RALEIGH: 3 indicted on charges of operating illegal sweepstakes - WFLA News Channel 8

3 indicted on charges of operating illegal sweepstakes

Posted: Updated:
Arken Elchicheri Arken Elchicheri
Waheeda Ammeri Waheeda Ammeri
RALEIGH, N.C. -

A Wake County grand jury indicted three people Tuesday on charges of operating illegal sweepstakes machines.

Waheeda Ammeri, Chi Hun Kim and Arken Elhicheri were indicted on charges that they "unlawfully and willfully did operate an Internet sweepstakes, a game(s) of chance at which money was bet."

Ammeri and Elhicheri turned themselves in Jan. 9.

Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby said Kim operates Treasures Sweepstakes, located at 3689 New Bern Avenue, while Ammeri and Elhicheri operate Lucky 22, located at 7440 Louisburg Road.

Kim called WNCN Wednesday to say he no longer owned Treasures Sweepstakes and sold the business in November 2012. Kim, who said he lives in Georgia, said he has not received an official indictment.

He is listed as the active "agent" on the Secretary of State's corporation documents.

Both Treasures Sweepstakes and Lucky 22 were still open and operational Wednesday afternoon.

Over the last year sweepstakes cafes have been shut down by police, and their owners and employees have been charged with violating a ban upheld by the state Supreme Court.

North Carolina lawmakers first passed a ban on video poker and all other electronic gambling in 2006. The industry quickly adapted, introducing new sweepstakes games they said complied with the law.

Lawmakers responded with new legislation in 2008 and 2010 making it unlawful to possess game terminals that simulate slot machines or are used for the display of electronic sweepstakes. The makers of sweepstakes software then sued the state, saying the ban violated their Constitutional free speech rights. The resulting court fight dragged on two years, culminating in the December 2012 Supreme Court decision upholding the ban.

After the ruling, law enforcement agencies began raiding cafes, seizing computers and making arrests.

But sweepstakes owners protested, asking lawmakers to look at new software that reveals the winners in advance, a move they say keeps them in compliance with the law.

With most sweepstakes operations, patrons buy Internet time that gives them the opportunity to uncover potential cash and prizes with mouse clicks on a computer screen.

To play at the cafes, customers get prepaid cards and then go to a computer to play "sweepstakes." Winners go back to a cashier with their cards and cash out.

The pre-reveal system software allows participants to find out if they've won before they play the game.

RELATED STORIES

  • Wake CountyMore>>

  • Cary's Green Hope named top high school in NC

    Cary's Green Hope named top high school in NC

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 10:01 PM EDT2014-04-24 02:01:12 GMT
    Cary’s Green Hope High School was named the top high school in North Carolina by the U.S. News and World Report.
    Cary’s Green Hope High School was named the top high school in North Carolina by the U.S. News and World Report.
  • More than $100k in penalties issued in NC State Fair accident

    More than $100k in penalties issued in NC State Fair accident

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 5:26 PM EDT2014-04-23 21:26:10 GMT
    Five people were injured on the Vortex when the ride jolted into motion at the 2013 N.C. State Fair.Five people were injured on the Vortex when the ride jolted into motion at the 2013 N.C. State Fair.
    The Department of Labor issued more than $100k in penalties in connection with an accident at the State Fair in 2013 that injured five people.
    The Department of Labor issued more than $100k in penalties in connection with an accident at the State Fair in 2013 that injured five people.
  • Raleigh police release photos of robbers of sweepstakes parlor

    Raleigh police release photos of robbers of sweepstakes parlor

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 4:08 PM EDT2014-04-23 20:08:46 GMT
    Raleigh police released images of two suspects said to have shot a man at an Internet sweepstakes parlor in Raleigh Wednesday on Crabtree Boulevard.

    Raleigh police released images of two suspects said to have shot a man at an Internet sweepstakes parlor in Raleigh Wednesday on Crabtree Boulevard.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 2:49 PM EDT2014-04-22 18:49:19 GMT
    Image from CNN/KHOU-TVImage from CNN/KHOU-TV
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
  • Mom wins lawsuit against TSA after breast milk screening problems

    Mom wins lawsuit against TSA after breast milk screening problems

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 4:40 PM EDT2014-04-23 20:40:54 GMT
    A Southern California woman who was held at a Phoenix airport four years ago after refusing to have her breast milk X-rayed has reached a settlement with the Transportation Security Administration. Stacey
    A Southern California woman who was held at a Phoenix airport four years ago after refusing to have her breast milk X-rayed has reached a settlement with the Transportation Security Administration. Stacey
  • Owner of Raleigh 'Party Mansion' guilty of tax evasion

    Owner of Raleigh 'Party Mansion' guilty of tax evasion

    Monday, April 14 2014 4:07 PM EDT2014-04-14 20:07:04 GMT
    Claude Verbal II, who now lives in Miami, pleads guilty to a number of federal tax evasion charges.
    Claude Verbal II, who now lives in Miami, pleads guilty to a number of federal tax evasion charges.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.