Over a dozen former high-ranking gaming executives have pleaded guilty to fraud charges in an alleged multi-million dollar conspiracy to defraud the Canadian government in the justice department’s Yukon vaccine trial.

A former executive at Las Vegas-based gaming company Wynn Resorts pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and bribery yesterday. William Weidman, who was the senior vice president of game operations at Wynn Resorts, pleaded guilty to charges that he and other executives at the company agreed to pay a U.S. consultant $1.4 million in exchange for his recommendation that Wynn be selected to host a final round of a hepatitis C (HCV) clinical trial for hepatitis C (HCV) vaccine.

Earlier this year, Rod Baker, the former CEO of the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, and his wife Catherine Baker tried to get the vaccine earlier than expected by traveling to the small town of Beaver Creek. Both men appeared in court for the charges they formally pleaded guilty to this week. word-image-9840 In January, the couple flew by charter plane to the small town of Beaver Creek, Yukon, where they posed as local rescue workers to get the vaccine early. This decision has caused great outrage, as the small town is mainly made up of elderly people who need the vaccine much more than a few millionaires.

Guilty

word-image-9841 The Bakers appeared before Chief Judge Michael Cozens of the Yukon Territorial Court this week via video link and pleaded guilty to violating the Regional Emergency Management Act. The couple, who donated C$10,000 to the COVAX vaccination program, are being sued twice: once for violating the self-exclusion rules and once for failing to comply with the declaration. The fines are about $2,300 Canadian and the residents are still angry because the fines are pocket change for the couple who have plenty of money and the private joke costs more than the fines. According to some aviation experts, the Bakers paid about $5,000 Canadian to charter a Piper PA31 Navajo plane from Whitehorse to a town in Yukon. Janet Vander Meer read a community impact statement during Wednesday’s hearing, arguing that the punishment was completely inappropriate. Ms. Vander Meer said the decision was an affront to the 40 resident members of the White River First Nation, and was a new level of trauma, given that some of the residents survived the residential school. Jennifer Cunningham’s lawyer said the couple is sorry for what happened and apologized for their actions. The judge accepted the concerns and views of the residents and agreed that the couple had put the residents at risk. Judge Cozzens said his actions were premeditated, but that the court has limited authority to deviate from the recommended sentence.

Immediate withdrawal

Shortly after the incident in the town of Beaver Creek, Yukon Baker, who was then CEO of the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, resigned. His resignation took effect immediately, but the gambling company declined to comment on his departure, saying the company does not interfere in the private lives of its employees.

Current overruns

Recently, the gaming conglomerate has become embroiled in a new round of controversy. Former employees of the company’s Nanaimo casino have made serious allegations against the company and have even filed individual class action lawsuits against the company. The employees allege that the company treated them unfairly and that they were unfairly dismissed during temporary layoffs and downsizing. Source: Rubin, Josh Slap: Millionaire casino executive and wife plead guilty in Yukon COVID clinic crash – Fine less than cost of charter flight, Toronto Star, 16. June 2021

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