Sacramento, CA (STL.News) Orel Gohar, 30, formerly of San Francisco, pleaded guilty Tuesday to conducting an illegal gambling business, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and failure to appear, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
According to court documents, Gohar participated in operating an organization that installed and maintained illegal video slot machines at businesses open to the public across Northern California. Gohar also participated in two different conspiracies to launder the proceeds of the lucrative gambling business through co-defendants’ other businesses. In total, Gohar participated in laundering at least $650,000.
Court documents also detail Gohar’s escape from the United States by charter jet through Mexico, France, and Israel. Gohar was first arrested on Dec. 8, 2017, in connection with his initial charges and granted pretrial release. On Jan. 8, 2018, he failed to appear in federal court for a hearing, and he remained a fugitive for nearly two years until his arrest in Israel in December 2019.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and California Department of Justice – Bureau of Gambling Control. Assistance was provided by the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs and Israeli authorities. Assistant U.S. Attorney Miriam R. Hinman is prosecuting the case.
Co-defendant Eran Buhbut, 35, of Oakland, has also pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing. The remaining co-defendants have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced.
Gohar is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge John A. Mendez on March 2, 2021. Gohar faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison for the illegal gambling offense, 20 years in prison for each of the money laundering conspiracies, and five years in prison for the failure to appear (to be served consecutively to the other sentences imposed). The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.