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Internet Cafe

ONSLOW COUNTY -

UPDATE: The Onslow County Sheriff's Office issued a warrant for Deontre Randall Tuesday night.

Officials said he was involved in an armed robbery Monday night at the Lucky Time Internet Cafe on U.S. 258 Richlands Highway. Randall should be considered armed and dangerous, said deputies.

Investigators said there likely will be another warrant issued for the arrest of a second suspect.

PREVIOUS STORY:Deputies say they are investigating an armed robbery at an internet cafe in Onslow County.

According to the Onslow County Sheriff's Office, two black males armed with a handgun robbed the Lucky Time Internet Cafe, on U.S. 258 Richlands Highway, at about 11:30 p.m. Monday.

At least one employee was inside at the time, but no one was hurt, said Sheriff Ed Brown.

A witness who lives near the crime scene says the armed robbery is a little too close to home for comfort.

 

Monique Patterson knew something was going on when her friend came over to her place last night and alerted her that law enforcement was outside.

 

"She's like I think someone just got robbed or I think someone just got hurt and I was like wow-shut my door and locked it," said Patterson.

 

She says about two weeks ago she started to feel uneasy when she began to notice strange men she'd never seen before, walking around her neighborhood.

Patterson says the night of the armed robbery, she approached two black males dressed in black hoodies because they were walking behind her home shortly before law enforcement came on scene for the armed robbery.

Now that the armed robbery has taken place just down the street, it's making her feel uncomfortable.

"I watch the news all the time but it's not so close to my home so it's like when it comes close to your home then it's different. You have to worry now," said Patterson.

 

Sheriff Brown says today his team is out investigating the area, looking for the suspects.

"The investigation started with the initial call and will continue until someone is arrested in the case," said Brown.

 

There was no word on how much money was taken.

Anyone with information can call the Onslow County Sheriff's Office at 910-455-3113.

Article source: http://www.wcti12.com/news/deputies-investigate-armed-robbery-at-internet-cafe/27089196

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

For the past two years, News4Jax has told viewers stories of Internet cafes around town that have been shut down when the state says they're illegal, then reopened with new games. Each time the owners told News4Jax the new games are legal, and then police seem to go shut them down again.

The latest raids were this past Friday when two west side Internet cafes were shut down.

News4Jax is looking at the legal aspect of this to find out why the owners continually say they're legal and then wind up arrested.

Each time the Internet cafes re-opened, the owners said they had changed the technology of the games and took away the possibility of chance, meaning it's not gambling and it's legal.

But after another round of arrests and with more likely coming around Jacksonville, the state of Florida told News4Jax there's a group of lawyers in Jacksonville giving the Internet cafe operators bad advice and it's costing them jail time.

The latest arrests were in two raids on Normandy and Blanding boulevards Friday. Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford said there are more undercover operations going on right now to shut these places down.

News4Jax asked why the facilities keep getting shut down, then re-opening, then shut down again by police. Both sides said they're on the right side of the law.

"It seems like we continually have attorney or attorneys. That seems to be continuing, to be willing to say this is legal and put their necks out saying this is legal," said the Attorney General's Office.

Local attorney Gene Nichols is familiar with many of these cases, particularly the highest profile case where local attorney Kelly Mathis was convicted for an Internet cafe scam with Allied Veterans.

"I would be shocked to know there's a lawyer out there who's telling someone specifically and putting it in paper that what you are doing is legal," said Nichols. "What I would suspect is lawyers are advising clients, especially because of Kelly Mathis, this may be legal, this may not be legal. Here's what the law says, here's what I think."

Nichols said the problem is the law the legislature passed last year banning Internet cafes and calling them illegal gambling can only be worded so well. Since the manufacturers of these gaming machines can change the software just a bit to get around the wording of the law, these places keep opening.

But law enforcement has zero tolerance for them. So what this means is a jury will have to determine if the operators of these cafes are in fact breaking the law.

"It is absolutely feasible they could win in court because it just depends on what they are now doing. The changes in technology -- does that violate Florida statute? The law that -- does have some loopholes," said Nichols.

Nichols said he suspects during the next legislative session they will tweak the law to close some of these loopholes. The issue will be there is some legal gambling in Florida on Indian reservations and places like the dog track. So the wording of the law is tricky because it can't be too overly broad or it could affect those operations.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

For the past two years, News4Jax has told viewers stories of Internet cafes around town that have been shut down when the state says they're illegal, then reopened with new games. Each time the owners told News4Jax the new games are legal, and then police seem to go shut them down again.

The latest raids were this past Friday when two west side Internet cafes were shut down.

News4Jax is looking at the legal aspect of this to find out why the owners continually say they're legal and then wind up arrested.

Each time the Internet cafes re-opened, the owners said they had changed the technology of the games and took away the possibility of chance, meaning it's not gambling and it's legal.

But after another round of arrests and with more likely coming around Jacksonville, the state of Florida told News4Jax there's a group of lawyers in Jacksonville giving the Internet cafe operators bad advice and it's costing them jail time.

The latest arrests were in two raids on Normandy and Blanding boulevards Friday. Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford said there are more undercover operations going on right now to shut these places down.

News4Jax asked why the facilities keep getting shut down, then re-opening, then shut down again by police. Both sides said they're on the right side of the law.

"It seems like we continually have attorney or attorneys. That seems to be continuing, to be willing to say this is legal and put their necks out saying this is legal," said the Attorney General's Office.

Local attorney Gene Nichols is familiar with many of these cases, particularly the highest profile case where local attorney Kelly Mathis was convicted for an Internet cafe scam with Allied Veterans.

"I would be shocked to know there's a lawyer out there who's telling someone specifically and putting it in paper that what you are doing is legal," said Nichols. "What I would suspect is lawyers are advising clients, especially because of Kelly Mathis, this may be legal, this may not be legal. Here's what the law says, here's what I think."

Nichols said the problem is the law the legislature passed last year banning Internet cafes and calling them illegal gambling can only be worded so well. Since the manufacturers of these gaming machines can change the software just a bit to get around the wording of the law, these places keep opening.

But law enforcement has zero tolerance for them. So what this means is a jury will have to determine if the operators of these cafes are in fact breaking the law.

"It is absolutely feasible they could win in court because it just depends on what they are now doing. The changes in technology -- does that violate Florida statute? The law that -- does have some loopholes," said Nichols.

Nichols said he suspects during the next legislative session they will tweak the law to close some of these loopholes. The issue will be there is some legal gambling in Florida on Indian reservations and places like the dog track. So the wording of the law is tricky because it can't be too overly broad or it could affect those operations.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

For the past two years, News4Jax has told viewers stories of Internet cafes around town that have been shut down when the state says they're illegal, then reopened with new games. Each time the owners told News4Jax the new games are legal, and then police seem to go shut them down again.

The latest raids were this past Friday when two west side Internet cafes were shut down.

News4Jax is looking at the legal aspect of this to find out why the owners continually say they're legal and then wind up arrested.

Each time the Internet cafes re-opened, the owners said they had changed the technology of the games and took away the possibility of chance, meaning it's not gambling and it's legal.

But after another round of arrests and with more likely coming around Jacksonville, the state of Florida told News4Jax there's a group of lawyers in Jacksonville giving the Internet cafe operators bad advice and it's costing them jail time.

The latest arrests were in two raids on Normandy and Blanding boulevards Friday. Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford said there are more undercover operations going on right now to shut these places down.

News4Jax asked why the facilities keep getting shut down, then re-opening, then shut down again by police. Both sides said they're on the right side of the law.

"It seems like we continually have attorney or attorneys. That seems to be continuing, to be willing to say this is legal and put their necks out saying this is legal," said the Attorney General's Office.

Local attorney Gene Nichols is familiar with many of these cases, particularly the highest profile case where local attorney Kelly Mathis was convicted for an Internet cafe scam with Allied Veterans.

"I would be shocked to know there's a lawyer out there who's telling someone specifically and putting it in paper that what you are doing is legal," said Nichols. "What I would suspect is lawyers are advising clients, especially because of Kelly Mathis, this may be legal, this may not be legal. Here's what the law says, here's what I think."

Nichols said the problem is the law the legislature passed last year banning Internet cafes and calling them illegal gambling can only be worded so well. Since the manufacturers of these gaming machines can change the software just a bit to get around the wording of the law, these places keep opening.

But law enforcement has zero tolerance for them. So what this means is a jury will have to determine if the operators of these cafes are in fact breaking the law.

"It is absolutely feasible they could win in court because it just depends on what they are now doing. The changes in technology -- does that violate Florida statute? The law that -- does have some loopholes," said Nichols.

Nichols said he suspects during the next legislative session they will tweak the law to close some of these loopholes. The issue will be there is some legal gambling in Florida on Indian reservations and places like the dog track. So the wording of the law is tricky because it can't be too overly broad or it could affect those operations.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Two Internet cafes were raided and five people arrested Friday in what Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford said was an investigation into illegal gambling.

Two businesses operating under the name "Senior Social Centers" on Jacksonville's Westside were raided by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office in a joint operation with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the State Attorney's Office. Police had the businesses on Normandy and Blanding boulevards closed and officers were seen carrying out computer equipment and records.

Rutherford said these businesses were offering slot machine and other gambling play on computer terminals.

"It is clear these businesses were offering casino-style games of chance," Rutherford said.

Undercover officers documented the gambling by using the online games. He said they won up to $136, but more often lost money using the terminals.

Five employees of the businesses were arrested on charges of possession of a gambling device and keeping a gambling house.  Shonderika Lowery, Gynarva Monroe, Antonio Hodges, Joyce McCaffrey and Felicia Maxwell were all arrested and booked into the Duval County jail Friday afternoon.  

JSO booking photos of (from left) Felicia Maxwell, Joyce McCaffrey, Gynarva Monroe, Shonderika Lowery and Antonio Hodges

Patrons at businesses when they were raided were questioned and released without facing any charges.

Other patrons who arrived after the raid, including Johnnie Elhasan, were turned away.

“Cops told me, 'Your not allowed to go in. We are shutting the place down,'” Elhasan said. “They shut it down and open it, shut it down and open it. The government looks like they don't know what they are doing, honestly.”

The two locations raided Friday were among several locations of "Pete's Retreat" that were raided in April.  No arrests were made in that raid.

In a statewide crackdown on the Internet gaming centers last year, 49 Allied Veterans of the World locations were closed and 57 people were arrested on racketeering, gambling and money laundering charges. A Jacksonville lawyer -- Kelly Mathis -- who prosecutors called the mastermind of the scheme, was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison.

The sheriff said he wants to be clear to those who keep reopening these businesses that he will not tolerate illegal gambling in Jacksonville.

"If you're given payouts through these machines, you can pretty much guarantee they're illegal," Rutherford said. "That's the message. If you're out there running them, we may be in your place doing an undercover operation today."

The sheriff is also warning landlords of these facilities, to be aware that they could also face prosecution for housing the internet cafes as tenants.

"For those owners who wish support and invest in these illegal gambling practices, I can assure you that you are throwing away your valued resources in the trash. Those who have continued in the past we often seize exemplars in these operations and we are now seizing every piece of electronics in the business used to commit the crime," said Rutherford.  

Customers, however, said the low-stakes games they play are more entertaining than anything else.

"Stuff like this is really helping the public," Elhasan said, “Helping the older people with nothing to do, like losing $10, winning $10.”

Article source: http://www.news4jax.com/news/jacksonville-police-raid-new-internet-cafes/26902356

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Two Internet cafes were raided and five people arrested Friday in what Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford said was an investigation into illegal gambling.

Two businesses operating under the name "Senior Social Centers" on Jacksonville's Westside were raided by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office in a joint operation with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the State Attorney's Office. Police had the businesses on Normandy and Blanding boulevards closed and officers were seen carrying out computer equipment and records.

Rutherford said these businesses were offering slot machine and other gambling play on computer terminals.

"It is clear these businesses were offering casino-style games of chance," Rutherford said.

Undercover officers documented the gambling by using the online games. He said they won up to $136, but more often lost money using the terminals.

Five employees of the businesses were arrested on charges of possession of a gambling device and keeping a gambling house.  Shonderika Lowery, Gynarva Monroe, Antonio Hodges, Joyce McCaffrey and Felicia Maxwell were all arrested and booked into the Duval County jail Friday afternoon.  

JSO booking photos of (from left) Felicia Maxwell, Joyce McCaffrey, Gynarva Monroe, Shonderika Lowery and Antonio Hodges

Patrons at businesses when they were raided were questioned and released without facing any charges.

Other patrons who arrived after the raid, including Johnnie Elhasan, were turned away.

“Cops told me, 'Your not allowed to go in. We are shutting the place down,'” Elhasan said. “They shut it down and open it, shut it down and open it. The government looks like they don't know what they are doing, honestly.”

The two locations raided Friday were among several locations of "Pete's Retreat" that were raided in April.  No arrests were made in that raid.

In a statewide crackdown on the Internet gaming centers last year, 49 Allied Veterans of the World locations were closed and 57 people were arrested on racketeering, gambling and money laundering charges. A Jacksonville lawyer -- Kelly Mathis -- who prosecutors called the mastermind of the scheme, was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison.

The sheriff said he wants to be clear to those who keep reopening these businesses that he will not tolerate illegal gambling in Jacksonville.

"If you're given payouts through these machines, you can pretty much guarantee they're illegal," Rutherford said. "That's the message. If you're out there running them, we may be in your place doing an undercover operation today."

The sheriff is also warning landlords of these facilities, to be aware that they could also face prosecution for housing the internet cafes as tenants.

"For those owners who wish support and invest in these illegal gambling practices, I can assure you that you are throwing away your valued resources in the trash. Those who have continued in the past we often seize exemplars in these operations and we are now seizing every piece of electronics in the business used to commit the crime," said Rutherford.  

Customers, however, said the low-stakes games they play are more entertaining than anything else.

"Stuff like this is really helping the public," Elhasan said, “Helping the older people with nothing to do, like losing $10, winning $10.”

POMONA - A Victorville man was arrested on suspicion of running an illegal gambling operation and the computer equipment at the internet cafe he manages was confiscated by Pomona police during a raid by vice officers, police said today.

The raid at the Computer Zone at 1648 Indian Hill Blvd. took place about 6 p.m. Thursday, according to Pomona police Lt. Chuck Becker.

Vice officers, Becker said, began the investigation at the Internet cafe after numerous complaints from local residents.

During the raid, 25-year-old Kenyda Davis who identified himself as the cafe’s manager, was arrested for operating an illegal gambling operation, Becker said. Davis was issued a citation and released at the scene.

Pomona vice officers also confiscated 11 computers, computer accessories and an unidentified amount of cash as evidence, according to Becker.

An ordinance for a permanent ban is expected to come before the City Commission in August. The board previously approved a six-month moratorium in January and eventually extended it to Sept. 18.

"The moratorium just buys time to come up with a more permanent solution, in a nutshell," Assistant City Attorney Sean McDermott said.

The proposed ordinance would establish a prohibition on Internet cafes in the city's land development code that would be effective immediately upon getting the City Commission's final approval, he said.

"Across the city, it's going to essentially prohibit anything that's termed ‘simulated gambling establishments,' " he said, which are commonly known as Internet cafes.

The first reading of the prohibition ordinance is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 7 with a second reading, if the City Commission decides to move forward with it, on Aug. 21, McDermott said. The City Plan Board already voted in late June to recommend approval of the ordinance.

Around two dozen Internet cafes had surfaced in Gainesville back in 2011, where customers apparently bought Internet time and in return received sweepstakes entries that displayed cash prizes as simulated slots shown on a computer screen.

Allied Veterans of the World, an Internet cafe operator, became the subject of a criminal investigation on allegations it donated a fraction of the money it brought in to veterans organizations while pocketing hundreds of millions of dollars instead.

Jennifer Carroll, Florida's former lieutenant governor, had been a prior consultant for Allied Veterans and ended up resigning in the midst of the investigation, which resulted in dozens of indictments.

Although the Florida Legislature passed a law in the spring of 2013 that was intended to shut down these operations, the law wasn't an outright ban. Instead, it prohibited the cash prizes, computer equipment and gift cards that were used at such establishments.

Eventually, Internet cafes began opening again around Florida, including two in Gainesville.

Gator Hot Spots, located at 2109 NW 13th St., was raided by police and shut down in September, while Royal Sweepstakes, another cafe located at 2615 NW 13th St., eventually closed, too.

Gainesville Police Department spokesman Officer Ben Tobias said it's up to the State Attorney's Office whether to bring charges against the owner of Gator Hot Spots, Terry Land.

With Gator Hot Spots and Royal Sweepstakes both out of commission, Tobias said there don't appear to be any other cafes running in Gainesville.

"We aren't aware of any operating right now, and we keep a pretty good lookout on it," he said.

Contact Morgan Watkins at 338-3104 or morgan.watkins@gainesville.com.

Article source: http://www.gainesville.com/article/20140707/ARTICLES/140709756

The government is to trial a public-sector WiFi standard that would enable workers to connect to any public authority WiFi network automatically, V3 has learned.

The project, called PSNRoam, is being led by Surrey County Council, and could see the creation of a new government standard that would allow any device with the relevant certificate to access any public sector organisation's WiFi network.

Nick Roberts, the group IT manager for Surrey County Council and president of Socitm, told V3 about the project, explaining it could offer numerous benefits.

“[PSNRoam] is enabling connectivity, which is a bit like internet cafe-style connectivity, over corporate WiFi infrastructure, where traditionally you can’t easily get in – you’ve got to get a certification or WiFi password,” he said.

“This way you get a certificate on the device, so it’s a trusted device, and that gives you access over another person's corporate infrastructure – so another government agency or local authority – and routes you to your home network.”

Surrey is leading the project with backing from the Cabinet Office and other local authorities, as Roberts explained. “We’re the first authority to adopt this, doing it in conjunction with the Cabinet Office” he said. “We’re also working with a couple of borough councils in Surrey so that we can test it between ourselves, because you need more than one.”

Currently the servers needed to run the service are in place. They are owned by the Cabinet Office, but managed by the same team behind the existing EduRoam system, which provides similar WiFi access for those at universities.

Roberts said that at present the project is on the verge of going live with just one 'piece of the jigsaw' left to sort before it will be up and running.

“The configuration is on the access points so PSNRoam presents itself as an available hotspot, but then if you route through to your local network the certification doesn’t kick in,” he said.

“It just needs a bit of work to make that handshake come online and then it will be up and running. It's proven techonlogy."

Roberts said once the first part of the pilot is live he hopes to extend it by getting a few more organisations on board to help prove its value. "It’s quite powerful,” he added.

If the pilots do prove successful they could lead to the creation of a new standard that would enable any public authority to provide WiFi access.

The final call on whether the PSNRoam will become a set standard is with the Cabinet Office, as funding will be required to get it up and running.

V3 asked the Cabinet Office for its stance on the project, but it said it would not comment yet. Furthermore, since V3 asked the Cabinet Office about PSNRoam, a public-facing website about the project has been taken down.

Nevertheless, Roberts said he is hopefully the project will go-ahead: "I firmly believe it’s an excellent model for government because it takes the internet cafe concept and makes it possible to connect over secure internet infrastructure," he said.

"If you want to just switch on and get working, or you're part of a multi-disciplinary team that works together three hours a week, it makes it seamless [to get online] and there isn’t an easy way to do that as yet.”

A Pontiac business has filed a lawsuit against Michigan’s attorney general, seeking a ruling regarding the legality of a sweepstakes offered by the business.

Lucky Times filed the lawsuit in Oakland County Circuit Court, claiming that the attorney general’s office has “threatened to seize (owner) James Toma’s business assets, close his only means of providing for himself and charge him with various felonies.”

The business — an internet café at 161 S. Telegraph Road — allows patrons to rent internet access and computer equipment for $5 per hour. They also offer scanning, printing, photocopying and faxing services and sell office supplies.

Last month, the office of Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette sent a cease and desist letter to the business, claiming that a sweepstakes entry offered with each purchase of internet time violated multiple provisions, including the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act. According to the suit, the letter also claimed that Lucky Times violates the Consumer Protection Act “by falsely representing to consumers that its business is lawful.”

“The cease and desist letter expressed the Attorney General’s opinion that the Lucky Times Internet Café constitutes an illegal gambling house,” the Lucky Times complaint states.

One free sweepstakes entry is offered for each $5 purchase of internet time, while a $20 purchase results in five free entries. Customers can choose to learn whether they have won immediately or after they play a simulated casino game that has no effect on the results, the suit states.

No purchase is necessary for the sweepstakes entry.

“The conduct of the plaintiffs in selling hourly internet access and computer equipment rental with a free sweepstakes entry is indistinguishable from the conduct of McDonald’s in selling food with a free Monopoly sweepstakes card,” the suit states.

Lucky Times seeks relief allowing the business to legally continue offering the sweepstakes and a declaration that the gambling statutes are void for vagueness as they relate to free promotional sweepstakes.

Schuette’s office declined to comment. Harold Fried, one of the attorneys representing Lucky Times, did not return a message seeking comment.