2 HPD officers charged with money laundering in illegal gambling investigation

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Thursday, March 29, 2018
2 HPD officers charged with money laundering in illegal gambling investigation
HPD officers charged with money laundering in illegal gambling investigation.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Harris County District Attorney and the Houston Police Department announced Wednesday that two police officers were among the 22 people arrested in an illegal gambling operation in Chinatown.

Harris County D.A. Kim Ogg said their charges range from money laundering to engaging in organized crime.

Ogg also said that over $2.3 million was seized during the yearlong operation.

The money came from one man's safe. It will be forfeited.

Harris County DA Kim Ogg announces organized crime arrests, including two now former HPD officers

Five gaming establishments, mostly located in shopping centers along Bellaire Boulevard, were involved in the takedown. Ogg said the establishments had 25-60 illegal gambling machines, commonly known as eight-liners.

The district attorney also clarified that the game rooms themselves are not illegal.

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What makes them illegal is when the game room owners pay out amounts over the legal limit.

All of the game rooms in the investigation have been shut down except for one.

Former Houston Police officers Huy Ly, left, and Larry Nguyen

The two officers charged with money laundering in the case are Larry Nguyen and Huy Ly.

The two are accused of financing a Lamborghini, a Lexus and other luxury items on behalf of Memory Cafe owner Tim Vo and his ex-wife, all while they were on the police force.

Ly allegedly financed a white 2016 Lamborghini Huracan through the Houston Police Federal Credit Union.

Ly made a $60,000 down payment on the sports car. The remaining $150,000 was financed through $2,600 per month payments to the credit union.

Nguyen allegedly bought a 2017 GX 460 for Vo. Nguyen made a down payment of about $15,000.

The remaining $43,000 was financed through Bank of America.

Authorities say the owner wanted to be able to spend money without drawing attention.

Nguyen and Ly have resigned. They are in the process of surrendering.

They also face five years to life, if convicted.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo: "When police officers engage in criminal activity they violate the oath of office. We didn't look the other way."

Authorities said Wednesday that these illegal activities in the Chinatown area have negatively affected the community, leading to a series of robberies and violent crimes.

Clerks who work at the establishments and owner/operators are among those charged in the investigation.