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MGCB investigation of Flint storefront casino leads to two arraigned

Following a joint investigation by the Michigan Department of Attorney General and Michigan Gaming Control Board, two defendants accused of operating a Flint storefront casino were recently arraigned on eight charges in 67th District Court located at 630 South Saginaw Street in Flint.

Felony gambling warrants were issued on 15 February for Linos Antonio Kas-Mikha, 52, of Grand Blanc, and Robert Jamerson, 55, of Saginaw. Each is facing four felony charges — one count for running a gambling operation without a license, two counts for using computers to commit a crime, and one count for maintaining a gambling house for gain at Cellular Bank, located at 4622 N. Saginaw Street in Flint.

The Cellular Bank housed 11 standalone slot machines, like those seen in a commercial casino, and 13 computers used to play slot-style games. The business also provided patrons a card with a PIN, allowing them to wager online from offsite locations such as their residences.

“Holding those who choose to break the law and run alleged illegal gambling operations accountable for their actions is paramount to ensuring the safety and integrity of our neighborhoods,” MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams said. “By enforcing strict regulations and prosecuting offenders, we strive to maintain a gaming environment that is not only enjoyable, but also adheres to the principles of fairness, legality, and community safety.”

Under the law, the criminal charges are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Both accused have been arraigned — Kas-Mikha on 21 February and Jamerson on 28 February — and posted personal bond in the amounts of $25,000 and $50,000, respectively. A probable cause hearing took place on 29 February for Kas-Mikha and 7 March for Jamerson. Both had hearings scheduled for 14 March at 8:30 a.m. in 67th District Court.

The owner of Cellular Bank, Abdulmunem Ghrer of Toledo, Ohio, also owns the business located at 3301 Corunna Road in Flint, where The Cellular Vault was located. “The Vault,” as the locals knew it, also operated under the business names of The Flint Arcade and the Corunna Road Arcade at the same location. Raids were conducted at both of Ghrer’s properties over the past two years:

– 28 August 2022: 4622 N. Saginaw Street at Cellular Bank

  • Confiscated: 11 standalone slot machines and 13 computers, and $7,568.52 in winnings and gambling proceeds. Authorities also found a card with a PIN allowing betting online from offsite locations.

– 18 August 2022: 3301 Corunna Road at The Cellular Vault

  • Confiscated: 43 computers used for gambling and $2,572.48 in winnings and gambling proceeds.

– 23 August 2023: 3301 Corunna Road at The Flint Arcade

  • Confiscated: 50 gambling devices and $13,260 in suspected gambling proceeds.

On 29 August 2023, Williams traveled to Flint and met with Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley and State Rep. Cynthia Neeley (D-Flint) to discuss strategies to help deter and crack down on illegal gaming operations in the city, and particularly how establishments like The Cellular Vault, which continued to operate under different names, tarnish the reputations of regulated, legitimate gaming establishments.

Under Michigan law, any building that is used for the purpose of lewdness, assignation, prostitution, or gambling is declared a nuisance, per MCL 600.3801. The City of Flint has since filed a complaint at the 7th Judicial Circuit Court in Genesee County to abate a nuisance of an illegal gambling den against Ghrer and his businesses at 3301 Corunna Road in Flint.

“Illegal gambling operations harm the public health and safety of our community by creating environments where bad actors can prey on vulnerable people,” Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley said. “The City of Flint is seeking forfeiture of another building allegedly used for illegal gambling activity with the intent to return it to a positive use for Flint residents. I want to thank the Michigan Gaming Control Board for taking strong action to protect Flint residents from people who seek to profit from the pain of our community.”

The relief being sought by the city includes the requests that the building be abated with all its contents removed and sold, closed, and not used for any purpose for one year, and forfeited to the City of Flint. It also asks that Ghrer be banned from engaging in any other nuisance in any other building or place in Genesee County.

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