Ohio Man Indicted for Gambling and Tax Offenses
In a second superseding indictment unsealed today, a federal grand jury in Cleveland, Ohio, charged Christos Karasarides Jr., of Canton, with tax evasion, filing false tax returns, witness tampering, falsifying records and five separate conspiracies to operate illegal gambling businesses, defraud the IRS and commit money laundering.
In May 2021, the government charged spouses Jason Kachner and Rebecca Kachner, CPA Ronald DiPietro and Thomas Helmick with conspiring to operate illegal gambling businesses and to defraud the IRS, among other criminal offenses. The superseding indictment unsealed today adds Karasarides to the indictment and includes new tax charges against DiPietro.
According to the second superseding indictment, from 2010 through 2018 Karasarides, Jason Kachner, Rebecca Kachner and DiPietro conspired to operate Skilled Shamrock, an illegal gambling business in Canton, and conspired to defraud the IRS by concealing income generated by Skilled Shamrock. From 2012 through 2017, patrons at Skilled Shamrock allegedly wagered a total of more than $34 million, which resulted in more than $4 million in net income for the owners of the gambling business.
The second superseding indictment also charges that from 2009 through 2013, Karasarides accrued a total of more than $1.4 million in taxes owed to the IRS. Karasarides and DiPietro sought to evade this tax debt by allegedly submitting false information to the IRS concealing Karasarides’ ownership of the illegal gambling businesses and the income derived from those businesses. Instead of paying his overdue tax debt, Karasarides allegedly spent millions of dollars in cash on personal items such as cars, country club dues, real estate and credit card payments for the benefit of family members.
With DiPietro’s help, Karasarides also allegedly filed false tax returns with the IRS for 2013 through 2016. The returns allegedly did not include all the income Karasarides earned from Skilled Shamrock and other gambling businesses. Additionally, DiPietro is charged with helping the Kachners file their own false tax returns for the years 2013 through 2017. The Kachners and Helmick were previously charged with conspiracy and filing false tax returns that allegedly underreported gross receipts received from Redemption Skill Games 777, one of the other gambling businesses.
During the investigation, Karasarides allegedly sought to tamper with a witness appearing before the grand jury. He also allegedly had false promissory notes created to authenticate purported loans, then directed business associates and his son to sign the false promissory notes. When Karasarides learned one of the business associates had been subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury, he allegedly directed that witness to falsely testify that his loan was legitimate.
Karasarides is also charged with conspiring to launder money because he allegedly disguised the final payment on his personal residence, funded with cash proceeds from his illegal gambling businesses, by providing the cash to his associate who agreed to form a company to make the payment so that, on paper, Karasarides would never pay down the principal and purchase the residence outright.
Karasarides made his initial court appearance today. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for each count of conspiracy to operate an illegal gambling business and conspiracy to defraud the IRS, five years in prison for tax evasion, three years in prison for filing a false tax return, and 20 years in prison for each count of conspiracy to launder money, witness tampering and falsification of records. DiPietro faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for helping Karasarides evade taxes and three years in prison for helping Karasarides file a false tax return. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and First Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Baeppler for the Northern District of Ohio made the announcement.
IRS-Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Department of Treasury Office of Inspector General, and the Ohio Casino Control Commission are investigating the case. Homeland Security Investigations provided substantial assistance.
Trial Attorneys Richard M. Rolwing and Sam Bean of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert Patton and David Toepfer for the Northern District of Ohio are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.