ST. GEORGE – A year-old prosecution of “two complex gambling organizations” by the state has resulted in the conviction of two companies and two men for promoting gambling.
The Utah Attorney General’s Office announced Tuesday that ITM Management LLC and WC Management LLC, as well as Pierre Marcoux, of Florida, and John Honeycutt, of Weber County, were convicted in relation to the placement of illegal gambling machines in 118 businesses across the state, including Iron and Washington counties.
The businesses targeted by a statewide law enforcement sting last year included multiple gas stations, small markets, ethnic markets and restaurants. Each had machines described by investigators as “slot machines,” “coin pushing machines” or “coin pushers.”
The sting operation identified up to 500 suspect machines across the state.
Users of the machines either directly inserted cash or used tokens or “value cards” purchased from a store clerk to operate the machines, Leo Lucey, chief criminal investigator with the Attorney General’s Office, said following the sting. However, the common ingredient that made the machines illegal was the payout.
“In the end, they are paid out in cash,” Lucey said, “either directly by the machine or by the clerk at the counter.”
An investigation into suspected gambling activity began in summer 2016 when three Utah legislators approached the Utah Attorney General’s Office with concerns raised by constituents concerning the machines.
“These illicit gambling operations involved and attracted other types of illegal conduct, causing local law enforcement and city attorneys serious concerns,” Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said in Tuesday’s announcement.
“The city prosecutors approached us along with legislators, including Rep. Justin Fawson, Sen. Curtis Bramble, and Rep. Norman Thurston to conduct a statewide investigation. We appreciate working with all of these partners to serve justice.”
The Utah Attorney General’s Office seized over $900,000 in illicit proceeds, setting an important precedent as to some types of machines and video gaming devices that violate Utah’s gaming statutes.
According to the Utah Attorney General’s Office, ITM Management and WC Management were each convicted of five misdemeanor counts of promoting gambling and five misdemeanor counts of possession of a gambling device and both fined $10,000.
They were also required to remove all machines and gambling devices across Utah.
Marcoux and Honeycutt were also convicted of two misdemeanor counts of promoting gambling and one felony count of money laundering, with a plea in abeyance on the latter charge.
The investigation was spearheaded by Special Agent James Russell of the Utah Attorney General’s Office’s Investigation Division in partnership with numerous law enforcement agencies and divisions, including county and city police.
Among those participating police agencies in Southern Utah were the Cedar City, St. George, Hurricane and Washington City police departments, as well as the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
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