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2 women facing felony gambling charges after investigation

Two Florida women are facing felony charges in connection with allegations of owning and operating a gambling establishment. The charges are the result of an undercover investigation, which dates back to at least January, into the establishment that one of the women owns.

The Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco released a report detailing the felony allegations against two women, the 52-year-old owner of a North Fort Meyers billiards hall and her 46-year-old employee, after gambling machines were allegedly confiscated Aug. 5. The Division claims that an undercover agent entered the facility in January and was able to gamble on casino-style machines. The agent, according to the allegations, was then paid winnings out of the pool hall's main cash register. The Division claims to have warned the owner both in writing and verbally on Jan. 23.

In subsequent months, authorities claim that additional undercover agents went to the premises and allege that the gambling continued in a similar fashion. In early August, a warrant was issued to search the establishment. The Division claims to have found five gambling machines, and a witness present at the time claims that the authorities moved the machines off the premises. The owner is being charged with the felony of keeping a gambling house and the misdemeanor charge of possessing the gambling machines while her employee is facing a felony charge of being an agent employee assisting with the establishment of a gambling place.

When a felony charge is filed against a person, an attorney may be able to help him or her through the criminal defense process. The attorney could help ensure that the person's constitutional rights were respected during the course of officials' investigation and any subsequent search and seizure and assist with plea bargaining negotiations to reduce or eliminate the charges and avoid jail time if going to trial does not seem prudent.

Source: NBC-2, "Bayshore Billiards owner, employee arrested for gambling crimes", Jaclyn Bevis, August 06, 2014

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