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Latino Daily News

Friday November 25, 2011

Mexico Casino Czar Swindles American Investors, Though Some Still Speak his Praises

Mexico Casino Czar Swindles American Investors, Though Some Still Speak his Praises

Photo: Mexico Casino Czar, Juan Jose "Pepe" Rojas-Cardona

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

As Mexico’s so-called ‘casino czar” extends his reach into the U.S. and various other countries, a number of those who went into business with him say they’ve been swindled.

For many, when Juan Jose Rojas-Cardona sent an offer to invest in his Mexican casinos, it was a godsend. Having made millions of dollars himself, the opportunity for struggling investors to be a part of his operation seemed ideal, but when money simply disappeared, it became anything but.

The Lac Vieux Desert Band, a Chippewa Indian tribe in far-northern Michigan, was struggling to keep their modest casino afloat, so a chance to invest with Rojas-Cardona seemed like an opportunity to turn things around for them.

Sadly, instead of success, they say they saw their name added to a growing list of those who say they’ve been ripped off.

From Michigan to Arizona, London to Australia, investors say they made multimillion-dollar investments, only to see nothing in return.

These stories accuse a man who has somehow been able to collect 60 permits to operate his casino empire in a country where gambling is technically still illegal.

However, it should be noted that not everyone Rojas-Cardona has done business with is cursing the dealings. At least one investor in Louisiana is singing his praises.

Leandrus J. Young told McClatchy, “...With all the money I made, I’,m not going to talk bad about the guy.”

Young is among Louisiana investors that provided the capital when Rojas-Cardona provided the permit for a casino. When the business was up and running, Young sold a 45 percent stake in to a group from New Orleans.

The only inkling of bad blood between Young and Rojas-Cardona might be deduced from the eventual split between the partners, which Young said was caused by Rojas-Cardona going “bad” over money, driving a car worth a quarter of a million dollars and wearing a $100,000 watch.

Still, for all those who say they’ve lost money through the shady dealings with the man known as “Pepe”, there are a few like Young still willing to speak warmly of him.