Former restaurant owner sentenced in gambling investigation
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Eight Middle Georgia businesses and a home were raided Tuesday as part of a three-month long gambling investigation.Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney David Cooke tells 41NBC the accused violated Georgia’s commercial gambling laws, racketeering, money laundering, tax evasion, and other related offenses. As of Tuesday afternoon, six people in Crawford and Peach Counties have been arrested.
The Byron Police Department arrested 71-year-old Ronald Bartlett of Byron, 73-year-old Lee Bartlett of Byron, 47-year-old Micheal Durham of Roberta, 46-year-old Leonardo Rimando of Macon, and 50-year-old Andy Kim of Macon. Both Bartlett’s, Durham, and Kim are charged with commercial gambling and keeping a gambling place. Rimando is charged with commercial gambling.
The Roberta Police Department arrested 37-year-old Kiran Patel of Macon. Patel is charged with commercial gambling.
Cooke says more warrants are pending.
According to the complaints, the accused allegedly profited more than $25,000 a month since January 2014, totaling more than $3.8 million in cash from the illegal gambling.
“These machines make money and they make plenty of money doing it the fair way, but if you’re breaking law, we may not get to everybody today, but we’re going to get everyone we can,” Cooke said.
Cooke tells 41NBC some of the businesses are closed. He filed seven civil racketeering complaints in Peach and Crawford Superior Courts “seeking the forfeiture of any profits gained through the alleged violations of the law, as well as the property used to facilitate any crime.”
Cooke adds the arrest warrants and complaints are allegations and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The Byron Police Department, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Roberta Police Department, the Georgia Lottery Corporation, and the district attorney’s office assisted in the operation.
The Macon Judicial Circuit covers Bibb, Crawford, and Peach counties.