Poker Player Faces Serious Criminal Charges
March 6, 2009 (InfoPowa News) — 33-year-old Louisiana bar owner and poker player Eric "Lafayette" Cloutier is in a world of trouble this week, acording to an Associated Press report. Following a nine-month investigation, the former professional ice hockey player faces 505 charges involving tax evasion, fraud and money laundering, and has been arrested by Louisiana Alcohol and Tobacco Control officials.
The offenzes are alleged to have occurred at Marley's Downtown and Karma, both bars in downtown Lafayette, an LATC release indicated.
Cloutier favours PLO and Hold 'Em high limit games and has cashed in nine major poker events, bringing his poker career winnings to over $160,000.
In issues unconnected with his poker playing activities, Cloutier has allegedly laundered as much as $1.4 million through his businesses over a three-year period, and officials claim he has "electronically manipulated" his cash registers to conceal sales transactions. This allowed him to commit tax fraud and money laundering through both businesses by filing false sales and using tax returns with the Department of Revenue.
The LATC press release also claims that Cloutier faces an additional 340 counts of obstruction of justice by the intentional destruction of evidence in an attempt to cover up the crimes after the investigation began. Adding to his woes, the authorities have also uncovered alleged falsehoods in two successful renewal applications for alcohol permits.
The Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office detailed the charges Cloutier faces as follows:
Felony theft over $126,000, two counts.
Attempted felony theft over $28,000, two counts.
Obstruction of justice, 340 counts.
Computer fraud, 67 counts.
Filing false public records, 92 counts.
Money laundering over $1.4 million, one count.
Racketeering, one count.
Bail has been set at $100,000.