Seven More Individuals Charged in Connection with Illegal Gambling Businesses in Ohio
(STL.News) A federal grand jury in Cleveland, Ohio, returned five indictments, unsealed today, charging a total of ten individuals, three of whom were previously charged, with illegal gambling, tax, and/or other related offenses.
According to the indictments, nine defendants owned or operated illegal gambling businesses (“IGBs”) in Canton, Ohio, including Skilled Shamrock, Redemption, Plaza 777, Gametastic, Gametastik, Belden Connection 777, Café 62, Got Skillz, and Skillz 777.
One indictment charges that Stephanie Condric of Canton, Ohio, allegedly co-owned and operated Gametastic. Condric and others allegedly concealed their ownership of Gametastic by putting the business in the name of a nominee and reported some of its payrolls under the name of a nominee business. According to the indictment, Condric and her co-conspirators failed to report all of Gametastic’s payroll on employment tax returns filed with the IRS. Condric also allegedly failed to report her share of Gametastic’s profits on her individual income tax returns for 2016 and 2017.
Christos Karasarides, Christopher Karasarides, Ronald DiPietro, Thomas Helmick
In May 2021, a grand jury returned a superseding indictment charging Ronald DiPietro (a Certified Public Accountant), Thomas Helmick, and Jason and Rebecca Kachner with tax and gambling offenses. In 2022, a second superseding indictment charged DiPietro with tax evasion and added Christos Karasarides, who worked with DiPietro to provide false information to the IRS. Jason and Rebecca Kachner, who are married, pleaded guilty in July 2022.
A third superseding indictment now adds Christopher Karasarides. Christopher Karasarides and his father, Christos Karasarides, both of Canton, Ohio, are charged with, among other violations, conspiring to defraud the United States. The indictment alleges that Christos Karasarides fraudulently attempted to compromise and settle his more than $3.1 million tax debt with the IRS by (1) submitting false information to the IRS about his interest in and income from IGBs, (2) filing false income tax returns, and (3) hiding his income and assets, including his ownership and income from Skilled Shamrock, Redemption, and Plaza 777. Christos Karasarides allegedly spent millions in cash between 2013 and 2019 for cars, golf, and other expenses at a country club, credit card charges, and purported loans for businesses with which he was associated. The indictment alleges that Christopher helped conceal his father’s assets from the IRS by serving as a nominee owner of some of his father’s businesses. In addition, Christopher allegedly filed false individual tax returns for 2017 through 2020, reporting that he was the shareholder in a particular business when, in fact, Christos Karasarides was the true shareholder.
Melissa Bragg of Canton, Ohio, is charged in a separate indictment with conducting Belden Connection 777, an illegal gambling business, from approximately 2013 to July 11, 2018.
Michael Moneypenny of Norton, Ohio, is charged in a separate indictment with four counts of conducting illegal gambling businesses arising from his involvement in Skilled Shamrock, Redemption, Gametastic, and Gametastik. Moneypenny allegedly operated a business repairing and selling slot machines and also leased slot machines to gambling businesses in Ohio and Florida.
Isaiah Worlow, Steven Fluharty, and Tiffany Kerekes
Isaiah Worlow, Steven Fluharty, and Tiffany Kerekes are charged in a fifth indictment with conducting illegal gambling businesses related to Got Skillz, Skillz 777, and Café 62.
Stephanie Condric made her initial court appearance today before U.S. District Magistrate Judge Amanda M. Knapp of the Northern District of Ohio. If convicted, Condric faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for conspiring to impede and impair the functions of the IRS, five years for conspiring to own and operate an illegal gambling business, five years for conducting an illegal gambling business, and three years for subscribing a false return.
Christopher Karasarides made his initial court appearance today before U.S. District Judge Donald Nugent of the Northern District of Ohio. If convicted, Christopher Karasarides faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for the conspiracy count and three years in prison for each false tax return count.
Melissa Bragg made her initial appearance today before U.S. District Court Judge John R. Adams of the Northern District of Ohio. If convicted, she faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for owning and operating an illegal gambling business.
Michael Moneypenny made his initial appearance today before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Amanda M. Knapp of the Northern District of Ohio. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for each count of owning and operating an illegal gambling business.
Christos Karasarides, Tiffany Kerekes, Isaiah Worlow, and Steven Fluharty will make their initial appearances at a later date.
A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Interim U.S. Attorney Rebecca C. Lutzko for the Northern District of Ohio made the announcement.
IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Stark County, Ohio, Prosecutor’s Office, the U.S. Department of Treasury Office of Inspector General, Homeland Security Investigations, the Ohio Casino Control Commission, and the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission – Major Crimes Task Force are investigating the case.
Trial Attorneys Sam Bean and Richard M. Rolwing of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Howell of the Northern District of Ohio are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice