Three Stark County men were among a number indicted on allegations of illegal gambling operations in Cuyahoga County.
Three Canton area men are among those indicted by a Cuyahoga County grand jury on accusations that they are involved in illegal Internet cafe operations.
Christos Karasarides Jr., 46, Christopher Maggiore, 46, and James Watson, 61, were among 10 defendants and seven companies accused of engaging a pattern of corrupt activity. An indictment was unveiled Wednesday by county and state officials.
Cuyahoga Prosecutor Bill Mason said five men, including the Stark County residents, convinced many small businesses in his county to use a New Jersey-based Internet gaming system, claiming that their gaming systems were “sweepstakes,” which are not illegal and unregulated in Ohio.
Mason accused the distributors of racketeering, money laundering and illegal gambling. The New Jersey-based VS2 Worldwide Communications supplied the game systems, the indictment alleges.
Mason was joined by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine at a news conference Wednesday afternoon in Cleveland.
“We are working hard with partners like Prosecutor Mason to crack down on illegal Internet cafes in Ohio,” DeWine said in a statement. “These businesses, hundreds across Ohio, are totally unregulated and can be a real consumer rip-off.”
In a statement, Mason said, “The end result is exactly what the members of the criminal enterprise intended – a complicated and elaborate, layered web of related companies dispersing and distributing money to each other with hopes of never being caught.”
“The days of gambling with the law have come to a screeching halt.”
According to the (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, Mason ordered 50 Internet cafe operators in Cuyahoga County to shut down.