Four former employees of an Internet café have been sentenced on charges of operating an illegal gambling location in Ypsilanti, MI.
The sentences, which were handed down on Oct. 23 and Nov. 14. Specifically, they are the culmination of an investigation and legal case stemming from a raid on the café in 2022. The raid was conducted by the Michigan Gaming Control Board and the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, in association with the Michigan State Police.
According to authorities, 37 gaming machines, several computers, and more than $6,000 in cash and gift cards were seized from the Stony Creek Internet Café. It was operating at 2040 Whittaker Road in Ypsilanti Township.
Former Internet cafe workers sentenced to community service and fines
Cecil E. Roberson, age 77, Angela M. Amperez-Lopez, age 36, and Beverly M. Weatherspoon, age 67, all of Ypsilanti, were sentenced to community service and ordered to pay fines. And, a fourth defendant, 43-year old Timothy B. Reardon, also of Ypsilanti, was sentenced in Washtenaw County Circuit Court on Nov. 14 to one year of probation and also ordered to pay court costs and fines. All four pled guilty.
Earlier, the Stony Creek Internet Café owner, Connie Durham, age 70 of Romulus, pled guilty to a felony charge of gambling operations. And, she was sentenced to one year of probation and community service in April.
“[Illegal gaming] activities undermine the regulated industry that promotes safe, responsible gaming and perpetuate a host of societal problems. The Michigan Gaming Control Board will continue to enforce established laws and send the message that illegal gambling will not be tolerated in the state of Michigan,” said MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams in a press release.
Just the latest in MGCB’s increased efforts against illegal gambling
Notably, the sentences handed down for the illegal gambling operation in Ypsilanti are the latest in efforts by the state to crack down on nefarious gaming activity.
Last week, the MGCB spoke to PlayMichigan about the increased enforcement.
Earlier this year, $180,000 was seized in a raid of an illegal gambling site in Bridgeport. In September, the MGCB oversaw the destruction of dozens of illegal gambling machines in MI in prior law enforcement raids.
Further, the State of Michigan has demonstrated that they are committed to pursuing criminals who operate illegal unlicensed betting, sportsbook, or gambling operations.
“My department remains committed to upholding Michigan’s business rules and regulations, and that includes our state’s gambling laws,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement.
Bottom line, illegal gambling operators pose a threat to citizens in Michigan. Specifically, they provide unregulated gambling that exists outside the law that protects consumers from fraud. Often, other illegal activities are present as such locations as well.
The MGCB encourages citizens to report any suspicions of illegal gambling operations in Michigan. Send email tips to [email protected] or call 1-888-314-2682.