THE ANGELS – The city of Los Angeles is cracking down on illegal underground nightclubs and casinos.
City Council Attorney Mike Feuer announced Thursday that his office filed 17 criminal charges against three separate companies, two alleged illegal underground nightclubs and an alleged illegal underground casino, all operating within half a mile of Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
According to a statement from Feuer’s office, owners and operators of the underground nightclub located at 800 North El Centro Avenue have been charged with 12 counts, including unlicensed supply of alcohol, live music and an unlicensed dance hall and noise violation.
The Los Angeles Police Department began receiving complaints about the club in August. When officers arrived at the scene to inspect, they noticed a large party with a coverage fee where DJs were playing loud music and alcohol was being sold. Officers broke up the party and arrested several people and confiscated weapons.
In late August, officers responded to a shot fired at the scene. Witnesses reported hearing up to 20 shots; a person was shot several times in the face and on the body.
And in early September, on two separate occasions, LAPD officers returned to the illegal nightclub, broke up large parties, confiscated handguns and arrested several people.
“We claim that the people behind these clubs have put their customers and everyone nearby at risk. It must stop,” Feuer said in a statement online.
The suspected owners and operators of the illegal underground club have been identified as Rami Ben-Moshe, Jason Williams and Khani Rice. Ben-Moshe and Williams are both serving five years in prison and $ 10,000 in fines. Rice risks a year in prison, a maximum of $ 2,000.
The operator of an underground nightclub at 6024 Santa Monica Boulevard, Francesco Conte, has been charged with four counts, including unauthorized supply of alcohol, unlicensed ballroom and noise violation.
Feuer says police observed large parities where patrons were asked to pay an access fee, large amounts of alcohol and drugs were also spotted on the spot. The club was located about 150 meters from Hollywood Elementary School.
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“No Angeleno should be forced to contend with a noisy, unlicensed nightclub next door – especially one that had a shooting and several cannons found on the property.”
Conte risks two years in prison and maximum penalties of $ 4,000.
Meanwhile, the operator of an illegal casino at 5547 Santa Monica Blvd., Brandon Chang, has been charged with a count of illegal land use.
LAPD officers discovered gaming equipment, ammunition and large quantities of hashish. Officers arrested several people who had outstanding warrants and violation of probation.
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