When one thinks of gambling, it is not usually Utah that comes to mind. But a Millcreek man bucked this trend, running an illegal gambling operation that netted him $8 million a year.
The sign on the outside of the driving school read “CDL Training Center,” but police allege that inside the man was running an illegal gambling operation. Another sign read, ‘You are at the right place. Please come in and play.’
The operation was discovered when undercover detectives from the Millcreek Street Crimes division of Unified Police entered a facility to play slot machines.
“Once you enter that room, the atmosphere is dark and it feels like a casino,” explained one detective who was involved in the undercover operations.
Upon further investigation, detectives discovered that the owner was running casino style games in eight different locations across the county. When customers won, they would go to the cash register where they were paid.
According to another detective involved in the case, “We were receiving information that there were payouts of upwards to $200, $300 at a time. It became very entertaining for somebody to go to these locations and take a risk to see if they can become a winner.”
Besides gambling, law enforcement officials report that other forms of criminal activity were discovered. “We were seeing hand to hand drug deals,” said SGT Mike Mays of the Unified Police. “We were stopping vehicles with narcotics inside the vehicle or within a possession with people.”
When police raided the businesses, the owner fled. He is still at large. In addition to gambling charges, the owner faces charges of tax evasion and money laundering. Five employees of the gambling operations could face their own misdemeanor and felony charges, as police are checking if they were involved in the driving school or in the illegal activities.
UPD Detective Kevin Mallory added, “We are going to talk to the landlord as well as other businesses to get an idea of how long this has been going on here.”