Illegal Gaming Company Allegedly Laundered
More than $1 Million in Proceeds
SALEM – Four individuals have been charged in connection with operating an illegal gaming and money laundering scheme through a North Andover company, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
The company, Four Star Vending, Inc., and its owners, William Morley, age 62, and his wife Bonnie Morley, age 53, both of Middleton, were arraigned in Essex Superior Court today on the charges of Keeping a Place for Registering Bets (one count), Organizing and Promoting Gambling (one count), Unlawful Operation of a Gaming Device (one count), Money Laundering (one count) and Conspiracy (three counts).
At the arraignment, the Morleys pleaded not guilty to the charges and were released on personal recognizance. They are due back in Essex Superior Court for a pretrial conference on June 5. Four Star Vending and the Morleys were indicted by a Statewide Grand Jury on March 27.
Authorities allege that the Morleys, through Four Star Vending, were distributing illegal gaming devices – which can be described as video slot and poker machines played for cash payouts – to bars, social clubs and other such establishments throughout Massachusetts and into New York. Authorities allege that employees of Four Star regularly traveled to these establishments to collect the proceeds from the slot machines and shared the profits from the gaming machines with the owners of the establishments that housed the machines.
“We allege the owners and employees of this gaming company used their business as a front to illegally launder over a million dollars for their own profit,” AG Healey said. “The charges today are the culmination of a months-long joint investigation with our partners in law enforcement, and we will continue to work with them to investigate and prosecute those who commit these crimes and operate schemes using unregulated and illegal gambling machines.”
Four Star Vending employee Richard Calhoun, age 50, of Peabody, was previously indicted by a Statewide Grand Jury on March 27 on the charges of Keeping a Place for Registering Bets (one count), Unlawful Operation of a Gaming Device (one count), and Conspiracy (two counts). He will be arraigned in Essex Superior Court at a later date.
Anthony Mazzola, age 56, of Newton, a manager at one of the social clubs operating Four Star gaming machines, was also indicted by a Statewide Grand Jury on March 27. He was charged with Keeping a Place for Registering Bets (one count), Unlawful Operation of a Gaming Device (one count), and Conspiracy (two counts). He will be arraigned in Essex Superior Court on May 9.
“These illegal gaming devices, placed in social clubs and other locations, allowed the defendants to pick the pockets of countless unsuspecting patrons,” Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said. “Along with our law enforcement partners, we will hold these defendants and any others who engage in illegal gaming accountable.”
“Illegal gambling siphons revenue from legitimate, regulated games like those offered by the state Lottery,” Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg said. “Our Lottery operates under strict rules of transparency and delivers its profits to every city and town across the Commonwealth in the form of unrestricted local aid. I stand with the Attorney General in rooting out any unsanctioned activities or fraudulent machines that put consumers and state revenues at risk.”
“I thank the men and women of the Massachusetts State Police, the Essex County District Attorney’s Office, and the Attorney General’s Office for their diligence throughout the investigation that led to today’s indictments,” said Michael Sweeney, Executive Director of the Massachusetts State Lottery. “Inherently, illegal gambling is predatory gambling and the Lottery is glad to have played a role in removing these machines and protecting consumers and business owners alike.”
In addition to distributing illegal slot machines, Four Star was also supplying and servicing ATMs, jukeboxes, vending machines, and other amusement devices to its customers. The company allegedly used this part of its business as a means for laundering the illegal gaming proceeds.
A joint investigation into Four Star Vending by Massachusetts State Police troopers assigned to AG Healey’s Office and the Massachusetts State Lottery, as well as the Essex County District Attorney’s Office, yielded considerable evidence of the company’s illegal gaming and money laundering operation including 200 gaming machines, approximately $1.4 million in illegal proceeds and 11 vehicles used to facilitate the criminal activity.
These charges are allegations and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Gina Masotta and Thomas Caldwell of AG Healey’s Gaming Enforcement Division along with Special Assistant Attorney General Phil Mallard of the Essex County District Attorney’s Office. Essex County Assistant District Attorney Frank MacDonald is handling the asset forfeiture component of the case. The investigation was conducted by troopers and civilian investigators assigned to the Massachusetts State Police Gaming Enforcement Division, the Massachusetts State Lottery, Special Service Section, Essex County District Attorney’s Office, Gang Unit and Technical Surveillance Unit, Financial Investigator Krista Roche and other investigators assigned to the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office Gaming Enforcement Division, the Essex County District Attorney’s Office, the Alcohol and Beverage Control Commission of the Massachusetts Treasurer’s Office, and the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Lab. The investigation received support and assistance from the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.