D.C. man admits operating gambling dens in Chinatown

A 55-year-old District resident has admitted in federal court that he operated lucrative gambling dens in the heart of Chinatown.

Chun Liu pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of money laundering and conducting an illegal gambling business. He faces a prison term of 12 to 18 months under advisory guidelines at his sentencing, which is scheduled for Jan. 24 in the District’s federal court.

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According to court papers, Liu admitted he earned about $600,000 from a series of gambling parlors that he ran with the help of five other people in the 800 block of 6th Street NW and the 500 block of H Street NW. The gambling operations, which typically operated from 9 a.m. tol 3 or 4 a.m., involved touch-screen slot machines and Mahjong tables. Mahjong is a game of chance that originated in China.

Liu used the gambling proceeds to pay rent, make payments on his Mercedes-Benz car and pay utility bills, according to prosecutors with the District’s U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Federal agents seized more than $230,000 in cash when they raided Liu’s operation in September 2011, prosecutors said.

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