5 Michigan Women Plead Guilty to Illegal Gambling

Five women from Lansing, Michigan pleaded guilty to running an illegal gambling operation. The women ran their business under cover of what appeared to be a vacant “Max $10 Family Fashions” storefront in the Logan Square shopping center.

Only one of the five women will face felony charges. Li Deng, 54, faces up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine as the owner of the business. Deng admitted to conducting illegal gambling and willingly turned over her gambling equipment along with $68,000, according to the state attorney general's office.

Deng's four accomplices initially faced felony charges as well. Those charges have since been reduced. All four pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges. Two employees of the business, Alma Shepard, 37, and Krista Albers, 59, face two-year misdemeanor charges with the possibility of $1,000 fines each.

The two remaining employees, Cynthia Snyder, 34, and Angel Chocalas, 23, accepted lesser charges. Most of the charges against them were dismissed as part of their plea agreements. All five women are expected to be sentenced at the end of July.

According to investigators, police responded to anonymous tips that indicated there could be illegal gambling at the shopping center. They first began following the activities of the storefront in July 2017. The operation was extensive with 60 gambling machines and seven multiplayer stations for an arcade-style game.

Richard Kalm, executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board, said state gaming regulators rely on tips from the public to uncover illegal operations like these. He assured the public that Lansing Commissioners are drafting an anti-gambling ordinance.

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