Canadian Priest Gambles Away $386,000 in Donations Earmarked for Iraqi Refugees

Canadian Priest Gambles Away $386,000 in Donations Earmarked for Iraqi Refugees

A Canadian priest in Ontario has admitted to losing more than CDN$500,000 (US$386,000) in charitable funds that were supposed to help Iraqi refugees seeking asylum within the eastern province that is canadian.

Canadian priest Amer Saka gambled away significantly more than $380,000 in funds raised that were supposed to be used to aid Iraq refugees. No charges happen filed against the Ontario man of the cloth.

Father Amer Saka for the St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church told Bishop Emanuel Shaleta in February he had gambled away most of the money, which had been collected through parishioner donations. The Chaldean Church is headquartered in Baghdad, Iraq, and dates back towards the century that is 1st though Saka’s parish in London, Ontario was launched less than five years ago with Pope Benedict XVI’s blessing.

‘We believe Father Saka has a gambling that is serious and that these funds may have been used for that function,’ Shaleta told the Toronto Star. ‘I was called by hi . . . and said he lost all the money.’

Unholy Happenings

The roughly $386,000 ended up being deposited into an account entrusted to Saka by families belonging to St. Joseph’s. The finances had been supposed to be safeguarded by the church and utilized to assist incoming refugees from Iraq.

The Chaldean refugee sponsorship program requires donors to aid migrants for a minimum of one 12 months after they get to Canada.

‘They failed to give this cash as a contribution due to their church,’ Shaleta stated. ‘They trusted him, this money was not for him. It was to be given back once again to the refugees [once they arrived here].’

It’s unclear what Saka’s game of preference was in the casino, or which venue or venues he frequented.

Regardless, it’s yet another black colored eye on the Catholic Church, once the religion remains working with persistent claims of intimate abuse within its company. Simply this month, a state grand jury in Pennsylvania found that more than 50 priests and religious leaders into the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona sexually abused and raped children over a period that is 40-year.

No charges that are formal been levied on Saka, but an investigation by the London Police Service is ongoing. Saka has since checked to the Southdown Institute, an Ontario addiction and mental health rehabilitation center for clergy members.

Are Church Donations Safe?

While Saka tries to overcome his gambling addiction, parishes across the country might want to take a closer look at their bank accounts, due to the fact St. Joseph incident could be miniscule should additional priests try their hand during the casino with money that’s not theirs.

In February, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCBC) announced a joint campaign with the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, help to the Church in Need Canada, and the Catholic Near East Welfare Association Canada, by which it had raised over $3.5 million.

The CCBC charity funds will apparently be distributed to Syrian refugees seeking safety in the Middle East and parts of Europe. What kind of safeguards have been set up, if any, to protect the donations and work out yes they reach refugees is unclear.

With regard to the donors and refugees, we are able to only pray that the $3.5 million is being better secured than the contributions collected by St. Joseph’s.

It should get without saying that priests aren’t allowed to participate in gambling activities, specially with parishioner monies, but to reinforce that idea, Shaleta explained that ‘it’s up against the rules’ associated with Catholic priesthood.

Washington, D.C. Always a Political Gamble, But Could a casino that is actual to Nation’s Capital?

Washington, D.C., is a powerhouse of intrigue, bluffs, and gambles, but that reality could one day extend to a real casino that is land-based the District, if your group funded by an anonymous firm in Delaware get its way.

Maybe not the many location that is glamorous pull tourists to, but backers of a Washington, D.C., casino are pushing an initiative in hopes of revitalizing the poor and crime-ridden (but historic) Anacostia neighborhood. (Image:

A group called the Citizens Committee meant for the Limited Gaming Initiative of 2016 is trying to place a referendum on the ballot this November in the District of Columbia, asking area voters to determine whether casino-style gambling should be legalized in the downtown area.

Committee Chairperson Berry Jerrels, a longtime Washington activist that is political businessman, wants to spot poker, blackjack, and other card games in the historic region of Anacostia, named for the river located to its eastern.

The location had been originally a stronghold regarding the Nacochtank Indian tribe, whom were pressed out by Colonial settlers as far right back as 1608, whenever Captain John Smith of Pocahontas popularity moved through. Fast-forward 400 years, therefore the wampum that is latest are in the shape of casino chips to improve the area’s coffers and job options.

‘It’s about job training, real jobs, new income for the city, plus an elevated, regulated gaming experience for visitors,’ Jerrels told WAMU 88.5, 1st socket to report on the casino developments. ‘Our objective would be to target the population that is visiting of District.’


Jerrels’ desire to attract and benefit off tourists visiting the capital appears fine in some recoverable format. However, the reality is that few sightseers venture throughout the Anacostia River away from the downtown nationwide Mall area.

A DC-based realtor that is commercial us that the Anacostia neighborhood is certainly one associated with city’s poorest, and home to an abundance of crime and medication activity.

According to data compiled from the US Census Bureau and FBI Uniform Crime Reports, Anacostia features a 207 percent higher crime price than the national average, and a resident of the area has a one in 11 chance of becoming a victim of a crime.

Neighborhood residents additionally don’t appear too thrilled about bringing casino gambling towards the community.

‘It just seems to me personally that an intersection that has name that is such of the same quality Hope and MLK . . . [it doesn’t make sense] that you would decimate that boulevard with some gambling facility,’ Anacostia Economic Development Corporation President Stanley Jackson stated.

Many Obstacles to Overcome

Many hurdles stay in Jerrels’ course before he can bring their proposal to ballot.

First, the D.C. Board of Elections must approve the effort throughout a hearing planned for May 4. if the board do so, Jerrels would then nevertheless need to collect 25,000 signatures to place the initiative on the ballot.

Another problem standing in their way lies with the background of his reported financial backer, US Virgin Islands-based gambling businessman Shawn Scott.

According to filings that are legal by Jerrels, Anacostia Redevelopment, an LLC registered in Delaware, is bankrolling the gaming push. Jerrels and Scott were also in paired up in 2006 to legalize movie slots during the Anacostia that is same location but that measure failed.

Scott features a checkered past when it comes down to your gaming industry, though. He’s been denied licenses in various states, and was slapped with a $600,000 fine for forging signatures in 2004.

This time around might be the MGM National Harbor, which is scheduled to open in the second half of 2016 though Jerrels’ and Scott’s previous attempts failed, one asset for their campaign. Seven miles due south of Anacostia, maybe it’s a compelling attempting to sell point that as long as gaming is coming to your area anyhow, it will make sense to help keep those revenues within town limits.

But the price of bringing gambling to the populous city doesn’t, at the minute, have widespread help. Gambling the way that is old-fashioned been illegal in the nation’s money for many years, and it doesn’t appear which will be changing anytime soon.

Phil Mickelson Gambling Pal Gregory Silveira Withdraws Guilty Plea in Money Laundering Case

Golfer Phil Mickelson declines to comment about any potential involvement in the money laundering case against ex-handicapper Gregory Silveira. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)

Gambler Gregory Silveira, known to have ties to golfer (and gambler) Phil Mickelson, has been facing costs of cash laundering in A los angeles court. Nevertheless now Silveriera, who had previously plead guilty towards the charges, desires to improve his plea never to.

The 56-year-old former recreations handicapper from La Quinta, California this past year admitted to three charges of laundering almost $3 million between an ‘unnamed gambling client,’ who had been later on identified by ESPN as Mickelson, plus an illegal offshore sports guide.

Mickelson, that is proven to have a fondness for gambling, is not named in court documents or accused of any criminal activity.

In March 2010, in accordance with court documents, Silveira received a wire transfer of $2.75 million from the customer into his own bank account. He then transferred $2.475 million, along with the remaining $275,000, into two bank that is separate, both in his name.


In accordance with ESPN’s Outside the Lines (OTL), a show that focuses on American sports dilemmas ‘both on / off the field,’ a youthful version of Silveira’s plea agreement included a guide to ‘money laundering of funds from P.M.’ When OTL inquired concerning the initials, the prosecution had the document stricken through the records, filing an amended version the overnight.

But now Silveira wants to withdraw their guilty plea, claiming that he was just seeking to safeguard ‘an individual who did maybe not wish their wagering activity to become general public.’ The ex-handicapper claims he had been offered advice that is bad his past protection lawyer.

Court documents filed by Silveira’s new attorney, James Duff, stated: ‘Silveira’s original counsel had told him that the money Silveira received from the gambler was ‘tainted’ and that Silveira’s transfer of those funds constituted money laundering tuesday. These tips was incorrect.’

Duff adds in the court filing that the cash had been maybe not ‘tainted’ and that Silveira ended up being just paying off a friend’s ‘gambling financial obligation with legally earned money.’

No (Sensical) Comment

Mickelson, meanwhile, refused (via their counsel) to offer an official statement on the instance, although when confronted on it all about it directly by a journalist at last year’s Scottish Open, he offered the following rather oblique comment.

‘People are planning to say things good; they’re going to say things bad; they’re going to state things real; they go to state things not true,’ he stated. ‘The fact is, I’m comfortable enough with whom I am as an individual that I don’t feel like I need to comment on every little report that comes out.’

Mickelson is famously known for betting large on the Super Bowl, plus in 2001 was reprimanded by the PGA for wagering on the upshot of a padraig harrington shot at the NEC Invitational, in breach of the association’s strict policy that is anti-gambling.

Recently, in January, he chastised 17-year-old Australian pro Ryan Ruffles for publicly disclosing the details of a bet the two had made while sparring on the program. According to Ruffles, Mickelson offered him 2:1 on a $2,500 bet that the game would be won by him, but Mickelson lost by one shot. a disgruntled mickelson later said that the sum was indeed exaggerated.

Arizona Tribe Can Move Forward with Glendale Casino Expansion US that is following appeals Decision

The Desert Diamond West Valley Casino exposed to less-than-stellar reviews last December, but that should change after the Arizona tribe handling the Glendale facility won its lawsuit against their state to provide Class III games. (Image:

An Arizona tribe received the blessing associated with 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals this week to expand its Glendale casino to add Class III gaming and incorporate slots and table games. In a lawsuit between the Tohono O’odham Nation vs. the State of Arizona, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, and Gila River Indian Community, the court ruled on Tuesday that the Tohono tribe has every right to work its Desert Diamond West Valley Casino and Resort in Glendale, Arizona.

State lawmakers and the two opposing tribes argued that Tohono doesn’t have the legal directly to operate a casino on land that wasn’t under their ownership as soon as the Indian community reached its gaming compact with Arizona in 2002.

The 9th Circuit Court rejected the state’s arguments and ruled, ‘The Tohono O’odham Nation’s plan to build a casino and conduct Class III gaming on a certain parcel of land did not violate a gaming compact between the Nation and the State of Arizona in a unanimous decision. The Compact expressly authorizes Class III video gaming ( dining table card games and slots) regarding the ‘Indian Lands’ of the Nation.’

Decision Good for West Valley

Located lower than 20 miles northwest of downtown Phoenix, the Desert Diamond West Valley Casino opened December that is last under scrutiny.

The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian and Gila River Indian communities opposed the resort because of their very own self-interests, as the 2 tribes operate casinos within the Phoenix areas of Chandler and Scottsdale.

Following court that is numerous, the Tohono Nation was permitted to move ahead with its Glendale resort.

To date, the West Valley location has just been allowed to offer Class II games. The category is defined by the Arizona Department of Gaming as being ‘limited to games or gambling devices on the basis of the game of bingo, and games in which players play just against one another, and the homely house cannot win.’

The lack of slots as well as other popular casino that is commercial has generated the West Valley Casino being panned by visitors. Bringing Class III variants to your casino floor should rejuvenate desire for the facility, and, in turn, generate more significant revenues.

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