Trish Bennett, Editor
CIRCLEVILLE – An Ashville man who pleaded guilty in February to running an illegal casino operation at Spinners was sentenced to five years of community control Wednesday in Pickaway County Common Pleas Court.
Stephen S. Cline, 69, of Walnut Creek Pike, Ashville, also must pay a $10,000 fine and was ordered to forfeit $160,000 in cash, a 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee and a 2013 GMC Sierra as the result of his guilty plea to one count of operation of an illegal casino and one count of money laundering, according to Jayme Fountain, assistant county prosecutor.
He also was ordered to have no further involvement with any sort of gambling machines or operation, Fountain said.
Cline was originally charged on April 3, 2015, after cash, documents and 143 gaming machines were seized from the Spinners business on U.S. Route 23. He was indicted June 5, 2015, but the original indictment was dismissed, and he was reindicted Aug. 7, 2015, on state organized crime charges of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, three counts of money laundering, six counts of operation of an illegal casino and one count of possession of criminal tools. He also faced the forfeiture of $295,606.98 in cash, along with seven vehicles, one motor home, one boat and the property that housed the business on U.S. Route 23.
Similar charges against Judith A. Cline, his wife and co-owner of the business, along with employees Kimberly J. Haller and Gail L. Compston, were dropped in exchange for the guilty plea in February.
The investigation of the Spinners operation began near the end of 2014 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