LOS ANGELES, California (KOLO) – Former MGM Grand President Scott Sibella has pleaded guilty to violations of the Bank Secrecy Act.
Sibella entered into the plea Wednesday afternoon for failing to file reports of suspicious transactions his casino was required to make under federal law.
Sibella was President of MGM Grand from around August 2017 to February 2019.
According to his plea agreement, Sibella knew that a casino patron, Wayne Nix, ran and operated an illegal bookmaking business. Despite this knowledge, Sibella allowed Nix to gamble at MGM Grand and affiliated properties with illicit proceeds that were generated from the illegal gambling business without notifying the casino’s compliance department.
His plea agreement also says Sibella allowed Nix to receive complimentary benefits at the casino, such as meals, room, board, and golf trips with senior executives and other wealthy customers of the casino as a means of encouraging Nix to patronize the casino and MGM Grand’s affiliated properties.
The Department of Justice says that, despite being trained and having knowledge of his duties, Sibella failed to report to MGM compliance personnel that Nix was an illegal sports bookmaker.
Because of this, MGM Grand failed to file at least one suspicious activity report regarding Nix’s source of funds in relation to cash payments made by Nix to MGM Grand.
Court documents show that Sibella admitted to law enforcement in 2022 that he believed Nix was involved in illegal sports bookmaking, but that he “didn’t want to know because of my position,” He also told law enforcement: “If we know, we can’t allow them to gamble….I didn’t ask, I didn’t want to know because he wasn’t doing anything to cheat the casino.”
Sibella will be sentenced on May 8 and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
Nix pleaded guilty in April 2022 to one count of conspiracy to operate an illegal gambling business and one count of subscribing to a false tax return. He will be sentenced on March 6.
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