Five in Lansing pled guilty to illegal gambling

The Detroit News
Michigan Attorney General seal

Five people in Lansing pled guilty this week to illegal gambling following an investigation by the state Attorney General's office, the Michigan State Police and the Gaming Control Board.

The Lansing residents were part of a gambling operation inside a vacant store at the Logan Square shopping center in Lansing.

Li Deng, 54, pleaded guilty on June 6 to conducting a gambling operation, a 10-year felony. The business owner faces a $100,000 fine at her sentencing and she agreed to forfeit $67,754 in gambling equipment.

Alma Shepard, 37, and Krista Albers, 59, employees of the operation, both pleaded guilty to a two-year misdemeanor charge of keeping a gambling house. Two other employees, Cynthia Snyder, 34, and Angel Chocalas, 23, pleaded guilty to a one-year misdemeanor charge of attempted keeping a gambling house.

Investigators visited the business multiple times and verified the allegations, the Michigan Gaming Control Board said.  In July 2017, approximately 60 gaming terminals were seized when a search warrant was executed at the location.

In addition, investigators seized seven so-called “fish” gaming stations, which allow multiple patrons to gamble at the same time. Original charges in the case were filed by the attorney general's office in October. Sentencing is set for July 25.

"Lansing City Council recognizes the seriousness of this crime and plans to vote next week on a local illegal gambling ordinance," said Richard Kalm, the executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board.