Ohio Skill Game Operators Gets 30 Years for Illegal Gambling, Tax Evasion

Posted on: June 12, 2024, 10:43h. 

Last updated on: June 12, 2024, 10:57h.

Two Ohio skill-game parlor owners have been handed hefty prison sentences after being found guilty of numerous crimes related to their illegal gambling operations.

Christos Karasarides Jr., Ronald DiPietro, Skilled Shamrock, Redemption Skill Games 777, Canton, Ohio
Redemption Skill Games 777 in Canton, Ohio was one of the properties secretly owned by Christos Karasarides, who went to great lengths to conceal his interest in the business from the IRS. (Image: The Repository)

Christos Karasarides Jr., 59, owned the Canton-area gaming parlor the Skilled Shamrock. With Ronald DiPietro, 65, he co-owned Redemption Skill Games 777, and others.

Last Friday, Karasarides was sentenced to more than 21 years in prison for charges including tax evasion, money laundering, illegal gambling, and obstruction. DiPietro received nine years and four months on illegal gambling and tax charges.

Under Ohio law, skill games aren’t permitted to offer cash payouts, only gift cards with a value no greater than $10. Karasarides’ and DiPietro’s businesses were flouting those rules and raking in millions.

The Skilled Shamrock alone generated revenues of about $34 million between 2012 and 2017, netting a $7 million profit, according to court documents.

Tax Dodge

Karasarides and DiPietro attempted to conceal their ownership of their gambling empire by appointing nominee owners via sham contracts.

They also failed to report or pay taxes on most of the income they received while splurging on luxury vehicles, country club memberships, and high-end property. The men kept large amounts of cash and silver in their homes or at properties they controlled.

Karasarides would also take extravagant gambling trips, betting millions at legal casinos throughout the country, according to prosecutors.

DiPietro was a certified public accountant, and he helped Karasarides falsify his tax returns. Karasarides caused a total tax loss to the IRS of $5.4 million, and DiPietro $4.7 million, prosecutors stated.

Karasarides persuaded people to lie for him during the investigation, including a witness who had received a federal grand jury subpoena to testify in the case.

10 Indicted

The two men were among 10 people indicted last July for links to illegal slots parlors. Among them were several nominee owners of Karasarides’ and DiPietro’s businesses, including Karasarides’ son, Christopher Karasarides.

Karasarides must pay $5,541,520 to the federal government, which includes his still unpaid tax bill. DiPietro must pay restitution of $4,763,520. Both will be subject to years of supervision after their release.

Another hidden partner in the Skilled Shamrock, Larry Dayton, pleaded guilty last July to defrauding the government. He was ordered to spend three years in prison for hiding his ownership of the facility and concealing more than $2 million in revenue from the taxman.