Businesswoman’s cooperation with Feds leads to fall of $34M gambling empire that should have benefitted children in medical need

A Guam businesswoman’s guilty pleading and cooperation with federal law enforcement earlier this year led to the indictment of her former business partner, and six people associated with the non-profit organization Guam Shrine Club.

The GSC, or Shriners as they are more commonly known, have for more than a decade been associated with the businessman who was indicted on multiple counts of illegal gambling, money laundering, and conspiracy: Michael Marasigan. The Shriners have touted their supposed bingo operation as a fundraising mechanism to fly children in need of surgery to the Shriners Hospital in Honolulu.

“Only minimal profits went to the GSC,” according to the plea agreement Won Sun Min, the owner of Mijoo Realty and 3W, LLC, states. The plea agreement further states that Ms. Min, Mr. Marasigan, and the officers of GSC “were aware that the GSC received at most 10% of the bingo proceeds.”

According to the indictment against Marasigan and six others connected to the GSC, the conspiracy raised more than $34 million since 2015. Mr. Marasigan allegedly profited the most from the conspiracy; he is accused of pocketing more than $15 million, the majority of which allegedly should have gone to the aid of Guam children in need of medical assistance.

“It was the object of the conspiracy to operate an illegal gambling business under the guise of charitable and civic fundraising to produce income, profits, and revenues for co-conspirators, their associates, and businesses,” the indictment against Ms. Min states.

Won Sun Min

In 2015, Won Sun Min and Michael Marasigan entered into a business relationship in order to lease the old Guam Greyhound Park and to operate a bingo business under the guise of a bingo license issued to non-profit Guam Shrine Club. The members of the club then and through the alleged conspiracy, who allegedly were involved in the conspiracy were Al Guerrero, Art Chan, and Richard Brown. Mr. Chan’s wife, Christine Chan, and two other women: Juanita Capulong, and Minda C. San Nicolas, also were charged in the same federal case by prosecutor Marivic David.

According to both Ms. Min’s indictment, and the indictment against Mr. Marasigan and the other six, on March 12, 2015, the Guam Shrine Club members and Mr. Marasigan, in an executive committee meeting, “falsely represented that [Marasigan] would act as a consultant when the GSC hosted bingo fundraisers, when in fact, as the GSC officers and [Marasigan] well knew that [Marasigan] and others would conduct, finance, manage, supervise, or direct the GSC’s bingo fundraising.”

The GSC officers and Mr. Marasigan began opening a series of bank accounts two months later.

Between May 2016 and July 2017, checks issued by GSC to Ms. Min’s company, 3W, LLC totaled more than $2 million, and were laundered to her.

In July 2017, Ms. Min and Mr. Marasigan had a business dispute. Ms. Min contracted a security company owned by a police officer, and with the help of uniformed officers, had Marasigan and his employees kicked out of the Greyhound facility. Neither Ms. Min nor the officers had any court order or warrant to do so.

According to Mr. Marasigan at the time, the officers and Ms. Min allegedly stole a safe with tens of thousands of dollars, financial documents, and the security system and footage from the facility.

Mr. Marasigan reported the matter to the Guam Police Department, which at the time was run by Joseph “JI” Cruz. Nothing was ever done about the complaint.

A year later, a Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent took interest in the case due to the allegations of police corruption involved. The agent interviewed Mr. Marasigan, and an investigation into Ms. Min began.

[Author’s disclosure: Michael Marasigan was my boyfriend, and did live with me, from 2006 through 2016. I was not involved in his business, and we did not share any bank account. I honestly thought we were poor.]


Min’s cooperation against Marasigan and others

Ms. Min was indicted for the conspiracy first; the grand jury handing down a true bill on July 13, 2022, and Min signing a plea agreement February 6, 2023. The case was sealed immediately, as she cooperated.

In her plea agreement, Ms. Min admitted, among other things, the following:

“Won Sun Min, Marasigan, Leon Guerrero, Chan and Brown were aware that the GSC received at most 10% of the bingo proceeds. This illegal gambling business had been in substantially continuous operation by five or more persons for more than thirty days and had a gross revenue in excess of $2,000 in any single day. As part of the illegal gambling conspiracy, Won Sun Min, Marasigan and others conducted, financed, managed, supervised, and directed the illegal gambling operation and received more than 10% of the bingo proceeds. Won Sun Min … received at least $2,340,000.00 dollars from the gambling activity.”

She agreed to assist federal law enforcement in the prosecution of others. She also has agreed to testify in court against those (unnamed in the plea agreement) people.

She also has agreed to forfeit nearly $1 million in cash assets, which is the amount the U.S. government has been able to tie to the criminal activity of which she was reasonably aware.

She faced up to 55 years in federal prison, had she not pleaded guilty and a jury convicted her of all five counts of the indictment.


Trial against Marasigan and the GSC 6

Michael Marasigan

Mr. Marasigan faces an August trial against the backdrop of public social media posts showing constant first class travel, luxury vehicles, new homes, jewelry, designer bags, and more throughout the period of the conspiracy.

Together with his co-defendants, he has pleaded not guilty to one count of conspiracy to operate illegal gambling business, one count of money laundering conspiracy, and 61 counts of money laundering.

If convicted at trial, they each face up to 1,235 years in federal prison, based on the types of crimes and number of counts for each charged.

The defendants were indicted on June 10, 2023, with the indictment sealed as Mr. Marasigan was in the Philippines at the time, and did not return until later in the month.

A warrant of arrest was issued for him, and he was arrested upon entry back into the United States. He was released a day later, his U.S. and Philippine passports confiscated by United States Marshals, and conditions of release placed on him.

“Between March 2015 to on or about October 22, 2021, defendants Alfredo D. Leon Guerrero, Art Chan, and Richard C. Brown wrote or caused to issue GSC checks, including profit distribution checks, made payable to defendant Michael L. Marasigan, Ideal Ventures, LLC, [Won Sun Min] and [Min’s] business entity,” the indictment states.

Ideal Ventures is owned by Mr. Marasigan.

According to the indictment, Mr. Marasigan and his company received more than $15 million in bingo proceeds between March 2015 and October 22, 2021.

The bingo operation has continued under a different non-profit organization, though allegedly operated by Mr. Marasigan and others, after October 22, 2021 at the old Genghis Khan building in Harmon Industrial Park. Operations stopped, when Typhoon Mawar was approaching Guam. The indictments and arrest occurred in the midst of disaster recovery.

The U.S. government is causing the forfeiture of assets from all seven defendants, though those assets are not specifically named.

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