Ex-Las Vegas casino exec Sibella receives probation in illegal-bookie case

Home » Ex-Las Vegas casino exec Sibella receives probation in illegal-bookie case

Former MGM Grand President Scott Sibella was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay a fine Wednesday afternoon in a Los Angeles courtroom for a single violation of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) in connection with a federal investigation of illegal bookmaker Wayne Nix.

Sibella, who pleaded guilty Jan. 24 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California before Judge Dolly M. Gee, was assessed a $9,500 fine. In its recently unsealed sentencing position, the prosecution team, led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Mitchell, did not oppose the probation and fine amounts.

In a statement following the sentencing hearing, Sibella said, “I’m relieved to have this matter concluded and accept the terms imposed today by the court. As I have said throughout this investigation, I regret the pain this has caused my friends and family and am extremely grateful for those who chose to stand with me throughout these difficult times.

“The decision to plead to the single charge, failing to file a suspicious activity report (SAR) at MGM Resorts in 2017, was not easily arrived at, given the underlying facts and realities in this matter.  I was charged from the very beginning for not filing an SAR, accepted a plea, and have taken full and complete responsibility for what I did. I want to reiterate that by, anything alleged, I gained no benefit — neither personal, professional, nor financial.”

In a group statement from Sibella’s defense team, they reiterated their client’s acceptance of responsibility for the crime, but added that he “is prepared to move forward with his life. Contrary to published reports, Mr. Sibella never used a betting account and never made any illegal bets. In addition, Mr. Sibella had no involvement in the bookmaking activities of Mathew Bowyer and nothing whatsoever to do with Ippei Mizuhara, the former interpreter for Shohei Ohtani.”

In pleading guilty, Sibella admitted that he had “heard that Nix was in the booking business” and he “couldn’t figure out how he had all the money he gambled with.” He later admitted, “I didn’t want to know because of my position. … In this business, they [bookies] are a dime a dozen. … I stay out of it. If we know, we can’t allow them to gamble. … I didn’t ask. I didn’t want to know, I guess, because he wasn’t doing anything to cheat the casino.”

As part of his appeal to the court for leniency, Sibella through his attorneys presented supporting letters attesting to his good character from Clark County Sheriff Kevin McMahill, former MGM Chief Financial Officer William Boasberg, and tech venture-capital-firm founder Ben Horowitz.

McMahill wrote, in part, about what he described as a seven-year friendship with Sibella. “For as long as I’ve known him, he has displayed unwavering support for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. … Every interaction and experience with Scott has been nothing short of exceptional. What he is accused of is out of character and doesn’t represent the person I’ve come to know.”

In calling for leniency, Boasberg wrote that he’s known Sibella since 2007 and considered him “a friend, co-worker, and mentor.”

“In the 17 years I’ve known Scott, I would describe him to be extraordinarily hard working, a family man, a friend, and an honest dynamic leader with high integrity,” he wrote. “When I worked directly for Scott from 2007 to 2010, I can tell you that he was a person of great character. … I think a man of Scott’s immense talents can be beneficial to so many worthwhile causes in Las Vegas and beyond and that leniency is appropriate in this case.”

In a recently unsealed sentencing memorandum filed by Sibella’s defense team, attorneys Jeffrey Rutherford, John Spilotro, and Michael Artan argue that probation of no more than one year is “just punishment.”

“Given Mr. Sibella’s conduct, the applicable guidelines, his acceptance of responsibility, personal history and characteristics, low risk of recidivism, significant collateral consequences, and otherwise law-abiding life, a probationary sentence of no more than one year is appropriate,” they wrote. “This reflects the seriousness of his offense, while also promoting respect for the law and providing just punishment.”

The defense team also pointed to the significant media attention the case is receiving in Las Vegas, calling it unsurprising. “While his friends and family have rallied around him, as evidenced by his many letters of support, Mr. Sibella has nevertheless suffered a tremendous blow to his reputation, which was excellent and unblemished before the conduct underlying this matter. He has endured great personal shame for the conduct that provided no benefit to him, financially or otherwise.”

As the Nix investigation progressed, Sibella was terminated from his position as president and CEO of Resorts World Las Vegas. In the wake of the controversy, the Nevada Gaming Control Board has opened an investigation into the case.

The fallout from the Nix case being conducted by agents from IRS Criminal Investigation and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations continues, with multiple links to the Las Vegas casino community explored at the federal and state levels.

In association with the Nix investigation, MGM Grand and the Cosmopolitan agreed to pay a combined fine of $7.45 million to settle a related federal money laundering probe. “Under the BSA, casinos like MGM Grand and the Cosmopolitan are required to implement and maintain programs designed to prevent criminals from using casinos to launder the large sums of cash that illegal activity can generate,” prosecutors stated in January.

Recent Comments

No comments to show.

Gambling News

100% match bonus based on first deposit of £/$/€20+. Additional bonuses.

T&Cs Apply

New players only. Welcome Bonus - 100% bonus on your first deposit up to €/$/£200 Unless otherwise stated. This bonus only applies for deposits of €/$/£10 or higher! All you need to do is just deposit the money in your website.com account and you will receive this bonus instantly!

*New users only

casinosingaporesite.com is an independent source of information about online casinos and online casino games, not controlled by any gambling operator. All our reviews and guides are created honestly, according to the best knowledge and judgement of the members of our independent expert team; however, they are intended for informative purposes only and should not be construed as, nor relied upon as, legal advice. You should always make sure that you meet all regulatory requirements before playing in any selected casino. Copyright ©2023