Canton-area man who owned Cafe 62 charged with running illegal gambling business

Federal prosecutors continue to charge those accused of running "skill games" establishments in Stark County.

The latest to be charged is Steven Saris, 47, of the Canton area, according to a statement Monday from the Justice Department.

A grand jury on Thursday indicted Saris on a charge of operating an illegal gambling business.

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The indictment alleges that Saris from 2013 to 2018 was the actual co-owner of a now-closed gambling business known as Café 62 in Plain Township with an unnamed and uncharged co-conspirator. They both had a third person, not named, pose as the owner, the indictment said.

The establishment had slot machines that paid winners of games cash prizes, which is illegal, according to the indictment.

Indictment Aug. 25, 2022 of Steven Saris by Robert Wang on Scribd

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The gambling at the location and several "skill games" parlors in the area ceased when federal agents on July 11, 2018, executed search warrants at what they later alleged to be illegal gambling establishments in Stark County.

Cafe 62's history near Canton

Directories online say Café 62 was at 3007 Harrisburg Rd. NE in Plain Township off U.S. 62.

The address has also been the site of businesses called 777 Skill Games in 2011, Piccolo Vegas Skill Games in 2011 and Tic Tac Skill Games in 2006 and 2007.

According to court records, no attorney has yet made an official appearance in federal court on Saris' behalf, and it's not clear if Saris has an attorney.

Federal agents have not taken Saris into custody, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for Northern Ohio wrote in an email. The U.S. District Court will issue him a summons.

Federal investigators seek to seize house

Federal prosecutors are seeking the forfeiture to the federal government of any property paid for with proceedings from the illegal gambling operations, including a four-bedroom Lake Township home and property at 2548 Clydesdale Street NW controlled by a trust of Saris's. The Stark County Auditor's office has assessed the property at a value of $476,600.

It's not clear how the case of Saris is connected to seven defendants charged in federal court with operating the Redemption and Skilled Shamrock skill games parlors in Plain Township. Three defendants last month made guilty pleas as part of plea agreements and are set to be sentenced in November.

However, federal prosecutors filed a motion Friday seeking to reassign Saris' case to U.S. District Judge Donald Nugent in Cleveland, who is overseeing the Redemption and Skilled Shamrock case.

The motion said the Saris case "charges crimes that are part of the fact situation and allegations involved in" the Redemption and Skilled Shamrock case. And transferring the Saris case to Nugent's courtroom would "allow for the expeditious administration of these cases."

Last week, Nugent indefinitely postponed what was a Sept. 19 trial date for the remaining Redemption and Skilled Shamrock defendants, according to the court docket. And prosecutors and defense attorneys are engaged in the exchange of evidence known as discovery.

The spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office wrote in an email that he had no information to release on any possible connection between the Saris and Redemption cases.

In 2009, Saris, then a North Canton resident, pleaded guilty to state charges of felony money laundering, a misdemeanor count of operating a gambling house and the felony of grand theft in Summit County Common Pleas Court as part of a plea agreement. His concurrent prison sentences of one year and six months were suspended and he got two years of probation and had to pay a $5,000 fine, according to court records. The pleas came after a two-year investigation into illegal gambling by the Summit County sheriff's office that led to a grand jury indicting Saris and 65 other defendants.

Reach Robert at Twitter: @rwangREP.

This article originally appeared on The Repository: Cafe 62 "skill games" operator Steven Saris facing federal indictment