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Lansing residents plead guilty to illegal gambling following Mich. Attorney General, State Police and Gaming Control Board investigation

Detroit, June 8, 2018 – Five Lansing residents pled guilty June 6 to illegal gambling offenses in Ingham County Court and will be sentenced July 25 on felony or misdemeanor counts. Charges were filed in October 2017 following an investigation by the Michigan Attorney General’s office, Michigan State Police Gaming Section and the Michigan Gaming Control Board of an operation inside a vacant store at the Logan Square shopping center, 3222 South Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Lansing.

Business owner Li Deng, 54, pled guilty to a 10-year felony charge, conducting a gambling operation, and faces a possible $100,000 fine at sentencing. She agreed to forfeit $67,754 and equipment used for gambling.

Employees Alma Shepard, 37, and Krista Albers, 59, pled guilty to a two-year misdemeanor charge of keeping a gambling house – permitting for gain, and each faces a possible $1,000 fine at sentencing. Two other employees, Cynthia Snyder, 34, and Angel Chocalas, 23, pled guilty to a one-year misdemeanor charge of attempted keeping a gambling house – permitting for gain. Any remaining counts will be dismissed at sentencing as part of the plea agreement.

“Lansing City Council recognizes the seriousness of this crime and plans to vote next week on a local illegal gambling ordinance,” said Richard Kalm, executive director, Michigan Gaming Control Board. “As often happens, we relied on tips from the public to uncover illegal gambling, and we ask the public to report possible illegal activity to police authorities or the Gaming Control Board. Our agency assisted the Attorney General’s Office and the Michigan State Police with a very complex investigation, which illustrates the high level of cooperation among agencies.”

Anonymous tips indicated illegal gambling was taking place with patrons wagering on slot-style games inside the location.

Investigators visited the business multiple times and verified the allegations. In July 2017, approximately 60 gaming terminals were seized when a search warrant was executed at the location. In addition, investigators seized seven so-called “fish” gaming stations, which allow multiple patrons to gamble at the same time.

Michigan citizens are encouraged to report any suspicious or illegal gambling by calling the MGCB’s 24-hour anonymous tip line, 888-314-2682.

"The Michigan Gaming Control Board shall ensure the conduct of fair and honest gaming to protect the interests of the citizens of the State of Michigan."