Calgary

Dung Luong: The butcher, his garbage and a multi-million dollar betting business

A Lamborghini, a Hummer and $1.5 million in assets; on top of the seizable forfeitures Dung Luong has been ordered to hand over after pleading guilty to book-making, tax evasion, marijuana trafficking, and firearms offences, he was also handed a five-and-a-half-year prison sentence on Tuesday.

Luong sentenced to 5½ years in prison, $1.5M in fines, forfeiture of his Lamborghini

Dung Luong ran the southeast Leung Ky Butcher shop before he was arrested. Luong was sentenced to 5.5 years in prison and has been ordered to pay $1.5 million in fines. (Google Streeview)

Originally published Oct. 26.

A Lamborghini, a Hummer and $1.5 million in assets; on top of the seizable forfeitures Dung Luong has been ordered to hand over after pleading guilty to book-making, tax evasion, marijuana trafficking, and firearms offences, he was also handed a five-and-a-half-year prison sentence on Tuesday.

As if from a Soprano's storyline, the Calgary butcher was a major RCMP target for years, believed to be a leader of a sophisticated criminal organization.

Luong came under investigation in 2008 when police — who were initially looking for evidence Luong was involved in the drug trade — began sifting through his garbage.

That's where they found "extensive" notes and fax sheets showing Luong, 53, was involved in a book-making operation involving betting on NFL, NHL, and NBA.

The investigation continued for four years with much of the evidence coming from wiretaps, where it was discovered he set odds, accepted bets and told associates that none of his assets — homes and vehicles — were in his own name.

According to an expert in book-making hired by the prosecution to analyze Luong​'s operation, the value of bets placed between December 2009 and December 2010 was estimated to be $3.5 million.

Luong did not pay any taxes on that income.

A leader in a high-level criminal organization, Luong was also sentenced for his role as the head of a "multi-pound marijuana distribution network," according to the agreed statement of facts. In 2010, Luong was paying his second-in-command $8,000 a month to distribute the drugs to lower level dealers.

Loan sharking

Using the money he was making from book-making and drug trafficking, Luong also acted as a loan shark, lending money — including several loans over $100,000 — with interest rates between 68 per cent and 181 per cent annually.

One of the loans was $150,000 paid to Prem Singh — a local political figure involved in the unite-the-right movement — in 2009.

Since she repaid the loan in 2010, that money has been held in a lawyer's trust account under a restraint order and will be used to make Luong's first payment, which is due within 30 days.

A large home in Chestermere bought by Luong with the proceeds of his crimes once belonged to Milowe Brost, currently serving a 12-year sentence for his role in a $200-million Ponzi scheme.

Most indebted to Luong was Jahanbakhsh (John) Meshkati, 46, who was shot and killed on a quiet Burnaby, B.C street in 2014. He owed about $1 million. 

As part of his sentence Justice Paul Jeffrey put Luong on a schedule for when he must pay his fines.

  • $150,000 within 30 days 
  • $350,000 within four months 
  • $250,000 within 12 months  
  • $120,000 within 24 months and then every six while he is still in custody 
  • $100,000 every six months after he is released from custody

Luong must pay back $1 million in evaded taxes, a $500,000 fine and he must forfeit two luxury vehicles.

If Luong fails to pay his $1.5 million in fines, he could face up to another four years in prison to be tacked onto his existing sentence.

The sentence was part of a joint submission made between prosecutors Barb Mercier, Tyler Lord and Brian Kiers as well as Luong's lawyer, Alain Hepner.

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