Cleveland-area Internet cafes and suppliers plead not guilty to gambling-related charges
The businesses include local internet cafes Emerald Isle in Euclid and Collinwood Cyber Cafe in Cleveland, as well as two New Jersery firms, software supplier VS2 Worldwide Communications and hardware supplier P&E Technologies.
Also entering not guilty pleas were, Akron-based Elite Entertainment, Canton-based CKare Corp. and Parma Heights-based Buresti Enterprises, all of which serve Internet cafes in Northeast Ohio.
Those arraigned before Common Pleas Judge Deena Calabrese were named earlier this month in an indictment containing charges of money laundering, conspiracy to engage in corrupt activity, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and possession of criminal tools.
Infinity 2, an Internet caf in Westlake, and its two owners will be arraigned at a later date.
County Prosecutors Timothy J. McGinty has accused VS2 of being a "multi-state Internet gambling syndicate" and has vowed to shut down the cafes, which he considers to be illegal gambling parlors.
Federal, state and local police raided six Internet cafes in Cuyahoga County on April 17, seizing video terminals and cash while searching for evidence of illegal gambling and other criminal activity.
The cafes contend they are legitimate businesses that sell internet and phone service to people who are then offered the chance to play slots-like computer games.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has also launched a special state unit to investigate the cafes.
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