HOUSTON – Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg joined Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo to announce the arrest of 22 people accused with money laundering tied to illegal gambling.
The arrests were part of a joint investigation unveiled Wednesday morning.
According to the D.A., those arrested included two now-former Houston Police officers who have been charged this week. The year-long investigation looked into illegal gambling and organized criminal activity in the Chinatown area, officials said.
More than $2.3 million in illegal proceeds was also seized.
“While still on the force, Larry Nguyen and Huy Ly allegedly financed a Lamborghini, a Lexus and other luxury items at the behest of a gambling-hall owner who wanted to be able to spend his money without drawing attention from authorities,” stated a press release from the county.
Nguyen and Ly resigned from HPD when confronted with the allegations. They face five years to life if convicted.
“Organized crime groups care more about money than anything else, and we took millions of dollars from them,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said. “They were in business to make money, and these former officers are charged with helping them spend their illegal proceeds by making dirty money look clean.”
Other people charged include owners and employees of game rooms mostly located in shopping centers along Bellaire Boulevard in the Chinatown area.
Nguyen and Ly quit the police force in Feb. of 2018 when confronted with allegations of acting as “straw purchasers” for Tim Vo, the owner of the Memory Café. They allegedly bought cars, appliances, furniture, and other pricey items on Vo’s behalf so that his spending would not attract the attention of law enforcement.
Ly financed a white 2016 Lamborghini Huracan through the Houston Police Federal Credit Union.
Ly made a $60,000 down payment on the sports car and financed the remaining $150,000 through $2,600 per month payments to the credit union. Nguyen bought a 2017 Lexus GX 460 for Vo. Nguyen made a down payment of about $15,000 and financed the remaining $43,000 through Bank of America.
Former Houston Police Officers charged:
Charge: Money Laundering (Mar. 27, 2018)
Locations/ others charged:
Memory Café, 12168 Bellaire Blvd #388
Other persons charged:
Thien Hoai Vo, also known as “Tim Vo” (owner)
Nga Ngoc Nguyen
Charge: Money Laundering (Feb. 2018)
Assets: Approx. $1.9 million; Mercedes-Benz, Lamborghini, Porsche
Super Lucky Game, 12313 Bellaire Blvd Suite B
Tan Van Ho (owner)
Tuyet-Xuan Thi Ho (owner)
Tuan Ngoc Van Do
Steven Sech Vong
Tan Sech Vong
Lai Minh Lam
Charge: Engaging in Organized Crime, Gambling Promotion (Nov. 2017)
Assets: Approx. $286,000
T1 Game Room, 9888 Bellaire Suite 128;
T7 Game Room Double Jackpot, 9889 Bellaire Suite D232
JC Game Room, 6938 Wilcrest Suite D
Residential home, 9519 Stroud
Yi Fu Yang (owner)
Hong Zhang (owner)
Wen Wu Liu (owner)
Mei Hsiang Conley
Charge: Money laundering (May and June 2017)
Assets: Approx. $193,000, Cadillac Escalade