A federal grand jury in Cleveland returned a superseding indictment today charging Steven Saris of Canton, Ohio, with operating illegal gambling businesses (IGBs), tax evasion, conspiracy to defraud the United States, willful failure to collect and pay over employment taxes, money laundering and an obstruction-related offense. Saris was previously indicted and charged with one count of owning and operating an IGB.
According to the superseding indictment, from 2012 through 2022, Saris owned and operated multiple IGBs in Ohio, including Café 62, Lucky’s, Winner’s World, Spin City and an IGB located in Springfield, Ohio. He allegedly concealed his involvement in these IGBs by having others serve as the nominee owners of the businesses. Saris allegedly did not file personal income tax returns with the IRS for 2016 through 2021 even though he allegedly received more than $4 million in income from the IGBs. To further conceal his involvement in and income from the IGBs, Saris allegedly destroyed and directed others to destroy business records associated with each IGB. The indictment further alleges that Saris paid IGB employees in cash and did not account for or pay over employment taxes.
The indictment alleges that Saris lied to investigators about his ownership and involvement in Winner’s World and attempted to prevent investigators from finding and taking his cell phone during the execution of a search warrant at his home by allegedly concealing it inside the water tank of a toilet.
If convicted, Saris faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for each count of tax evasion, illegal gambling business, conspiracy, employment tax and destruction and removal of property to prevent seizure; he faces a maximum penalty of ten years in prison for each money laundering count. 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 U.S. Attorney Rebecca C. Lutzko for the Northern District of Ohio made the announcement.
IRS-Criminal Investigation; the Stark County, Ohio, Prosecutor’s Office; the U.S. Department of Treasury Office of Inspector General; Homeland Security Investigations; the Ohio Casino Control Commission and the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission, Major Crimes Task Force are investigating the case.
Trial Attorney Sam Bean of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Howell for the Northern District of Ohio are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.