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