Friday, January 23, 2015
PSP Raids Three Nazareth-Area Social Clubs - Seize Cash & Machines
Poker machines are illegal in Pennsylvania if they offer payouts to the customers using them. Although often regarded as a victimless offense, gambling addicts will spend their entire paychecks on a poker machine. Those machines are usually provided by someone with ties to organized crime. Some social clubs will rig their machines to suck money away from some patrons while steering cash to others. But perhaps the biggest problem is skimming. Machine operators often get quite wealthy by pocketing a large percentage of the money used for gambling.
In small boroughs, many of the elected officials are also machine operators or officers in these social clubs. In Nazareth, for example, Mayor Carl Strye was until recently the President of Nazareth Vigilance Hose Vo. No. 1. Its social club was hit by the raid. There is no evidence he had any direct involvement in the poker machines. But it is highly likely he was at the very least aware of their use.
SGT Carroll stated that there are no charges at this point, "but there are charges pending." He indicated that agents determine whether there are liquor control enforcement violations, which are ultimately decided by the Liquor Control Board. But he added that, in some instances, there are Crimes Code violations.
Informed sources state that agents followed one steward to his home, where they found and seized money. SGT Carroll refused to confirm or deny that report.