Two weeks after the worst mass shooting in American History, the media is virtually silent on Stephen Paddock
When the bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, we witnessed one of the most transparent investigations in history.
Surveillance video from various locations was made public almost as soon as the authorities got hold of it. Pictures of “persons of interest” were publicized instantly. Almost everyone felt invested in finding the fiends behind it.
Three people were killed and 264 were injured in that attack.
Two weeks ago, Stephen Paddock, according to the investigators, fired “thousands of rounds” (have the FBI and ATF forgotten how to count?) from suite 32135 of the Mandalay Bay Hotel killing 58 people and injuring 527 more during the conclusion of a country music festival across the street from the hotel.
Given the visceral reaction to the Boston Marathon attacks, you would think the mainstream media would be running virtually 24/7 coverage of Paddock’s attack while being able to provide an endless video stream of surveillance camera coverage as it comes into the investigative team.
You would think the media would have investigative reporters scouring the face of the Earth for insights into what motivated Paddock’s attack since local law enforcement, FBI, ATF, DHS (why is DHS in the mix?) and perhaps a half dozen more law enforcement agencies are all at loss to define his motive.
None of that is happening.
What is happening is the subject of the investigation seems to be the modern day incarnation of the Invisible Man.
Why Don’t We Have Any Video Footage of Stephen Paddock?
While the Mandalay Bay claims to not have surveillance cameras in the hallways for the guests privacy (I’ve stayed in hotels around the world – none of them ever assured me I had a right to privacy in the hallway) and that may be true. However, are we to believe the Mandalay Bay does not have hours of video of Paddock in the gambling areas? Going in and out of hotel exits?
We have seen zero video footage of Paddock provided by the hotel to the investigators.
This is not an accident or oversight.
Indeed, we are told Paddock bought 33 guns since October 16, 2016 in four different states. If you believe any gun store does not have 24/7 video surveillance in this day and age, you must be a party line Democratic voter in the local cemetery.
Let’s go with the answer all the I-believe-the-government-BS-while-signaling-my-cynicism idiots are shouting right now: the FBI found most of the stores systems didn’t have video going back far enough but seized any videos that did exist!
1) Gun stores never know when a Fed with a badge is going to come through the door demanding information – plug a 4 terabyte hard drive in via USB and you can backup all transactions for years.
2) Those videos are digital, not on tape – so the videos would still be on the hard drives in those gun stores.
What’s that BS Believers?
The FBI told the stores they can’t release those videos?
Under what law do they get that authority? The FBI does not have jurisdiction over every crime in the United States and the Mandalay Bay shooting has not been labeled a terrorist incident by the FBI or DHS.
In point of fact, what jurisdiction does the FBI have to be “working hand-in-hand” with the local law enforcement?
This isn’t a kidnapping, bank robbery or anything else in the Federal jurisdiction based on what the authorities have told us. It’s homicide, attempted homicide and grievous bodily harm – those are crimes under the laws of the state of Nevada.
The ATF, at least, has the explanation they are using their special resources to support the local investigation as they do routinely all around the country on a daily basis.
Why are the FBI and DHS in the middle of the investigation?
Let’s go back to looking at what we do know about Stephen Paddock. We are told by his brother (the last person in the world you want as a character witness – if this guy was talking about Gandhi’s death you’d be suspicious about Gandhi) that Stephen Paddock was an
arms … millionaire real estate investor who only had a few guns. But he didn’t spend that much time with him! Ok, so they had investments the brother made a lot of money for doing nothing, but hey, who doesn’t?
People who sat next to him in bars and casinos while he was gambling describe him as just a normal guy who made normal small talk while he gambled constantly – so we know he was a gambler, right? Or do we?
In the last three years alone, more than 200 reports about Paddock’s activities, particularly large transactions at casinos, have been filed with law enforcement authorities, ABC News was told.
While some of the reports centered around “suspicious activity,” most were “currency transaction reports,” which casinos are required to file with the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network when a person withdraws or deposits more than $10,000 in cash.
Let’s take the obvious first – most people living in a country where civil asset forfeiture – the ability of LEO or other agencies to seize and hold any cash you may have, has become far too routine are extremely careful to not trip a “currency transaction report”
Why? Because that information is widely available to LEO’s which means a local police officer can decide to seize the money and hold it until you spend months (they get to decide when to hold the hearing) and thousands of dollars on a trial lawyer to get your money back even though you were not charged with a crime – if the judge decides to let you have it.
Professional gamblers, who are honest because the casinos report everything you win to the government, are far more likely to be very circumspect about what they do with cash. You can’t trust anybody these days – especially if they have a badge.
Don’t believe me? Google “professional gamblers cash seizure was illegal”
As they say down south, “that dog don’t hunt”.
Paddock wasn’t a genius if most of his “suspicious activities” were “currency transaction reports” and he for damned sure wasn’t a “professional gambler” because the real money in playing poker is not in playing a poker machine.
Why? As shown below, video poker machines mean over the long run you will only get $ 0.99 back from every $ 1.00 you bet.
It’s in playing “cash games” some of which occur in the casinos but are more and more often played in private residences away from the eyes of the casino, the IRS and the DHS. Needless to say, these are by invitation only.
Whoops! We nearly forgot something more important!
‘While some of the reports centered around “suspicious activity,” …’
Some suspicious-but-not-defined-activity which the government was monitoring. Doesn’t that sound fascinating? The ABC News article was published on October 3rd – two days after the shooting. Anyone want to guess what you have not heard mentioned by anyone since?
Yep, Some suspicious-but-not-defined-activity.
You might also notice the ABC News report didn’t even hint at which law enforcement authorities those 200 reports have been filed. Why? Because ABC News does not want to risk having their reporter the subject of a Federal investigation.
As to which law enforcement authorities might have provided the information? I’m certain whoever it was has a three letter acronym.
There was a very timely story published on Buzzfeed on October 6th:
US Intelligence Unit Accused Of Illegally Spying On Americans’ Financial Records
The intelligence division at the Treasury Department has repeatedly and systematically violated domestic surveillance laws by snooping on the private financial records of US citizens and companies, according to government sources.
Over the past year, at least a dozen employees in another branch of the Treasury Department, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, have warned officials and Congress that US citizens’ and residents’ banking and financial data has been illegally searched and stored.
And the breach, some sources said, extended to other intelligence agencies, such as the National Security Agency, whose officers used the Treasury’s intelligence division as an illegal back door to gain access to American citizens’ financial records. The NSA said that any allegations that it “is operating outside of its authorities and knowingly violating U.S. persons’ privacy and civil liberties is categorically false.”
At issue is the collection and dissemination of information from a vast database of mostly US citizens’ banking and financial records that banks turn over to the government each day. Banks and other financial institutions are required, under the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970, to report suspicious transactions and cash transactions over $10,000.
The database is maintained by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, a bank regulator charged with combatting money laundering, terrorist financing, and other financial crimes. Under the law, it has unfettered powers to peruse and retain the data.
In contrast to FinCEN, Treasury’s intelligence division, known as the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, or OIA, is charged with monitoring suspicious financial activity that occurs outside the US.
Under a seminal Reagan-era executive order, a line runs through the Treasury Department and all other federal agencies separating law enforcement, which targets domestic crimes, from intelligence agencies, which focus on foreign threats and can surveil US citizens only in limited ways and by following stringent guidelines.
Anyone surprised the various Federal agencies who aren’t supposed to be doing any of the above, denied they are doing any of the above?
How is it Paddock was described as a non-descript individual with only one minor traffic citation over the first two days of the investigation?
The FBI was on scene Monday. The LVMPD is tied into the federal crime databases just as is any major city considered a likely target for a terrorist strike.
How is it possible the currency transaction reports were of zero interest to the investigation … much less the suspicious activities?
It isn’t possible and it isn’t credible – and the information provided from someone at the IRS is part of the proof:
Las Vegas gunman earned millions as a gambler (NBC October 6, 2017)
IRS records show that the Las Vegas gunman who killed dozens in a hail of gunfire this week was a successful gambler who earned millions of dollars in 2015, according to a report by NBC News.
Stephen Paddock, who killed at least 58 people and injured more than 500 when he opened fire on a crowd of festival attendees on the Las Vegas strip, earned at least $5 million in 2015, the report said. The report noted that most of that income came from gambling, although some could have come from other investments.
The New York Times reported earlier this week that Paddock was not well known among Las Vegas’ high stakes gambling crowd, though he would occasionally make tens of thousands of dollars in a single sitting.
There is zero chance of someone earning let’s say $ 4 million gambling at poker in Las Vegas and remaining a complete unknown.
Why? Because that sort of number isn’t low profile and you don’t get to it by making tens of thousands of dollars occasionally.
If you make $ 4 million gambling, you are winning tens of thousands of dollars almost once a day at a minimum … because everybody loses some of the time in Vegas and that include the biggest gamblers in the world.
The Invisible Man, Stephen Paddock, was not just a high roller if he “won” $ 4 million playing electronic poker.
It turns out Stephen Paddock would have been a “whale” beyond even the fevered imaginations of the writers of the “Ocean’s Eleven” series of films.
For Paddock’s income tax return to be true, the Nevada Independent did the math that boggles the mind:
Stephen Paddock probably lost about $ 404,933 gambling in 2015.
“IRS records show that Paddock was a successful gambler, earning at least $5 million in 2015.”
Critics of NBC’s reporting were quick to point out that the IRS figure is more likely than not to contain earnings, as opposed to his net winnings on gambling. Most people then conclude that it would be impossible to know how much Paddock won or lost because we don’t have enough information.
However, if we’re willing to make some reasonable assumptions, we can actually deduce quite a bit more than that using nothing more than publicly available information and math.
In Las Vegas, casino game earnings only generate W-2G tax forms when a player receives a single payout of a specified amount which varies depending on the game being played. For video poker, that number is $1,200.
That means a tax form is only generated when a player hits a payout of $1,200 on a single hand of video poker (excluding the value of the wager itself). A W-2G is not triggered when cashing out any amount from a machine – hypothetically you could cash out from a machine having won $100,000 (or any other number over $1,200) without generating a tax form if you managed to do it without winning $1,200 on any individual hand.
The IRS is notified by casinos of all W-2Gs for each calendar year. Throughout this article, I will be operating under the assumption that Paddock’s $5 million figure represents the total value of W-2Gs that casinos issued to him in 2015, as that seems far-and-away to be the likeliest explanation of the figure.
So, why does the paytable matter? Because we can see that tax forms would only generate when Paddock made four-of-a-kind or better – full houses only pay $1,000 at this denomination.
Next, let’s add up the returns for all of the hands that generate a tax form. The returns for making four-of-a-kind or better add up to 0.10298 – meaning those events happening account for just over 10% of the return on this machine.
That means the $5 million in earnings that was reported to the IRS is likely quite a lot larger than that. The $5 million reported is 10.384608% of the amount he probably really earned.
Here’s the first big conclusion: If the IRS believes Stephen Paddock earned $5 million in 2015 playing video poker, his gross earnings were probably more like $48,148,182.
Of course, that’s excluding all the hands he lost.
If $48,148,182 was Paddock’s expected earnings on a 99.17% machine, the expected value of his coin-in was $48,553,115. He probably lost the difference between those figures, minus the value he earned from being a VIP player and receiving comped vacations and possibly cash back in other forms.
The $5 million in earnings that NBC reported is quite unlikely to be an exact figure, and therefore neither is this conclusion. But here goes nothing: if the IRS believed Stephen Paddock to have earned $5 million playing video poker in 2015, his real-world likely loss was probably about $404,933. But he got lots of hotel rooms, show tickets, meals, and some amount of cash back from the casino.
We can still figure out more: his expected loss per hand was $1.0425 ((1-0.99166)*125), and he therefore probably played about (404,933/1.0425) 388,425 hands.
We’ve read he played at a very fast pace, but not knowing exactly how fast we can assume he played at a quick pace for a serious player. Video poker forums around the internet suggest 800 hands per hour is a reasonable guess on pace. Using that as a best guess, he probably played for about 485 and a half hours – just over 9 hours per week for that year, if it was evenly distributed. Although it’s easier to imagine 6 separate week-long vacations during which he spent 12 hours a day on the machines. But of course, by now I’m purely speculating.
In fact, all of the above is speculation. But my response to all of the debate on Stephen Paddock’s gambling habits is this: let’s not remember him as some mastermind gambling winner – it’s a much better guess that he wasn’t one.
For those wanting the detailed math and the pay table, please click through to the article. For the BS Believers wanting to type, “The article itself says it was all speculation!”, save the effort – the point I am making is the math requires Paddock to have bet over $ 48 million in one year and to have actually lost over $ 400,000 in the process.
Quiz time: What do you call someone who cycles $ 48 million in one year through video poker machines but doesn’t care he’s only getting 99% of it back?
Answer: The FBI, DHS, IRS, FinCEN, OIA, DEA and everybody else in law enforcement calls that person a money launderer … and it’s illegal as hell.
It’s also important to note – this is activity Stephen Paddock acknowledged in his income taxes for 2015. Granted he had to due to the W2-G’s filed by the casinos but he wasn’t trying to hide it which he could have done in private residence poker games.
The Federal systems all interconnect and share information on “currency transaction reports” – which is perfectly legal.
Casinos have long been a favored means of laundering money from criminal enterprises and therefore the various Federal agencies monitor the casino data extremely closely.
There is zero chance given everything above that Stephen Paddock was not being at least monitored very closely by more than one Federal agency up to the time of his death.
What is Going on With This Investigation Into the Shooter Then?
Barring complete incompetence far beyond anything demonstrated by any Federal agency to date (yes, that’s true despite all the FBI’s political corruption issues) there are only two explanations for Stephen Paddock being an invisible man:
He was a pawn in a much larger criminal or terrorist enterprise who laundered money as part of his job description but was allowed to continue while Federal agencies gathered information from and about the larger enterprise.
He was a willing agent of the government working undercover in a much larger criminal or terrorist enterprise and he laundered money as part of his job description while serving as a human intelligence asset.
The only problem with either of those two explanations is Stephen Paddock stopped being an invisible man and has been identified by the investigating authorities as the sole person responsible for the largest mass murder in American history. This does not mean one of those explanations isn’t true.
It does mean it is extremely unlikely the Invisible Man decided to stop being invisible and committed this crime for no discernible motive.
Stephen Paddock’s sole motivation in his life over recent years and therefore his motive in suite 32135 is simple to identify:
Next article: The investigation that does not investigate.