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St. Clair Co. man to be sentenced in 2nd illegal gambling operation

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

A St. Clair County man convicted of running an illegal gambling operation in Roseville will be sentenced next month for running a similar business in Flint Township, state officials said Wednesday.

David Hoppe, 57, of East China Township is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 12 before Genesee County Circuit Judge Mark Latchana for conducting illegal gambling activities and using a computer to commit a felony, according to the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

He faces up to 10 years in prison for each charge and is free on a $70,000 bond, according to court records. 

“Gambling is a highly regulated activity in Michigan, and the MGCB and law enforcement agencies are serious about protecting citizens from illegal operators, who often are tied to organized crime,” Richard Kalm, the state gaming board's executive director, said in a statement. “Communities do not benefit from illegal gambling, but legal gambling supports schools and communities through taxes and revenue-sharing payments.”

Hoppe pleaded guilty Aug. 19 to two charges for his involvement in a Flint Township business called Spin City. Four other charges against Hoppe — three counts of aiding and abetting an illegal gambling operation and a count of racketeering by conducting a criminal enterprise at multiple locations — were dismissed.

Investigators said Hoppe supplied illegal gambling games to Spin City between May 2017 and February 2019. The establishment offered nearly 30 illegal slot-style gaming stations, according to the Michigan Attorney General's Office.

Attorney General Dana Nessel also charged three other people involved with running Spin City.

“Illegal gambling only serves to hurt our communities by diverting the taxes and revenue that would otherwise be derived from legal gambling operations and used to support the functions of our state and schools,” Nessel said in a statement. “Gambling regulations are in place for a reason and those who attempt to sidestep those rules will be held accountable.”

In 2018, Nessel filed charges against Hoppe and his son, Lucas Hoppe, in connection with an illegal gambling operation at the 777 Café in Roseville. Officials said Wednesday the uncertified gambling machines found at Spin City were similar to those investigators found found at the 777 Café.

MoreFather, son to be sentenced in illegal gambling operation in Roseville

A Macomb County Circuit Court jury in January found Hoppe guilty of running an illegal gambling operation, using computers to commit a crime and maintaining a gambling house for gain, a misdemeanor. A judge sentenced him in March to one year of probation and 40 hours of community service, according to court records.

His son, Lucas, pleaded guilty in January to the attempted running of an illegal gambling operation. He was sentenced in March to a year of probation.

David Hoppe has a history with illegal gambling machines, according to the gaming board.

In 2013, he pleaded guilty in a Port Huron district court to maintaining a gaming or gambling place, a misdemeanor. As part of a plea deal, he agreed he would not make available to the public any gaming machines not certified as non-gambling devices by gaming board. In exchange, a 10-year felony charge of conducting a gambling operation where wagering was used without a license was dismissed.

cramirez@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez