Restaurateur Charged With Money Laundering

CLAYTON, Mo. (CN) – A St. Louis restaurateur is charged with trying to launder thousands of dollars at the River City Casino.
     Michael R. Saracino II, 25, faces a felony charge of money laundering. He was booked and released last week from the St. Louis County Jail, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
     Saracino is a nephew of John Saracino, who has been on the St. Louis County Police Board since 2009.
     Police say Saracino made five cash transactions in two hours at River City, a St. Louis casino, on Oct. 23, 2012. Saracino did very little gambling at the casino and exchanged about $11,000 in cash and casino chips for currency, police said.
     Saracino had $26,870 in cash with him when he was arrested, which he claimed were wages and tips he earned at a local restaurant, according to the Post-Dispatch.
     The Saracino family owns several popular St. Louis-area restaurants, including Bartolino’s South, Bartolino’s Astoria and Chris’ Pancake and Dining.
     Saracino received two years’ supervised probation in December last year for a drunken driving conviction in St. Louis County. He was granted suspended imposition of sentence, which would wipe his record clean if he successfully completes probation.
     Saracino’s attorney said his client will plead not guilty to the new charges. Saracino is scheduled to appear in court on June 10.

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