Three arrests have been made, civil racketeering complaints filed, and five locations searched in a Georgia Bureau of Investigation gambling investigation.
“The Georgia Bureau of Investigation executed five search warrants in Bibb County for the violation of Georgia's gambling laws, racketeering, money laundering and related offenses,” said District Attorney David Cooke at a press conference Tuesday.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation searched three businesses, an annex and a Macon home where they suspected illegal gambling.
The businesses raided were the Shell Food Mart on Riverside Drive in north Macon, Poplar Mart on Poplar Street downtown and Lizella Supermarket on Holley Road in West Bibb.
Cooke says all the locations used coin operated video machines, but instead of giving winning customers store merchandise or lottery tickets -- they were getting cash payouts.
Cooke says the Shell Food Mart on Riverside Drive and the Lizella Supermarket had millions of dollars coming through.
"Customers gambled approximately $25,000,000 or about $700,000 per month over a 3-year period from April 2014 to May 2017. These businesses failed to pay in excess of $1,000,000 to the state and local governments,” said Cooke.
He says at Poplar Mart, on Poplar Street, customers gambled over $53,000 a month over a two-year period. The winnings totaled around $900,000. He said the store did not pay $100,000 in taxes and also filed fraudulent returns to the state.
Cooke says he has filed civil racketeering complaints against people connected with the gambling.
According to the Bibb County Jail’s inmate website Soon Cha, Hung Park and Myoung Park have all been arrested.
Cha was charged with racketeering, two counts of commercial gambling and evading currency transaction report requirements.
Hun Park and Myoung Park were charged with commercial gambling.
"We're going to vigorously enforce the law to the best of our ability. We're not going to be deterred and we're going to do everything we can to keep this community safe,” said Cooke.