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St. Clair County Men Face Sentencing in March Following Jury Conviction, Plea Agreement on Illegal Gambling in Roseville

DETROIT – A father and son from St. Clair County will be sentenced next month in Macomb County Circuit Court on charges related to running an illegal gambling operation in Roseville.

Chief Judge James M. Biernat Jr. will sentence 57-year-old David John Hoppe at 8:30 a.m. March 5 after a jury on Jan. 30 found him guilty of three felonies and a misdemeanor related to an illegal gambling operation he was running in 2018 at the 777 Café, 32488 Gratiot Ave., Roseville.

David John Hoppe, of China Township, was found guilty of one felony count of running an illegal gambling operation, two felony counts of using computers to commit a crime and a misdemeanor charge of maintaining a gambling house for gain. The charges filed in 2018 resulted from a joint investigation by the Roseville Police Department, the Michigan Department of Attorney General and the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

David Hoppe’s 31-year-old son Lucas Hoppe, of China Township, pleaded guilty Jan. 28 in Macomb County Circuit Court to a related but reduced felony charge of attempting to run an illegal gambling operation. Three other charges were dropped as part of a plea agreement. Lucas Hoppe will be sentenced by Judge Diane M. Druzinski at 8:30 a.m. March 12. Charges were dropped against a third defendant, Denise M. Hagan, 65, of Mussey Township.

“Illegal gambling operations not only pose a threat to consumers through rigged games, but they also rob our schools and our government of essential funding,” Nessel said. “We have gambling regulations in place to protect our residents – and those who defy those regulations will be held accountable.”

The most serious felony charges against David Hoppe carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison while Lucas Hoppe could be sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison.

“Illegal gambling operations can lead to other serious crimes,” said Richard S. Kalm, MGCB executive director. “In general, people are cheated, and the money earned by these facilities funds organized crime. We urge Michigan citizens to report suspected illegal gambling to local authorities or to our agency.”

The joint investigation began following a series of tips. Investigators alleged illegal gambling was taking place with patrons placing wagers at slot-style gaming terminals, which David Hoppe reportedly claimed were certified and approved by an independent gaming lab. The MGCB did not certify or approve the terminals. A search warrant was executed at the café in June 2018, and investigators seized 19 gaming terminals, gaming receipts and an undisclosed amount of cash.

In 2013, David Hoppe also pleaded guilty in 72nd District Court to a one-year misdemeanor charge of maintaining a gaming or gambling place. As part of a plea arrangement, David Hoppe agreed he would not make available to the public any gaming machines not certified as non-gambling devices by either the MGCB or a laboratory the MGCB deemed eligible to test and certify such machines. The agreement led to dismissal of a 10-year felony charge of conducting a gambling operation where wagering was used without a license.

Michigan residents may report illegal or suspicious gambling activity through the MGCB’s anonymous tip line, 888-314-2682.