Federal prosecutors continue to indict those accused of running “games of skill” shops in Stark County.
The latest to be charged is Stephen Sarris, 47, of the Canton area, according to a statement Monday from the Department of Justice.
A grand jury on Thursday indicted Saris on charges of operating an illegal gambling business.
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The indictment alleges that Saris from 2013 to 2018 was the beneficial co-owner of a now-defunct gambling operation known as Café 62 in Plain Township with an unnamed and unaccounted for partner. Both had an unnamed third person impersonate the owner, the indictment said.
The establishment had slot machines that paid game winners cash prizes, which is illegal, according to the indictment.
Filed August 25, 2022 by Steven Saris by Robert Wang on Scribd
Gambling at the site and several “games of skill” rooms in the area were halted when federal agents on July 11, 2018, executed search warrants at what they later claimed were illegal gambling establishments in Stark County.
The story of Cafe 62 near Canton
Online directories say Café 62 was at 3007 Harrisburg Rd. SE in Plain Township off US 62.
The address was also the site of businesses called 777 Skill Games in 2011, Piccolo Vegas Skill Games in 2011 and Tic Tac Skill Games in 2006 and 2007.
According to court records, no attorney has yet formally appeared in federal court on Saris’ behalf, and it’s unclear if Saris has an attorney.
Federal agents did not take Sarris into custody, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Northern Ohio wrote in an email. The US District Court will issue him a summons.
Federal investigators are trying to take over the house
Federal prosecutors are seeking federal forfeiture of any property paid in proceeds from the illegal gambling operations, including a four-bedroom Lake Township home and property at 2548 Clydesdale Street NW that is controlled by Saris’ trust. The Stark County auditor’s office assessed the property at a value of $476,600.
It’s unclear how Saris’ case is connected to seven defendants charged in federal court with operating the Redemption and Skilled Shamrock arcades in Plain Township. Three defendants last month pleaded guilty as part of plea deals and are scheduled to be sentenced in November.
But federal prosecutors filed a motion Friday asking Saris’ case to be reassigned to U.S. District Judge Donald Nugent in Cleveland, who is overseeing the Redemption and Skilled Shamrock case.
The resolution said the Saris case “charges crimes that are part of the factual situation and allegations involved” in the Redemption and Skilled Shamrock case. And moving the Saris case to Nugent’s courtroom “would allow for the expeditious disposition of these cases.”
Last week, Nugent indefinitely postponed the Sept. 19 trial date for the remaining Redemption and Skilled Shamrock defendants, according to the court document. Both prosecutors and defense attorneys engage in the sharing of evidence known as discovery.
A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office wrote in an email that it had no information to release about any possible connection between the Saris and Redemption cases.
In 2009, Saris, then a resident of North Canton, pleaded guilty to felony money laundering, misdemeanor operating a gambling house and felony grand larceny in Summit County Common Pleas Court as part of a plea deal. His concurrent one-year and six-month prison terms were suspended, and he was placed on two years’ probation and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine, according to court records. The allegations came after a two-year investigation into illegal gambling by the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, which led to a grand jury indicting Saris and 65 other defendants.
Contact Robert at email@example.com. Twitter: @rwangREP.
This article originally appeared in The Repository: Cafe 62 “skill games” operator Steven Saris faces federal charges