More than 100 charged
The state of Georgia has witnessed a recent crackdown on illegal gambling machines. Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney David Cooke announced a civil forfeiture action, naming over 100 business owners in Georgia.
Those who stand accused are facing bribery and tax evasion charges for operating illegal gambling machines in the state. Included in the suit is Bibb County deputy Rahim McCarley.
Major money laundering scheme
Several gambling master license holders appear in the civil forfeiture action filed by the DA’s office. These include Booray Group LLC, S&W Amusement Inc., PNP Amusement Games LLC, and Krishna Amusement INC, who own as many as 400 gaming machines spread throughout 70 businesses in Georgia.
The DA’s action also lists around 100 store owners along with others. The defendants in the case have been accused of earning over $39m (£31,270,441.46) in profits from 2017 to 2018, as well as not paying any taxes.
The DA has reported that, in the time frame listed in the case, gamblers spent over $121m (£97,018,549.16). They won a total of $82m (£65,749,110.05) in cash and prizes playing on the machines. According to Cooke, store owners and stakeholders laundered the gambling profits, with millions of dollars sent through trusts with no taxes paid.
According to Cooke, the license holders set up fake storefronts for the gambling machines to operate illegally. This allowed the license holders to keep the proceeds instead of sharing them with the store owners. It is required by state law for such proceeds to be shared.
The stores involved in the scheme were given money by the license holders to place the machines in their venues. The money provided was not reported as income.
Search warrants issued
At the same time as the civil forfeiture action announcement, three stores were served search warrants. Among these was the RJS, which is owned by Bibb County deputy McCarley. The deputy and several others face charges of racketeering.
District Attorney Cooke, who is now calling for the gambling machines to be removed from operation, said: “These machines are a cancer on our society and it’s time that they’re removed from the Macon Judicial Circuit and the rest of the state.”