Trish Bennett, Editor
CIRCLEVILLE – Four people have now been indicted in connection with an alleged illegal casino operation at Spinners on U.S. Route 23.
Stephen S. Cline, 69, of Walnut Creek Pike, Ashville, co-owner of the business registered as Pickaway County Skilled Gaming LLC, dba Spinners, was originally indicted June 5 by the Pickaway County Grand Jury on one count of operating a gambling house after cash, documents and 143 gaming machines were seized from the business April 3.
Upon further investigation, the original indictment was dismissed, and Cline was re-indicted Aug. 7 on state organized crime charges of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, along with three counts of money laundering, six counts of operation of an illegal casino and one count of possession of criminal tools.
His wife, Judith A. Cline, 68, also a co-owner of the business, was indicted Aug. 7 on charges including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, three counts of money laundering, three counts of operation of an illegal casino and one count of possession of criminal tools.
Kimberly J. Haller, an employee of the business, also is charged with two counts of operation of an illegal casino.
All three suspects pleaded not guilty to their charges Wednesday in Pickaway County Common Pleas Court and are set for pretrial hearings on Sept. 18.
A fourth suspect, whose name is being withheld until service of her indictment can be confirmed, faces one count of operation of an illegal casino.
According to the indictment, if convicted, the Clines face prison sentences and fines for the felony charges as well as the forfeiture of $295,606.98 in U.S. currency from the business, along with a 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe, a 2012 Chevrolet Equinox, a 1987 Sea Ray boat, a 1994 GMC Sierra, a 1999 Monaco motor home, a 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee, a 1968 Chevrolet Corvette, a 1965 Chevrolet Corvette, a 2013 GMC Sierra and the property at 24753 U.S. Route 23 that housed the business.
According to Sheriff Robert Radcliff, investigators removed two and a half semi trailers full of slot machines from the business and at least a pickup truck full of documents and other items from Cline’s home at 14270 Walnut Creek Pike when search warrants were executed at the two locations April 3.
He said the investigation began just before the first of the year when investigators started receiving complaints about cash payments being made from slot machines at the business. Such payments are only permitted at Ohio’s four land-based casinos.
The investigation was conducted by the Ohio Casino Control Commission, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office and the Pickaway County Prosecutor’s office.
This article originally appeared on The Pickaway News Journal