Nevada Gaming Commissioner Michonne Ascuaga resigned her position this week after coming under investigation by the Feds for running afoul of anti-money laundering regulations.

The investigation focuses on Ascuaga’s 16-year tenure as the CEO of the Sparks Nugget in Reno. It’s worth noting that the casino, not Ascuaga, were named in the investigation by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen).

That said, the very existence of an investigation of any kind involving a member of the vaunted Nevada Gaming Commission is enough to trigger a resignation.

According to a report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Feds suspect the Sparks of not complying with anti-money laundering regulations. Again, they didn’t accuse the Sparks of money laundering but of non-compliance.

Ascuaga’s resignation did, however, trigger plenty of questions as to how anyone who would wind up named in an investigation could wind up on the Nevada Gaming Commission? After all, that’s exactly the kind of thing the Gaming Commission is supposed to find in the first place.

In a statement to the Review-Journal, Ascuaga explained why she never shared that information with her colleagues on the Commission saying:

Let me be direct — I did not purposely hold back information from the governor. I did disclose to Governor Sandoval and his staff the pending contractual litigation related to the sale involving the Nugget. I had no reason to believe that the litigation associated with the sale of the Nugget would become so hostile that it would result in this kind of personal smear.

It’s pretty clear that Ascuaga’s troubles are far from being done and this is definitely not the last we’ll be hearing about this story.


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