So Called ‘Poker Princess’ Indicted in High Stakes Gambling Case
There’s another almost unbelievable twist in the story we brought you earlier this week about a New York art dealer being arrested in a gambling ring bust that also involves a high-ranking member of the Russian mob. We mentioned that while the many of the thirty people arrested this week in connection with the case were in New York, however there were others involved in the criminal organization based in other cities, such as Philadelphia and Miami.
It turns out that one woman arrested is a Los Angeles woman who has been dubbed the ‘Poker Princess’ for arranging high stakes poker games that attracted notable celebrities like Macauley Culkin, Toby Maguire, Matt Damon, Alex Rodriguez, Leonardo DiCaprio, and other famous names.
Molly Bloom a 34-year-old who is the sister of Jeremy Bloom, an Olympic skier who has thrice been a World Champion, is said to have hosted the games since 2010, arranging the locations and hiring dealers. Sometimes the poker games were held at the homes of the A-list celebrities who participated, and sometimes they took place in luxurious hotels.
Bloom, who has also been dubbed the ‘Poker Madam’, is facing ten years in prison for her role in the gambling organization, which authorities say operated both domestically and overseas. The indictments allege that tens of millions of dollars of illegal gambling proceeds generated by the ring’s sports-betting, poker games, and other high stakes gambling operations were laundered in Cypress. According to authorities, this money eventually made its way to the United States.
Speaking outside a California courthouse, Bloom’s attorney Dana Cole said on Tuesday, “Molly has been waiting for a long time for the other shoe to drop.”
“She has no intention of minimizing the case against her, but hopefully, prosecutors understand that even some of our Supreme Court justices enjoy a weekly poker game,” Cole added.
Also arrested in the bust was Hillel “Helly” Nahmad, the above-mentioned wealthy art dealer. His gallery in the historic Carlyle Hotel on New York’s Upper East Side remained closed this week, with a sign stating that it was under renovation. The Russian mobster named in the indictment is 64-year-old Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, a man with powerful ties to Russian politics, criminal enterprise, and elite businessmen who was once named one of the ten most wanted fugitives in the world. He has previously been indicted in the United States for attempting to fix ice skating events at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The full text of the indictment can be found here.
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