Authorities in West Palm Beach on Sept. 14 uncovered an illegal gambling operation allegedly run by two men from Arkansas.
Dilpreet Singh, 38, and Albaro Lemus, 30, face charges on several counts of gambling-related crimes. In addition, Singh is accused of fraud-money laundering under $20,000, and Lemus faces conspiracy charges.
Florida doesn’t allow skill-based slots which give out money or other things of value to winners, rendering these gambling houses illegal.
These charges are a continuation of Florida’s current policy. One of the first actions of the recently-created Florida Gaming Control Commission was to crack down on these gray area slot machine facilities.
A release by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said the illicit gambling took place at All Kings Arcade. It’s on Okeechobee Boulevard, just east of N. Congress Avenue. The business fronted as “Rodz Arcade.”
Police conducted undercover operations
After a tip, authorities conducted several undercover walk-thru’s and transactions in July and August. Investigators discovered the adult arcade housed Las Vegas-style video slot machines for cash prizes. Therefore, the owners are running an illegal gambling den.
Authorities found 30 slot machines inside the establishment.
During their walk-thru inspection, one undercover agent won $4.15, while another lost $7.95. A third agent won $111 in cash. That large cash payout became the smoking gun.
Although Singh and Lemus reside in Arkansas, both had working addresses in West Palm Beach. The two men took turns working as arcade managers while the other visited family in Arkansas.
Arcade had no business license
Investigations revealed the arcade had been operating without a valid business license in Palm Beach County. The county sent a code enforcement team to inspect the site and uncovered several violations.
A worker at the establishment, asked by the Palm Beach County Code Enforcement whether the business operated legally, said it did thanks to the “Chuck-E-Cheese Law.” The law, passed in 1996, says that if a machine pays out tokens or coupons valued at $5 or less, it is legal.
Authorities said the business was paying its employees in cash. Evidence of the company making payments to the IRS for federal withholding tax, Social Security tax or Medicare tax for employees were non-existent. Furthermore, investigators found no records of the business having a payroll, or paying its dues to the Florida Department of Labor.
One suspect filed a robbery report in June
Arrest reports showed that banking records seized by investigators indicated ties to All Kings Arcade but not Hot Rodz Arcade. Lemus allegedly made more than $10,000 worth of cash deposits. Then in June, he filed a robbery report, claiming that a frequent customer stole the money bag while he and another employee were busy emptying the arcade machines of their winnings.
Investigators hold strong assumptions that people working at the business had knowledge of the criminal activities and were therefore complicit in it. The workers used cash to disguise the audit trail of the illicit money. They used the bank transactions for “laundering of proceeds derived from the illicit activity such as illegal gambling.”
Singh and Lemus are presently out on bail.