Last year’s statewide sting into illegal gambling machines results in convictions

In this file photo, machines at the Chevron on 990 W. Buena Vista Blvd., as well as other establishments statewide, were locked down by the Utah Attorney General's Office during a sting operation, Washington City, Utah, March 2, 2017 | Photo by Mike Cole, St. George News

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.

In this file photo, machines at the Chevron on 990 W. Buena Vista Blvd., as well as other establishments statewide, were locked down by the Utah Attorney General’s Office during a sting operation, Washington City, Utah, March 2, 2017 | Photo by Mike Cole, St. George News

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.

Read more: Statewide sting targets illegal gambling machines

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.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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11 Comments

  • Overwatch March 23, 2018 at 8:14 am

    It is so nice to see St George News follow up on stories from the past and the outcomes. Especially convictions. What ever happened to the 12 bikers that were arrested for riots and stabbings at the bar a few years back? It was all over the statewide news? Never did see in your paper how many were convicted??

  • Nikki March 23, 2018 at 8:20 am

    It is so nice to see St George News following up with stories they covered from the past. Especially convictions. What ever happened to the 12 bikers that were arrested from the bar for riot and stabbing people? Where there any convictions in that case? It was covered by you and all the media heavily.

    • comments March 23, 2018 at 12:48 pm

      These 2 said almost the exact same thing with slightly dif wording, even almost at the same time. Scary coincidence or the same dude twice?

      • Nikki March 23, 2018 at 3:17 pm

        Same dude twice. Just didn’t think they were letting my first comment go through. They have a history of not allowing my comments. My apologies.

      • Nikki March 23, 2018 at 3:20 pm

        Just want to see if they will do the same type of article when everything in their first series of articles turns out to be false. For the record, not one person was convicted. In fact, the city was sued, along with members of the gang task force. But of course none of that was ever reported on.

        • comments March 23, 2018 at 6:09 pm

          Well, they have a fairly small staff and prob don’t have the resources to do a lot of investigative reporting. A lot of stories are fully based on press releases from the police depts, etc. If you wanted to write up a report on it and include valid sources they may even consider publishing it.

          • Nikki March 23, 2018 at 10:39 pm

            I am the one that filed a lawsuit against the City of St George, a St George police officer and Washington county. The paper followed all the legal proceedings right up until the DA started to drop all the criminal charges against the defendants. The DA had to take one person to trial. This paper and all the other papers that ran sensational stories about the police investigation and arrests failed to report a not guilty verdict. I offered to turn over all the evidence my Private Investigator collect. All the reports my experts put together on the incompetent police investigation that was conducted by SGPD. I contacted the editor of this paper. Nothing….
            You are correct. This papers stories are fully based on press releases from the police depts. Hard to believe sometimes the police have an agenda and get it wrong. And that is my point. Journalism in this country is dead. It is not about the truth. It is about clicks and ad revenues. Journalist used to be a check to the powerful in this country. That is no longer the case. Even for a small town paper.

  • ladybugavenger March 23, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    Those claw machines at walmart are more of a gamble than those coin machines lol you can rip people of for 75 cents a shot, rig the machine, pay out a $1.00 toy and it’s all fun and games. You put 75 cents in a coin machine in hopes of moving those quarters so they fall of the edge and into your pocket and you’re now gambling and illegal.

    I love casinos! I always win but the trick is, and ill tell you the trick, the trick is to leave when you win. Sometimes it’s more than other times. But if you leave with their money, even a dollar, then you have beat the casino 😁

    • Chris March 23, 2018 at 4:31 pm

      anyone who says they “always win” is a liar. You have a fundamental misunderstanding of probability if you think it is possible to “always win.”

      • ladybugavenger March 23, 2018 at 5:38 pm

        You’re Right! There was that one time that the machine didn’t even give me back money to play on. It ate my $20 like I eat candy (gobble gobble) but today I put In $2 and got $6. But I didn’t follow my own advice and kept on playing…..

        Mostly I win, I just choose to keep on playing, against my own advice. But I’m not a high roller, $50 is about the highest I’m willing to lose…..but one day! I’ll save up to take more. Might go to Vegas soon, my husband’s playing pool tournaments out here and it might lead to a Vegas trip……what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas ( lol…that really means, you take your money to Vegas and it stays in Vegas) #1 rule never talk about your losses.

        Thanks Chris! This was fun! You’re absolutely correct! Whenever someone says they won $10,000 they will never tell you what they really spent to get it lol. I should really keep track of my losses in case I win big and then I can write off my losses! But really Chris, I do win pennies, I’m just greedy and want more lol

  • Mike P March 24, 2018 at 11:43 am

    Something “fishy” going on here in the comments section………….

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