Three Madison County convenience store operators pleaded guilty to an illegal gambling charge in federal court.
Those pleading guilty included Nimish Patel, owner of Comer BP in Comer; Akshat Patel, owner of Tiny Town in Carlton; Byron Sexton, owner of Country Superette in Danielsville.
Sentencing is set for June 1.
The three were among five area store owners who worked with Heritage Amusement Company, located at 3155 Atlanta Hwy., Athens, to lease video poker machines for actual cash payouts. The convenience store operators and the amusement company would split the gambling profits, 75 percent to 25 percent.
“A Heritage employee known as the route man came to collect the cash from the video gambling machines at the defendants’ store and the proceeds were split,” read documents on file at the clerk’s office of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, Athens Division. “The route man would prepare a collection report for the government reporting purposes. The collection report would only indicate 25 percent of the actual illegal profits from the locations’ video gambling machines.”
The documents note that it was not uncommon for defendants to call the route man because “a gambler had won a jackpot and the location didn’t have enough cash to pay the entire jackpot.”
“In that situation, the route man informed the general manager or the owner of Heritage of the jackpot winning,” according to court records. “The owner or the general manager would take the cash out of the safe and had it delivered to the location by the route man. Other times the route man would simply go to the location and remove cash from the machine. The cash was given to the defendant who in turn made and illegal cash payout to the video poker gambler.”