Christos Karasarides Jr., 56, and Ronald DiPietro, 62, both from Canton, Ohio, were found guilty by a federal jury on Friday of running illegal gambling businesses in Canton for almost 10 years while not paying taxes on the millions of dollars they made. Two more people who were involved in the crime pleaded guilty before and during the hearing.
Based on proof and court records, Karasarides and DiPietro ran several illegal gambling businesses from 2009 to 2018, mostly slot machine parlors like Skilled Shamrock.
Records showed that from 2012 to 2017, people spent more than $34 million at Skilled Shamrock, making the owners more than $7 million.
Karasarides and DiPietro used fake contracts and substitute owners to hide who owned the business and avoid paying taxes. Karasarides already owed the IRS more than $2 million in back taxes on income from his many businesses and gaming activities. The IRS was actively trying to collect these taxes.
A certified public accountant named DiPietro is accused of helping Karasarides avoid paying taxes by making false tax returns that said Karasarides did not have enough money or assets to pay the taxes he owed.
There was also evidence that Karasarides worked with others to launder gambling winnings and hide ownership of his home by using a “straw buyer” to avoid an IRS raid.
The two used the money they got illegally to buy expensive cars, homes, and Karasarides’ high-stakes gambling trips to legal casinos across the country. As part of the probe, police took more than $150,000 in cash from Karasarides’ home.
As the trial was about to start, Thomas Helmick pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges linked to pretending to be the owner of one of Karasarides’ gambling venues.
Christopher Karasarides also admitted during the hearing that he and his brother Christos worked together to sign fake papers and act as a nominee for some assets.
When they are sentenced on May 1, Christos Karasarides and Ronald DiPietro could each get up to 20 years in jail, plus fines and restitution. In late April and early May, Helmick and Christopher Karasarides will be sentenced. They could get up to five years in prison.
Stuart M. Goldberg, acting deputy assistant attorney general, praised the teamwork that went into the case. The investigation was led by IRS Criminal Investigation, with help from Homeland Security Investigations, the Treasury Inspector General, the Stark County Prosecutor’s Office, the Ohio Casino Control Commission, and the Ohio Organized Crime Task Force.
Tax Division Trial Attorneys Sam Bean and Hayter Whitman, along with Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Howell, have been in charge of the case.
It’s a big blow to organized crime and illegal gaming in Stark County, Ohio, that these people were found guilty. Criminals hurt public trust in the government and financial system by hiding ownership, not reporting income, and not paying taxes.
People are asked to report any fishy financial actions that could be linked to tax evasion, money laundering, or other financial crimes. The IRS gives awards to people who give them reliable information that helps them get back taxes they owe. We can make our towns better and more fair if we all work together.