee, Hollywood and Brighton through hundreds of video slot machines. In a civil complaint filed 15 months ago, U.S. Attorney Charles Wilson asked a federal judge to order the lucrative slot machines removed. The case is still pending, even as the tribe has added dozens of slot machines at its Tampa facility.
Clare, who has managed the Seminole Tribe's Tampa casino since it opened in 1982, declined to comment about the Monte Carlo. Levy could not be reached for comment.
Coastal gaming principal Neal Gellert also could not be reached for comment. Maryland State Police investigated but never charged Gellert in 1989 after receiving information that he was involved in a scheme to siphon money from several charitable organizations running Las Vegas casino nights.
Seminole Tribal attorney Jim Shore said Wednesday the tribe has invested twice in Coastal Gaming, but could not estimate the size of the tribe's stake. Shore also was unable to say what action tribal officials might take as a result of the investigation of the Monte Carlo.
Asked if he knew if cheating might be going on in the tribe's casinos, Shore replied, "I hope not."