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Poker Pro Eric Cloutier Charged With Money Laundering, Felony Theft

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Mar 5 2009 - 11:15am

(Associated Press) A nine-month investigation led to the arrest last Thursday of a Lafayette bar owner and former ice hockey player on charges including money laundering, racketeering, computer fraud and felony theft, state authorities said.

Louisiana Alcohol and Tobacco Control officials arrested Eric Cloutier, 33, of Lafayette, on 505 counts related to tax evasion, fraud and money laundering, according to a news release.

Cloutier is the owner of Marley's Downtown and Karma, both in downtown Lafayette, the LATC release indicated.

The offenses are alleged to have occurred at both locations.

Cloutier allegedly laundered as much as $1.4 million through the businesses over a three-year period, and allegedly electronically manipulated his cash registers to conceal sales transactions.

The scheme allowed him to commit tax fraud and money laundering through both businesses by filing false sales and use tax returns with the Department of Revenue, the release stated.

Cloutier faces an additional 340 counts of obstruction of justice for the intentional destruction of evidence in an attempt to cover up the crimes after the investigation began, the release stated.

Cloutier also allegedly illegally obtained two alcohol permits by providing false information on annual license renewal application affidavits, the release stated.

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The Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office arrested Cloutier on a warrant. He was booked on the following charges:

Felony theft over $126,000, two counts.

Attempted felony theft over $28,000, two counts.

Obstruction of justice, 340 counts.

Computer fraud, 67 counts.

Filing false public records, 92 counts.

Money laundering over $1.4 million, one count.

Racketeering, one count.

He remained incarcerated at the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center late Friday on a $100,000 bond.

Cloutier is a former Louisiana Ice Gator who spent about seven years as a hockey player. He also is a poker player with winnings of more than $100,000, according to the Internet Web site http://www.pokerpages.com.

The Louisiana Secretary of State's Commercial Division lists five active companies under Cloutier's name.