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 searching for asylum within the eastern Canadian province.

Canadian priest Amer Saka gambled away a lot more than $380,000 in funds raised that were supposed to be utilized to aid Iraq refugees. No charges were 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 all the money, which had been collected through parishioner donations. The Chaldean Church is headquartered in Baghdad, Iraq, and dates back to the 1st century, though Saka’s parish in London, Ontario was created 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 were utilized for that function,’ Shaleta told the Toronto Star. ‘He called me . . . and said he destroyed all the money.’

Unholy Happenings

The roughly $386,000 was deposited into an account entrusted to Saka by families belonging to St. Joseph’s. The finances were allowed to be safeguarded by the church and utilized to assist refugees that are incoming Iraq.

The Chaldean refugee sponsorship program requires donors to aid migrants for at the least one after they arrive in Canada year.

‘They would not offer this money as a donation for their church,’ Shaleta said. ‘They trusted him, this money wasn’t for him. It would be to get back again to the refugees [once they arrived right here].’

It’s unclear what Saka’s game of choice was at the casino, or which location or venues he frequented.

Regardless, it’s just one more black eye on the Catholic Church, as the religion is still coping with persistent claims of intimate abuse within its company. Just 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 more than a period that is 40-year.

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

Are Church Donations Secure?

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

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

The charity that is CCBC will reportedly be distributed to Syrian refugees seeking safety in the Middle East and components of Europe. What kind of safeguards have actually been set up, if any, to guard the donations and also make yes they reach refugees is unclear.

With regard to the donors and refugees, we can 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 take part in gambling activities, particularly with parishioner monies, but to reinforce that idea, Shaleta explained that ‘it’s against the rules’ of the 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 1 day expand to an actual land-based casino in the District, in case a group funded by the anonymous firm in Delaware get its means.

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

A group referred to as the Citizens Committee in Support of the Limited Gaming Initiative of 2016 is wanting to place a referendum on the ballot this November in the District of Columbia, asking area voters to decide whether casino-style gambling should be legalized in the downtown area.

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

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

‘It’s about job training, real jobs, new revenue for the city, and an elevated, regulated video gaming experience for visitors,’ Jerrels told WAMU 88.5, the first 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 seems fine on paper. However, the truth is that few sightseers venture over 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 the city’s poorest, and house to an abundance of crime and drug activity.

Based on data compiled from the United States Census Bureau and FBI Uniform Crime Reports, Anacostia features a 207 percent higher crime price than the average that is national and a resident for the area includes a one in 11 possibility of becoming a victim of a nasty crime.

Neighborhood residents additionally do not appear too thrilled about bringing casino gambling to your community.

‘It just generally seems to me personally that an intersection that has name that is such nearly as good Hope and MLK . . . [it does not make sense] that you would decimate that boulevard with some gambling facility,’ Anacostia Economic Development Corporation President Stanley Jackson stated.

Numerous Obstacles to conquer

Numerous hurdles stand in Jerrels’ course before he can bring their proposition to ballot.

First, the D.C. Board of Elections must accept the initiative during a hearing planned for might 4. if the board do therefore, Jerrels would then need to collect still 25,000 signatures to place the initiative on the ballot.

Another problem standing in their way lies with the background of their reported backer that is financial 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 same Anacostia location, but that measure failed.

Scott features a checkered past when it comes to your gaming industry, though. He’s been rejected licenses in several states, and had been 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, it could be a compelling selling point that as long as video gaming is coming towards the area anyway, it might create sense to keep those profits within town limits.

But the price of bringing gambling towards the city does not, at the minute, have widespread help. Gambling the conventional way has been illegal into the country’s capital for many years, and it doesn’t appear that’ll be changing anytime soon.

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

Golfer Phil Mickelson refuses to comment about any involvement that is potential 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 fees of money laundering in A los angeles court. However now Silveriera, who had formerly plead guilty towards the costs, wants to improve his plea not to.

The 56-year-old former activities handicapper from La Quinta, California year that is last to three charges of laundering almost $3 million between an ‘unnamed gambling client,’ who was later identified by ESPN as Mickelson, as well as an illegal offshore sports book.

Mickelson, who is known to have a fondness for gambling, is perhaps not named in documents or accused of any criminal activity.

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


Based on ESPN’s Outside the Lines (OTL), a show that focuses on American sports dilemmas ‘both on / off the field,’ an early on version of Silveira’s plea agreement contained a reference to ‘money laundering of funds from P.M.’ When OTL inquired in regards to the initials, the prosecution had the document stricken from the records, filing an amended variation the next day.

But now Silveira wants to withdraw his guilty plea, claiming that he was simply seeking to guard ‘an person who did not wish his wagering activity to become public.’ The ex-handicapper claims he had been offered advice that is bad his previous defense lawyer.

Court documents filed Tuesday 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 the funds constituted money laundering. These suggestions was incorrect.’

Duff adds within the court filing that the money was not ‘tainted’ and that Silveira had been simply paying down a friend’s ‘gambling debt with legitimately earned money.’

No (Sensical) Comment

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

‘People are likely to say things good; they’re going to state things bad; they’re going to state things real; they’re going to state things perhaps not true,’ he said. ‘The fact is, I’m comfortable enough with whom I will be as someone that I don’t feel like i want to comment on every little report that comes out.’

Mickelson is famously known for wagering 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.

More recently, in January, he chastised 17-year-old pro that is australian 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 he would win the game, but Mickelson lost by one shot. a disgruntled mickelson later said that the sum had been exaggerated.

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

The Desert Diamond West Valley Casino launched to less-than-stellar reviews last December, but that should change after the Arizona tribe managing the Glendale facility won its lawsuit against their state to offer 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 integrate slot machines 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 operate its Desert Diamond West Valley Casino and Resort in Glendale, Arizona.

State lawmakers and the two opposing tribes argued that Tohono doesn’t always have the right that is legal operate a casino on land that wasn’t under their ownership whenever Indian community reached its video 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 ( table card games and slot machines) in the ‘Indian Lands’ of the Nation.’

Decision Great 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 due to their self-interests that are own as the two tribes run casinos into the Phoenix areas of Chandler and Scottsdale.

After court that is numerous, the Tohono Nation was permitted to progress with its Glendale resort.

Up to now, the West Valley location has just been allowed to offer Class II games. The classification is defined by the Arizona Department of Gaming as being ‘limited to games or gambling devices in line with the game of bingo, and games in which players play just against each other, and the homely house cannot win.’

The lack of slots as well as other popular commercial casino games has resulted in the West Valley Casino being panned by site visitors. Bringing Class III variants to your casino floor should rejuvenate interest in the center, and, in turn, produce more substantial revenues.

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