Cash, homes & prison terms: Lots still at stake over illegal gambling raids in Stark (2024)

Nancy MolnarCanton Repository

Two Stark County men convicted of federal charges related to long-closed storefront gambling operations have a lot to lose at their upcoming court hearings.

In addition to the possibility that U.S. District Judge Donald C. Nugent could send Christos Karasarides Jr. and Ronald DiPietro to prison for years, both defendants stand to lose homes, cars and hundreds of thousands of dollars that jurors found to be proceeds of their crimes.

Karasarides is scheduled to be sentenced later this week and DiPietro, on June 10, in Cleveland. Karasarides has asked that his sentencing be delayed until June 10.

Their sentencing hearings before U.S. District Judge Donald Nugent will represent the culmination of a long legal battle that started with raids of Stark County gambling parlors in 2018 and included more than 1 million documents from government prosecutors alone.

Messages seeking comment were left last week with the each man's attorney and the U.S. District Attorney's Office.

Stark County gaming parlors: What could be forfeited?

Karasarides, convicted of tax evasion, gambling, money laundering, conspiracy and obstruction, faces the possible forfeiture of:

  • His home on Dunkeith Drive NW in the village of Hills and Dales, appraised at $647,600 by the Stark County Auditor’s Office.
  • Cash totaling $239,000 seized in 2018 from a bank safe deposit box in Jackson Township.
  • Another $152,768 in cash taken from the home in 2018.
  • Currency totaling $28,000 taken in 2020 from an auto business in Warrensville Heights.
  • A 2015 Cadillac Escalade and a 2012 Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

DiPietro, a certified public accountant, was convicted of conspiracy to operate an illegal gambling business, operating an illegal gambling business, tax evasion and preparing false income tax returns for Karasarides.

He stands to lose the following property that a jury found to be proceeds from his crimes:

  • His home on Foxchase Path in the city of Green, which the Summit County Fiscal Office has appraised at $640,630.
  • A house on Bellflower Avenue SW, Canton, appraised by the Stark County auditor at $82,500.
  • A total of $64,207 seized in 2018 from the Foxchase home and his accounting office at 3414 W. Tuscarawas St., Canton.
  • Two Mercedes, a 2015 and a 2017.

Skilled Shamrock and Redemption Skill Games 777 raked in millions

The value of the property DiPietro and Karasarides could lose represents far less than the millions of dollars that were taken in by three illegal gambling businesses that operated between 2009 and 2018 in Plain Township: Skilled Shamrock at 4225 Hills and Dales Road NW, Redemption Skill Games 777 at 2824-2826 Whipple Ave. NW, Plaza 777 at 2128 Columbus Road NE.

At Skilled Shamrock alone, which primarily operated slot machines, patrons gambled more than $34 million between 2012 and 2017, with the owners retaining more than $7 million, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

A government document filed in the case said the busineses “profited by setting the win percentages in each machine so that patrons lost more than they won.”

Owners used the proceeds to pay employees and other expenses in cash, then divided the profits.

Skilled Shamrock’s financial records were kept on Excel spreadsheets. Redemption's records were destroyed by the owners or employees acting under their direction, government lawyers wrote in their trial brief.

“Redemption was even busier than Skilled Shamrock and had many more slot machines so its profits were at least equal to, if not greater than, Skilled Shamrock’s,” said the filing.

“The defendants lived extravagantly as a result of their ownership of the (illegal gambling businesses),” the government’s trial brief says. “For example, Karasarides and his wife enjoyed luxury vehicles, bought and sold property, and even kept a country club membership – all paid for with proceeds .... He also engaged in expensive gambling trips. The defendants and other owners kept thousands and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash (as well as silver, in Karasarides’ case) at their homes and other properties they controlled.”

Potential prison sentences

A June 23 federal indictment stated Karasarides owed $3.1 million in taxes on income he earned gambling and from other businesses he ran.

In 2016, when Karasarides’ tax debt was $2 million, a lawyer acting on his behalf offered to settle it for $72,254. The offer stated that Karasarides “had few funds available to pay his tax liabilities and no prospect of significant future income,” the government’s trial brief said.

“All the while ... Karasarides had hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual income, which he spent on golf, gambling, real estate, funding his own ‘employment,,’ and kept as cash, among other expensive activities.”

During the years 2014 through 2018, Karasarides used proceeds from the illegal businesses to win more than $1.9 million at legal casinos as he incurred nearly $1.7 million in losses at them, court documents say.

DiPietro helped Karasarides thwart IRS collection efforts by lying to the IRS, including by preparing tax returns for Karasarides indicating Karasarides did not have the assets or income to pay his taxes. Evidence at trial also showed that Karasarides conspired to launder money from his gambling businesses to make it more difficult for the IRS to seize his home by using a straw purchaser to disguise his ownership.

Karasarides faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering, five years in prison for tax evasion, five years in prison for each count of conspiracy to operate an illegal gambling business, five years in prison for each count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, five years in prison for falsification of records, three years in prison for each count of operating an illegal gambling business, three years in prison for witness tampering and three years in prison for filing false income tax returns.

DiPietro faces up to five years in prison for conspiracy to operate an illegal gambling business, three years in prison for operating an illegal gambling business, five years in prison for tax evasion and three years in prison for each count of preparing false income tax returns.

Karasarides has past criminal convictions

Karasarides has a past criminal record for the judge to consider in sentencing.

He was incarcerated on 2014 convictions for money laundering and drug possession. He was released from federal custody in early 2015 with conditions that he was to get a full-time job in a lawful occupation and not participate in any form of legal or illegal gambling.

Federal prosecutors alleged that he created the illusion of legal employment by funding his own salary at a friend’s phone service company.

“A related aspect of Karasarides’ ploy to stay out of prison while on supervision was failing to disclose to his probation officers that he was engaged in running (illegal gambling businesses) and/or personal gambling," the government's trial brief said. He was arrested for violations of supervised release on July 11, 2018, when federal agents served search warrants on his home.

The prosecution's trial brief recaps Karasarides criminal history, including these aspects of his past:

  • He filed untimely and/or false and misleading tax returns between 2009 through 2015.
  • He owned and operated other illegal gambling businesses in Ohio and similar businesses in Florida.
  • He was convicted in 2005 of money laundering and operating a gambling house located in Stark County.
  • He was convicted in 2014 of money laundering involving his illegal bookmaking business.

The government trial brief says DiPietro's past includes:

  • Helping to file false and misleading tax returns for another defendant in the federal gambling case.
  • Leasing, through his company, gambling and slot machines.

Case closed: Stark County men convicted of running illegal gambling operations following 2018 raids

Christos Karasarides Jr. charged: Feds reveal indictment against fifth defendant in skill game parlor case

July 2023: Federal prosecutors charge 7 more defendants in Stark County skills games cases

The big picture: Feds want cash, cars, homes from Stark County skill games raids

Just prior to the January trial at which Karasarides and DiPietro were convicted, co-defendant Thomas Helmick, who served as a paper owner of one of Karasarides’ illegal gambling businesses, pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States. Helmick faces up to five years in prison during his sentencing hearing on May 2.

Helmick is Karasarides' nephew, according to court documents filed in the case.

During the course of the trial, another co-defendant, Christopher Karasarides, pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States by executing false documents and acting as a named owner for some of Christos Karasarides’ assets.

Christopher Karasarides, Christos' son, is scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

A married couple from Canton, Jason and Rebecca Kachner, also pleaded guilty in the same federal case.

Rebecca Kachner was sentenced to two years in a federal prison on one count of defrauding the U.S. government. She was ordered to pay $1.18 million in restitution, which are unpaid income taxes and interest on proceeds from illegal gambling establishments from 2012 to 2017. She also forfeited $241,266 she had put in a Louisville YMCA locker.

Jason Kachner is to be sentenced June 18 on two counts of tax fraud.

Reach Nancy at 330-580-8382 or On X, formerly known as Twitter: @nmolnarTR.

Cash, homes & prison terms: Lots still at stake over illegal gambling raids in Stark (2024)


Who are the two Ohio men convicted of gambling and tax offenses? ›

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, between 2009 and 2018, Christos Karasarides Jr. and Ronald DiPietro, together with others, operated multiple illegal gambling businesses, including Skilled Shamrock, as part of an organized criminal operation.

Is gambling at home illegal? ›

Illegal gaming is a misdemeanor carrying up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1000. Though gambling becomes a crime whenever there is a “bank” or “house” that collects funds or takes a “rake.” All gaming participants face being arrested, including players, dealers, and hosts.

How much money can you win gambling without paying taxes in Ohio? ›

Ohio Sports Betting Tax Overview

Ohio sports betting sites are supposed to withhold 24% of winnings for federal tax purposes whenever a sports bettor wins $5,000 or more in Ohio.

Who controls gambling in Ohio? ›

The Ohio Casino Control Commission has the responsibility to ensure the integrity of casino gaming, sports gaming, skill-based amusem*nt machines and fantasy contests by licensing, regulating, investigating and enforcing state laws.

What state is gambling illegal? ›

National Collegiate Athletic Association). If state-run lotteries are included, then 48 states allow some form of gambling (the exceptions are Hawaii, where gambling was outlawed prior to statehood, and Utah, which has a Latter-day Saint majority population and also bans gambling in the state constitution).

In what states is it illegal to gamble in your own home? ›

Some people decide to cut out the middle man and buy a slot machine of their own to enjoy while at home. Unfortunately, unless the machine is an antique that is older than 25 years, this is illegal in the state of California.

Why is taking a rake illegal? ›

Legality. In most legal jurisdictions, taking a rake from a poker table is explicitly illegal if the party taking the rake does not have the proper gaming licences and permits. The laws of many jurisdictions do not prohibit the playing of poker for money at a private dwelling, provided that no one takes a rake.

How many Ohioans are problem gamblers? ›

More than 1.8 million adult residents in Ohio can be categorized as at risk for problem gambling (low, moderate and Disordered Gambling). The number of people estimated to have a Gambling Disorder increased to 2.8% – or approximately 255,000 Ohioans.

What is the penalty for illegal gambling in Ohio? ›

Gambling penalties are listed under this specific section of Ohio law and are paraphrased below: § 2915.02 Gambling – Those that are found guilty of gambling will be charged with a first degree misdemeanor. Those that have prior gambling offenses on their record will be charged with a fifth degree felony offense.

What are the charges for gambling in Ohio? ›

Also, the state allows certain charitable and non-profit organizations to engage in limited gambling for fundraising efforts, such as raffles and bingo. Anyone caught cheating in any form of gambling may be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of at least $1,000.

What charge is cheating in gambling? ›

California Penal Code Section 332 PC makes it illegal to fraudulently obtain money or property through gaming. This law prohibits cheating in gambling games, using tricks or devices to win bets, and defrauding others through fortune telling.


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