Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 24, 2021– Government Misconduct Investigations Corp. announced that on May 21, 2021, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, rendered a disturbing ruling binding on Pennsylvania courts that enterprises defending so-called equitable claims cannot inquire or mention the criminal source of the funds. Superior Court judges Victor P. Stabile, Megan McCarthy King, and Jacqueline O. Shogan held, “[U-Lock] alleged that the funds [Christine Biros] used to pay for the property were derived from illicit gambling activity… . Whatever the source of [Biros’] funds, she pled and proved that she paid for the Property expecting repayment… .” The court concluded, “[T]he source of [Biros’] funds has no obvious bearing on the equities of the parties to this case.” The ruling ignored several clear money laundering red flags that they themselves mentioned including over $300,000 changing hands with parties that “never agreed to the terms of repayment” and that Biros provided the large amount of funds “at the behest of her brother.” The appeals court created the new rule in Christine Biros v. U-Lock, Case 1841 WD 2019, and made it precedental, forcing all county courts in Pennsylvania to follow it. The decision can be found here: https://www.tinyurl.com/biros
The decision of Pennsylvania Superior Court Judges Stabile, King, and Shogan now makes it impossible, where criminal funds were used to make loans and investments, to raise the issue in Pennsylvania civil court proceedings. “This shocking rule encourages launderers to make loans without terms, keep their investment secret, and then use the courts to quietly nab properties even without any bona fide contract of any kind,” said Angel Corea, Director of Government Misconduct Investigations Corp. “Pennsylvania courts now have to transfer properties based on unsecured loans with tainted money even with no terms agreed upon,” Corea continued.
The background of the alleged illicit nature of the funds derives from Pennsylvania Attorney General, Josh Shapiro’s announcement on July 26, 2018 that it shut down a large scale gambling operation involving Christine Biros. Shapiro stated, “[W]e’ve ended an illegal video gambling operation run by one family for over three decades. The [Biros Family] raked in millions of dollars in illegal profits, draining money from Pennsylvanians – and from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. These video poker machines – with the lure of the cash payout – are illegal gambling devices.” Shapiro further stated, “The family was trying to shield Christine Biros from the illegal operation because she was the public face of their attempted investment[s.]”
Shapiro attested that the investigation began in 2011 when Pennsylvania State Police seized eight illegal video gambling machines belonging to the Biros family. Following several more seizures, surveillance of the family, and continued investigation, agents executed a search warrant in 2015 on the Biros residence, and 18 Pennsylvania bars and clubs. Agents seized more than $140,000 in cash from the residence and approximately 100 illegal video gambling machines from various bars and clubs. Shapiro noted, “As part of the Biros’ video poker operation, bars and clubs made illegal cash payouts to players who won credits on their machines. https://www.tinyurl.com/biros2
U-Lock lost its property notwithstanding never having a chance to pay Biros, never having the terms of the loan set, and not being able to demonstrate the alleged tainted nature of the funds. Government Misconduct Investigations Corp. warned that the decision’s precedential nature places all citizens at risk of losing their property to criminals with little ability to defend.