News Whoa! Mayor Nickels’s Son Indicted in Alleged Casino Scam
posted by May 24 at 14:28 PMon
This just in from the AP
SEATTLE - Jacob Dyson Nickels, the son of Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, has been indicted as part of an investigation into a multistate casino-cheating ring that allegedly stole millions of dollars by bribing casino employees to falsely shuffle decks.
Nickels, 25, was a pit boss at the Nooksack Indian Tribe’s Nooksack River Casino in Whatcom County in the summer of 2005 when he accepted $5,000 to introduce one of the ring’s alleged conspirators to crooked dealers, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday at U.S. District Court in Seattle.
Two of the defendants, George Lee and Tien Duc Vu, won more than $90,000 on mini-baccarat that October with the help of Nickels and two dealers, Levi Seth Mayfield and Kasey James McKillip, the indictment said.
Repeated calls to the mayor’s office were not immediately returned Thursday. Jacob Nickels is charged with one count of conspiracy and four counts of theft of funds from a gaming establishment on Indian lands in the five-count indictment.
In all, three indictments were unsealed Thursday — two in Seattle and one in San Diego — naming 24 defendants in an alleged racketeering enterprise dating from March 2002.
Twelve people were named in two indictments in Seattle; seven of them were also indicted in San Diego.
Of the 18 targeted casinos in California, Washington and Indiana, 10 were owned by tribes.
The group used “false shuffle” cheating schemes during blackjack and mini baccarat games, the Justice Department said. The schemes involved bribes to casino supervisors and card dealers and use of blocks of unshuffled cards, the indictments said.
Members of the organization allegedly would signal a card dealer to do a false shuffle and then bet on the known order of the cards, winning more than $850,000 on one occasion.
The indictments also alleged that the ring used hidden transmitters and special software to predict the order in which cards would appear.
The first indictment in Seattle was returned under seal in February 2006 and alleged a scheme to steal more than $1 million from the Emerald Queen Casino near Fife, Wash. The second, returned under seal in March, included Nickels.
The Western Washington defendants will be summoned to appear in federal court for arraignment June 1 and June 7, the U.S. attorney’s office in Seattle said in a news release.
Two other defendants have been arrested in Canada in connection with a related cheating scheme in Ontario, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
And here’s Mayor Nickels’s statement:
Sharon and I have just learned of the charges involving our son Jacob. We will be encouraging him to cooperate fully with the investigation. Until we know more we will have no comment on the substance of these allegations.
We love our son deeply and will be supporting him fully throughout this difficult time.
Some basics on 25-year-old Jacob Nickels: He dropped out of Western Washington University a few years ago after putting in about 5 years there. Then he took the Nooksack River Casino job in Whatcom County. He rose quickly through the ranks, becoming a pit boss.
However, he inexplicably quit and returned home to live with his parents in West Seattle late last year, getting a Starbucks job, I believe.
Jacob’s younger sister, Carey, attends the London School of Economics.