AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Updated: GBI arrests 10 in gambling sweep, more arrests pending

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation conducted simultaneous illegal gambling raids across Georgia Wednesday centered on one of the state's largest operators of coin-operated games of chance.

Among the 10 so far arrested is Sandip Patel, a 40-year-old McDonough businessman licensed to own hundreds of the games, which are usually placed in convenience stores and pool halls. Patel and an associate are believed to by licensed by the Georgia Lottery Corp. to operate 1,650 coin-operated amusement machines (COAMs) under the corporate name of Saduma Resorts, Inc.

More than 75 GBI agents and local police officers served search warrants on 15 businesses and one home in Macon, LaGrange, Savannah, Warner Robbins and Sasser, a tiny town outside of Albany. The GBI alleges the machines were illegally paying out cash jackpots. Under state law, players can only receive store credit, gasoline or lottery tickets for winning.

All of the machines targeted in the raid are licensed to Saduma Resorts.

Patel did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Read more about the raid in our earlier blog post here. For more, see our investigation into the 6,000 COAMs across the state here.

Along with Sandip Patel, the list of people arrested so far in the sting includes:

  • Dimpy Patel, 27, of Savannah
  • Virenkumar Patel, 33, of Savannah
  • Ison Pedro Coutinho, 49,  of Macon
  • Ghanshyam Patel, 30, of Clovis, N.M.
  • Yogesha Patel, 24 of Boyerstown, Penn.
  • Vimal Patel, 39, of LaGrange
  • Gautan Chaudhauri, 23, of Savannah
  • Keyvr Patel, 29, of Macon
  • Tusharkumar Patel, 25, of Stockbridge

The GBI did not reveal the charges. Keep reading the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for more.

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Joyner’s column, AJC Watchdog, investigates topics in your community and Georgia.