Twin River Casino Exec Charged with Bribery in Scheme to Steer Contracts to Vendor
A senior executive of Twin River Worldwide Holdings, a casino vendor and his business associate were indicted Tuesday on 30 different counts over an alleged long-running fraudulent scheme that involved kickbacks and bribery in the casino operator’s vending businesses.
Twin River operates casinos in Lincoln and Tiverton on behalf of the State of Rhode Island.
On Tuesday, State Attorney General Peter Neronha said that a grand jury has returned an indictment with 30 counts. Michael Barlow, a now former Senior Vice President of Operations at Twin River, vendor Yehuda Amar and a business associate of his, Jill Feldman, face charges.
Mr. Barlow joined Twin River in 2006 as Vice President of the company’s food and beverage department. At about that time he met and recruited Mr. Amar to manage an ice cream shop in the casino’s food court. The shop operated for more than a decade.
Over the course of that decade, Mr. Amar allegedly made payments to the Twin River exec as a reward for his cooperation in securing a number of subleases with casino food court vendors and other related business contracts.
Mr. Barlow was later promoted to Senior Vice President of Operations at the casino company. According to the grand jury’s indictment, his cooperation with Mr. Amar went on even after Twin River denied a request by Mr. Barlow that his accomplice in the long-running scheme be allowed to renew an existing lease and sublease in the fall of 2013.
Although the request was denied, Mr. Barlow was discovered to have told the owner of the business in question that she had to renew her lease with Mr. Amar.
Casino Executive Used Company Position to Get Debt Relief
It also emerged that Mr. Barlow and Mr. Amar had partnered to buy residential and commercial properties in New London. That partnership started in 2012. As a result from it, Mr. Barlow went into debt of around $340,000 to his accomplice.
According to the indictment, Mr. Barlow used his position in Twin River to secure vendors and business contracts that benefited Mr. Amar. In exchange, Mr. Barlow had his debt relieved.
It was also discovered that in 2008, Mr. Amar and his associate Jill Feldman incorporated Shai RI Inc. The firm and its principals received income from various subleases. However, Mr. Amar and his business partner failed to file corporate tax returns in Rhode Island between 2016 and 2018.
They also failed to report business income, filed fraudulent personal income tax returns, and failed to file corporate tax returns with Rhode Island over the same period.
Attorney General Neronha said Tuesday that the crimes committed by the three individuals “not only harm legitimate business owners, but hurt the business climate in our state.”
Mr. Barlow, Mr. Amar and his business associate face multiple counts of bribery, obtaining property under false pretenses, conspiracy to obtain property under false pretenses, casino gaming crimes, failure to file corporate tax and personal income tax return, and filing a fraudulent income tax return.
Mr. Barlow and Mr. Amar pleaded not guilty at their arraignment on Tuesday. Twin River Management Group spokeswoman Patti Doyle said Tuesday that the group has fully cooperated with the investigation and that the Twin River employee “involved in this non-gaming matter” is no longer employed at the casino operator.
Source: Casino executive, vendor indicted in alleged kickback scheme, Boston Herald