Two Men Plead Guilty in Connection With Illegal Gambling In California

Written By Play CA Editorial Team on March 31, 2022 - Last Updated on April 1, 2022
illegal gambling

Two Southern California residents plead guilty to running an illegal gambling ring and conspiring to launder money.

Court documents reveal that Yosef Yitzchak Beshari, 29, of North Hollywood, and Efraim Journo, 30, of Los Angeles, operated an illegal gambling business involving video slot machines and the sale of online gambling credits throughout Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Sacramento counties.

Beshari had connections to poker pro

Prosecutors allege Beshari has ties to professional poker player Gal Yifrach, 35, who is charged with operating an illegal gambling business and conspiring to launder money.

Yifrach had made a name for himself during the recent poker renaissance, having earned a Word Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet in 2018 and taking home over $1.5 million in WSOP events.

He is alleged to have been operating an unlicensed online slot machine operation since 2018 while enlisting Beshari and others to clean the dirty money. Prosecutors claim he also traded cash with other people for legitimate casino chips, which he would then exchange for checks from a licensed establishment.

Beshari is one of three co-defendants in Yifrach’s case.

Also charged were Nick Shkolnik, 39, and Shalom Ifrah, 32.

Illegal gambling, money laundering could carry stiff sentences

U.S. District Judge William B. Shubb will sentence Beshari and Journo on June 27. Both face charges of conducting an illegal California gambling business. The charge carries a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

However, Beshari faces a more daunting sentence for the charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering. He’s looking at up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. Any sentencing will be at the court’s discretion.

Cali crackdown

The charges against Beshari, Journo and Yifrach represent an ongoing fight against illegal gambling in California. In 2021, authorities arrested 180 people and shut down 30 illegal casinos operating in and around San Bernadino.

As legal California casinos continue expanding throughout the state, authorities will continue to sniff out illegal gambling operations.

Play CA Editorial Team Avatar
Written by
Play CA Editorial Team

View all posts by Play CA Editorial Team
Privacy Policy