NGC Commissioner Resigns Over Federal InvestigationFebruary 15, 2016 12:59 pm
On Friday, Michonne Ascuaga resigned from her position on the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) as a result of a FinCEN investigation into the family casino she helped to run from 1997 to 2013. According to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), during her time as CEO of the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nevada, the operation failed to adhere to strict anti-money laundering rules that require Currency Transaction Reports (CTR) to be produced for each customer who spends more than $10,000 over a 24-hour period.
Apparently, the Nugget Casino Resort did not record such transactions properly, and now faces possible hefty fines for contravening state and federal laws. The casino’s new owner, Wolfhound Holdings, also faces substantial fines despite the fact it claims to only have learned of the FinCEN investigation on the day prior to purchasing the property. This claim has been disputed by Ascuaga, however, who said that Wolfhound Holdings was told all the information promptly after the Department of Treasury announced its investigation back in November 2013.
“The matter arose from an audit-type examination conducted by the IRS at the casino in 2010. This was all disclosed immediately to the buyer,” explained Ascuaga.
Despite the confusion, Ascuaga said she was not the focus of the investigation, which is the reason she did not inform the Nevada Governor of the situation prior to her appointment to the NGC last April. Nevertheless, Ascuaga still felt compelled to resign her position ahead of her four-year tenure drawing to a close, stating that it was “a distinct honor” to have served on the NGC. Speaking on the issue of her resignation, Governor Brian Sandoval commented:
“Michonne Ascuaga has served the Nevada Gaming Commission well. I admire her and wish to recognize her family’s long history as leaders in the gaming industry. I appreciate that she has put the credibility and reputation of the Gaming Commission first. Michonne is a consummate professional and will continue to be a leader in our community.”