Tourists failed to declare $80,000 in casino winnings


Tribune Staff Reporter


TWO tourists who failed to declare nearly $80,000 worth of casino winnings to American airport border officials were yesterday fined $1,500.

Travis Vaujin, 28, and Joshua Casabona, 26, were arrested on January 16 after they made a false declaration to a US officer and failed to declare they were trying to carry over $10,000 into American territory.

The Florida and Arizona natives admitted to the offences during a hearing before Magistrate Samuel McKinney.

The court was told that the accused entered Lynden Pindling International Airport’s pre-clearance area at 12.23pm on the day of their arrests. When a US border patrol officer asked them how much money they had in their custody, they both said they had under $10,000. The prosecution said at the time, Vaujin and Casabona both claimed they were carrying less than $5,000 each.

However, after US officials noticed the men were acting suspiciously, they conducted a secondary check. It was at this time they discovered both accused had a collective sum of $79,343 on them. The court was told Vaujin was carrying $30,000 worth of casino winnings, while Casabona was carrying $40,000 worth of prize money in addition to some $9,000 of his personal cash. Both men were subsequently arrested and taken to the Financial Crimes Investigation Unit. In an interview with officers there, Casabona said all the money belonged to him and he got it from gambling at a casino at Baha Mar. He also said he gave Vaujin $30,000 to “keep” for him.

During the hearing both men were represented by attorney Ian Cargill. He told the magistrate Casabona was a sports consultant, while Vaujin was a marketing agent. He said Vaujin entered the country with $20,000 but lost $10,000 at the casino. He also said Casabona came to the country with the same amount of money, but won some $50,000 from gambling. He noted that both men were frequent visitors who travelled to the country to gamble. He also asked the magistrate to let them go with a warning since they had already been detained for two days.

After listening to his plea in mitigation, McKinney fined Vaujin $1,000 or three months in prison. He also fined Casabona $500 or one month behind bars.

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