Flint-area Men Convicted in Illegal Video Poker Operations
Attorney General Bill Schuette and Michigan State Police Director Colonel Kriste Kibbey Etue today announced felony convictions for two men who served as the ringleaders of an extensive illegal video poker operation in Flint-area bars. The convictions are the culmination of a crackdown by the Michigan State Police, the Michigan Gaming Control Board and the Attorney General's office, which previously resulted in criminal convictions against the 37 other defendants for their roles in the illegal gambling operation in Genesee County.
"Strengthening public safety is a critical step toward the region’s economic recovery," said Schuette. "Through sustained cooperation with local, state and federal law enforcement officials, we are making progress toward a new Michigan, where our communities are safe."
"Illegal gambling is a crime we will not tolerate," stated Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the Michigan State Police. "I applaud the Attorney General and the Michigan Gaming Control Board for working with us to crack down on illegal gaming operations that threaten public safety and cheat the State."
Michael Paul Kremski, 55, of Grand Blanc, plead guilty to two counts of violating the Gaming Control and Revenue Act, a ten-year felony, and paid a $200,000 fine, the largest to date for such a criminal violation. Kremski was also sentenced to five years probation and will forfeit an additional $80,000 to the Michigan State Police, for his role running illegal casinos using video-poker machines throughout Genesee County.
His employee, Robert Allen Murray, 54, of Flint, pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Gaming Control and Revenue Act, a ten-year felony, and will serve three years probation and pay a $10,000 fine.
Both were sentenced on July 23, 2012 by Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Archie Hayman.
From January 2007 to November 2007, Michael Kremski expanded the operations of his Vending Machine Company, Advanced Coin, to include the sale and distribution of illegal video poker machines to Flint-area bars. In addition to selling the video poker machines, Kremski instructed bar owners on how to run an illegal gambling operation.
Kremski assisted the bar owners with cash flow by providing bags of money for large jackpots. His employee, Robert Murray, played the role of a "runner," who would travel from bar to bar, collecting cash from the machines and splitting the proceeds 50-50 with the bar owners. Several bar owners previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the operation.
"Allowing bar owners to conduct illegal gambling that is unregulated and relies upon machines designed to maximize profits to a few individuals feeds organized crime," said Rick Kalm, Director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board. "Michigan citizens should beware - not only do the odds heavily favor the distributors and bar owners, but the public has no recourse when ripped off, since the activity is illegal."
"I would like to thank the Michigan State Police for their assistance and cooperation in this investigation in order to shut down illegal gambling operations in Flint," said Schuette.
In total, 37 defendants, including Kremski and Murray, bar owners and bar employees, were each convicted for their roles in the illegal gambling operation.
Michigan's Penal Code and the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act strictly prohibit unregulated gambling. The only gambling authorized under state law includes pari-mutuel horse racing, bingo, the state-sponsored lottery, charity "millionaire parties" and casino gambling operated by individuals licensed under the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act.
Michigan citizens are encouraged to report any suspicious or illegal gambling to the Michigan Gaming Control Board by calling their 24-hour anonymous tip line, 888-314-2682.