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Gambling Ringleader Gets Probation, Community Service

Wayne resident pleaded guilty, acknowledged owning the Connection's Internet cafes in Parsippany and Pequannock.

A Wayne resident pleaded guilty to two counts of maintaining a gambling resort in connection with an investigation into alleged gambling dens in Parsippany and Pequannock, the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office announced on Thursday.

In his plea, Chester Ward, 40, acknowledged owning two businesses named Connection’s Internet Café. One on New Road in Parsippany, the other on Route 23 in Pequannock.

According to Acting Morris County Prosecutor Fredric Knapp, Ward accepted money from individuals who were participating in “games of chance” at the establishments. Ward owned the businesses from November 2011 to July 2012.

As part of the plea, Ward will be placed on probation, serve 200 hours of community service, and pay a $2,000 fine.

In a separate consent judgment, Ward agreed to forfeit more than $89,000 and 87 computers that were used in the businesses as part of the gambling activities.

The prosecutor’s office sued to keep the cash and electronics it obtained from its eight-month investigation and subsequent raid of the businesses last July.

The investigation began when the Pequannock police discovered alleged illegal gambling activity was going on in both locations.

Three other individuals, including Gary Roach, of Wayne, were each charged with promoting/operating a gambling facility, promoting gambling by conduct that materially aids gambling activity, maintaining a gambling resort and conspiracy to maintain a gambling resort.

Thomas Zelante, first assistant Morris County prosecutor, was not immediately available for comment Thursday afternoon.

maryanne January 31, 2013 at 10:37 PM
Wow, that's a light sentence.
unrealthistown January 31, 2013 at 11:08 PM
What destroys people more legalized gambling or small time illegal gambling?
Nicholas Robert Homyak February 01, 2013 at 12:34 PM
Lots of people gamble; for example Banks and Wall Street firms; but somehow they seem to not go to jail. In an over exploited populace running out of legitimate ways to make good money because of privatization and world economy undermining our own for the sake of the 1 %; what did he do so wrong? Please if he is going to do community service have him clean the litter and trash in his "home town".
Scondo February 01, 2013 at 10:04 PM
Legalized, regulated, taxed and controlled. Therein lies the difference.
Gene February 03, 2013 at 05:28 PM
This is just a guess.. But based on the charges, the type of business owned, sentence and lack of explanation on what the "ringleader" was doing, it sounds like he was just running an internet cafe and people were able to use the computers to get to online gambling sites. If that's the case, he probably took a plea deal because it would be cheaper than paying for his legal defense. IMO - If he really was a "Gambling Ringleader" he would have received a much stronger sentence.

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