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Fiona Simmons September 29, 2023 3 min read
Michigan Storefront Casino Operators Got Arraigned on 31 Charges
Charges were filed in August and September the Control Board said
Michigan Gaming Control Board announced that five defendants behind an illegal gambling scheme have been arraigned on 31 charges. The report follows a joint investigation by the regulator and the Michigan Department of Attorney General.
Arraigned in 67th District Court, the five defendants were accused of operating illegal storefront casinos. The operation was busted in April when the police raided the properties and seized a number of objects.
The illegal casino operators had two storefront casinos at The State Road Spot in Davison and The Bristol Spot in Burton. Upon raiding the venues, the police confiscated 100 gambling devices, 62 gift cards and $29,204 in cash.
Charges were filed in August and September the Control Board said.
The Five People Have Been Arraigned
Joseph Toporek and Mary Larkin are facing five charges each, including three counts of running an unlicensed gambling operation, one high court misdemeanor for maintaining a gambling house for gain, and one count of keeping a gambling house.
Shaun Bellah II, Shaun Bellah Sr and Ghazwan Brikho, meanwhile, are facing seven charges each. This includes five counts of conducting a criminal enterprise, one count of conspiracy, one count of running an unlicensed gambling operation, high court misdemeanor for maintaining a gambling house for gain, and one count of keeping a gambling house.
Under local law, defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. All of the five defendants have now been arraigned.
Toporek was arraigned on August 18, followed by Brikhoon on August 25 and Larkin on August 26. After that, Bellah II was arraigned on September 5, followed by Bellah Sr on September 12. The five people posted personal bonds while awaiting their probable cause hearing.
MGCB Is Committed to Protecting the Rights of the People Involved
The Michigan Gaming Control Board reiterated its commitment to protecting the local market from fraud. Its executive director, Henry Williams, added:
While the Michigan Gaming Control Board will continue to hold those who choose to circumvent the law accountable for their actions, we also acknowledge the importance of fairness, equality, and the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise.Henry Williams, executive director, MGCB
Williams concluded that the board operates with integrity and is also committed to the foundations of due process that protect the rights of the involved individuals.
Earlier this month, a former Gun Lake Casino employee in Michigan confessed to stealing over $84,500 in cash over a span of 14 months. The man was responsible for unclogging the casino’s cash-out machines and now risks prison time and fines because of his theft.