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 assist Iraqi refugees seeking asylum in the eastern province that is canadian.

Canadian priest Amer Saka gambled away a lot more than $380,000 in funds raised that were allowed to be used to aid Iraq refugees. No charges have now been filed against the Ontario man of the fabric.

Father Amer Saka regarding the St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church told Bishop Emanuel Shaleta in February which 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 1st century, 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 serious gambling problem and that these funds may have already been utilized for that purpose,’ Shaleta told the Toronto Star. ‘I was called by hi . . . and said he destroyed all the money.’

Unholy Happenings

The roughly $386,000 had been deposited into a merchant account entrusted to Saka by families belonging to St. Joseph’s. The finances had been said to be safeguarded by the church and used to assist refugees that are incoming Iraq.

The Chaldean refugee sponsorship program requires donors to guide migrants for at the least one 12 months after they arrive in Canada.

‘They did not offer this cash as a donation for his or her church,’ Shaleta stated. ‘They trusted him, this money was not for him. It was to be given back to the refugees [once they arrived here].’

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

Regardless, it’s still another black eye on the Catholic Church, since the religion continues to be coping with persistent claims of sexual abuse within its organization. Just this month, a state grand jury in Pennsylvania discovered that more than 50 priests and religious leaders into the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona intimately abused and raped children more than a 40-year period.

No formal charges have 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 mental health rehabilitation center for clergy members.

Are Church Donations Safe?

While Saka attempts to overcome their gambling addiction, parishes across the country might want to take a closer look at their bank accounts, since the St. Joseph incident could possibly be miniscule should additional priests try their hand during the casino with money that isn’t theirs.

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

The charity that is CCBC will apparently be distributed to Syrian refugees seeking safety in the Middle East and components of Europe. What type of safeguards have been put in place, if any, to guard the donations and make 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 go without saying that priests aren’t allowed to take part in gambling activities, specially with parishioner monies, but to reinforce that notion, Shaleta explained that ‘it’s up 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 one day expand to an actual casino that is land-based the District, in case a group funded by the anonymous corporation in Delaware get its method.

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

A group referred to as the people 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 determine whether casino-style gambling should be legalized in the downtown area.

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

The location was originally a stronghold associated with Nacochtank Indian tribe, whom were forced out by Colonial settlers as far right back as 1608, whenever Captain John Smith of Pocahontas fame moved through. Fast-forward 400 years, therefore the wampum that is latest could be in the proper execution of casino chips to enhance the area’s coffers and job options.

‘It’s about job training, real jobs, new income for the city, and an elevated, regulated gaming experience for visitors,’ Jerrels told WAMU 88.5, initial outlet to report in the casino developments. ‘Our objective is always to target the population that is visiting of District.’


Jerrels’ desire to attract and benefit off tourists visiting the capital appears fine written down. However, the reality is that few sightseers venture across the Anacostia River away from the downtown National Mall area.

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

In accordance with data compiled from the United States Census Bureau and FBI Uniform Crime Reports, Anacostia includes a 207 percent higher crime price than the national average, and a resident associated with area possesses one in 11 potential for becoming a victim of a nasty crime.

Regional residents also don’t appear too thrilled about bringing casino gambling to the community.

‘It just appears to me that the intersection that has name that is such as Good 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.

Numerous Obstacles to Overcome

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

First, the D.C. Board of Elections must approve the effort throughout a hearing scheduled for might 4. Should 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 back ground of his 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 video slots at the same Anacostia location, but that measure failed.

Scott includes a past that is checkered it comes to your video 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.

Though Jerrels’ and Scott’s past attempts failed, one asset due to their campaign this time around may be the MGM National Harbor, which is planned to start within the 2nd half of 2016. Seven miles due south of Anacostia, it may be a compelling selling point that as long as gaming is coming to your area anyway, it might create sense to keep those profits within town limits.

But the price of bringing gambling to your city does not, during the moment, have actually widespread help. Gambling the way that is old-fashioned been illegal in the nation’s money for decades, and it doesn’t appear that 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 fees of money laundering in A los angeles court. However now Silveriera, who had formerly plead guilty to your charges, wishes to change his plea to not.

The 56-year-old former recreations 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 on identified by ESPN as Mickelson, as well as an illegal offshore sports book.

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

In March 2010, according to court documents, Silveira received a wire transfer of $2.75 million from the 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 issues ‘both on / off the field,’ an early on version of Silveira’s plea agreement included a guide to ‘money laundering of funds from P.M.’ When OTL inquired about the initials, the prosecution had the document stricken through the records, filing an amended version the day that is next.

But now Silveira desires to withdraw their guilty plea, claiming that he was simply seeking to guard ‘an person who did not wish their wagering activity to become general public.’ The ex-handicapper claims he had been offered bad advice by his past defense 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. This advice was incorrect.’

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

No (Sensical) Comment

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

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

Mickelson is famously known for gambling large on the Super Bowl, and 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 he would win the game, 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 Following US Appeals Court Decision

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

An Arizona tribe received the blessing for the US that is 9th Circuit of Appeals this week to expand its Glendale casino to include Class III gaming and merge slots and table games. In a lawsuit between the Tohono O’odham country 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 once the Indian community reached its gaming compact with Arizona in 2002.

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

Decision Best For West Valley

Located less 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 self-interests that are own as the two tribes operate gambling enterprises within the Phoenix aspects of Chandler and Scottsdale.

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

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

The lack of slots and other popular commercial casino games has generated the West Valley Casino being panned by site visitors. Bringing Class III variants to the casino floor should revitalize curiosity about the facility, and, in turn, generate more revenues that are substantial.

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