Among the many gizmos and gadgets at the center of the Las Vegas Strip is the infamous Hai Waknine. The 32-year-old Israeli gangster is known as a longtime associate of the Jerusalem Network, and is often referred to as a high roller. He is also known to like young prostitutes, and is the subject of a number of investigations. In 2003, he hosted a lavish Passover seder in the Bally’s hotel. The best part was that he didn’t have to pay for a single alcoholic drink, but he did have to pay his lawyer’s fees.
It’s not surprising that a convicted felon like Waknine would appeal his sentence. As a longtime Las Vegas resident, he has seen his fair share of misdeeds. He embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Tel Aviv Trade Bank. Moreover, he was accused of sexually harassing a woman in Las Vegas. He has been charged with several other crimes as well. In March 2003, he visited the offices of Viken Keuylian, an entrepreneur who owns a Lamborghini dealership in Beverly Hills. The two had a bit of a falling out, but the good news is that Keuylian offered to help Waknine out. In exchange, he was allowed to take home a $175,000 Ferrari 360.
As for Waknine’s recent travails, the alleged misdeeds didn’t stop him from claiming that the government hasn’t done a thorough enough job of investigating his activities. He filed a formal motion for reconsideration in June, but was denied in October. He argued that the government didn’t have the evidence to prove his case beyond a reasonable doubt. He also pointed out that the government has a lot of other defendants to deal with.
While he was at it, he also challenged the district court’s restitution order. In a nutshell, the restitution order erroneously included $5000 in the restitution column. It’s unclear whether that was a miscalculation, or if the government did a better job of calculating the appropriate restitution value. The government also omitted the obvious from its restitution calculations. For instance, the most obvious restitution item to include in a restitution calculation would be the amount of money Waknine owes to Eliyahu Hadad, the defendant he used to obtain the loan from. It is also unclear how much he actually owes to Hadad, but the government estimated that he incurred losses of about $580,000. The aforementioned restitution order included a number of other items besides the aforementioned $580,000. In addition, the restitution award included attorney’s fees, travel costs, and a few other things. In the end, the restitution awards totaled $646,000. That’s a sizable sum, but a little more than he should have to pay. The real question is whether or not his restitution order will be upheld. In the meantime, he’s reportedly in a Las Vegas jail. He’s been in custody for two months, and his case is set to go to trial next year.