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Attorney General Mike Cox announces: Crack down on illegal casino gaming in Michigan

Contact: Eric Bush (517) 241-0136
Agency: Gaming Control Board



Four bars are sited for operating an illegal casino; 12 owners and employees to be charged for violating state gaming laws.

June 17, 2009

LANSING- Attorney General Mike Cox today announced charges against 12 owners and employees of four bars in the Flint area for their roles in operating and participating in illegal casinos. The arrests are part of a crackdown by the Michigan State Police, the Michigan Gaming Control Board, and the Attorney General's office.

"These defendants brazenly flaunted state law by essentially operating casinos in these bars," said Cox. "Gaming in Michigan is strictly regulated and this is a clear violation of state law."

The locations are alleged to have been operating illegal poker-machines, which allowed patrons to gamble as if they were in a licensed casino. An investigation revealed that the defendants paid cash winnings to patrons while taking measures to evade detection by law enforcement.

Those charged include:

Remington's Food & Spirits

· Dean Carter, co-owner, charged with one count of running an illegal gambling operation, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years and/or a 100,000 fine.

· Tonia Fults, employee, charged with one count of keeping a gambling house, a one year misdemeanor or 1,000 fine.

· Amber Lynn Bennett, employee, charged with one count of keeping a gambling house, a one year misdemeanor or 1,000 fine.

· Gabriella Juliene Young, employee, charged with one count of keeping a gambling house, a one year misdemeanor or 1,000 fine.

Autumn Lounge

· Lambros Saites, owner, charged with one count of running an illegal gambling operation, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years and/or 100,000 fine.

· Margaret Baker, employee, charged with one count of keeping a gambling house, a one year misdemeanor or 1,000 fine.

· Lisa Blackledge, employee, charged with one count of keeping a gambling house, a one year misdemeanor or 1,000 fine.

· Madonna Nichols, employee, charged with one count of keeping a gambling house, a one year misdemeanor or 1,000 fine.

Zoo Bar

· Laurie Fletcher, owner, charged with one count of running an illegal gambling operation, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years and/or 100,000 fine.

· Robert Hall, employee, charged with one count of keeping a gambling house, a one year misdemeanor or 1,000 fine.

Little Country

· Paul Battiste, owner, charged with one count of running an illegal gambling operation, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years and/or 100,000 fine.

· Danielle Wolfe, employee, charged with one count of keeping a gambling house, a one year misdemeanor or 1,000 fine.

Pretrial hearings for Battiste and Fletcher are scheduled for Friday, June 19. Battiste is scheduled to appear at 67th District Court in front of the Judge Christopher R. Odette. Fletcher is scheduled to appear at 68th District Court in front of Judge Tracy Coller-Nix.

All of the defendants have been arraigned and pretrial hearings are being scheduled. The Attorney General's office and Michigan State Police anticipate announcing additional arrests in the coming weeks.

"I would like to thank the Michigan State Police for their assistance and cooperation in this investigation in order to shut down these illegal gambling operations," stated Cox.

A criminal charge is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and, unless proven guilty in a court of law.





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