Local agencies bet on leaner gambling enforcement

Other cities combine gambling, vice squads
October 7, 2009 (CHICAGO) The I-Team checked with police departments and law enforcement agencies in several major cities and states and found that few have units specializing in gambling investigations.

New York City, despite being the home to five of the nation's Mafia families, does not have a separate city police squad to investigate illegal bookmaking, video poker and illicit casinos. Federal agencies in New York City however have several organized crime squads that focus on the Mafia rackets such as illegal gambling.

In Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and San Francisco gambling investigations are handled by the Vice squad, which is what the Chicago Police Dept. realignment is intended to accomplish.

In Ohio, the Department of Public Safety does have an arm that investigates illegal gambling.

The Los Angeles Police Dept. also directs its illegal gambling investigations through the Vice Division. There are 21 regional vice units that conduct illegal wagering investigations as well.

Without dedicated police gambling units in Chicago and Cook County or at the Illinois State Police, the I-Team asked the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation division (IRS-CID) whether it too will dismantle its gambling squad.

Whether it is illegal gambling, narcotics, corporate fraud, terrorism or tax evasion, IRS CID will be there to follow the money," said Al Patton, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Division. "Income from any source, legal activity or illegal activity, is taxable" Patton said.

Patton told the I-Team that the "primary driving force of any organized criminal enterprises" is money and that "CID follows the money from the crime to the criminal; and in the process we disrupt or completely dismantle these criminal enterprises. In other words, take away the illicit money or profits generated from these organizations and they cease to exist."


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