Friday, October 28, 2011 :  The action at two internet cafes owned by city father was illegal online gambling, claim authorities
 
Veteran city councillor Leo Pelletier (66) from Fairhaven City, Massachusetts has been indicted on charges of running illegal online gambling parlours at two of his Internet cafes, the Boston Globe newspaper reports.
 
A special statewide grand jury indicted Pelletier and three co-defendants, according to a statement issued by the office of state Attorney General Martha Coakley Thursday.
 
Prosecutors allege that customers at both ‘Leo’s Place' establishments paid exclusively for the right to gamble online and not, as the operators claim, to use the Internet and play a free sweepstakes, the statement said.
 
Pelletier, a 28-year serving city councillor, insisted in a phone interview with the newspaper that customers paid only to go online and that he merely offered a sweepstakes, redeeming cash prizes for points that customers won when they played 24 online games. The councillor opined that he is being proecuted because of his public position in city politics.
 
“You want to use me, Martha? All well and good,” he said, pretending to speak to Attorney General Coakley. “Is it to enhance your political thing? I don’t know. I don’t know what you’re doing.”
 
He added that the real victims are the contestants who play the state Lottery.
 
The AG also announced the indictment of Ron Sevigny (66), Linda Pelletier (57) and Donald Greenidge( 52) as well as Pelletier’s corporation, New England Internet Cafés, LLC. Linda Pelletier is not related to the city councillor.
 
Pelletier is charged with organising or promoting gambling services, operating an illegal lottery, allowing lotteries in a building, and the sale and advertising of lottery tickets.
 
His co-defendants are each charged with organising or promoting gambling services and operating an illegal lottery, and Linda Pelletier is charged additionally with the sale and advertising of lottery tickets.
 
Pelletier's legal representative told the Boston Globe: “Our position is that our clients’ Internet cafe business was lawful under existing statues and court decisions. The decision to indict them all is therefore extremely disappointing.”
 
The indictment covers the period July of 2010 to March of this year, when state police raided one of the cafes, seizing hard drives and business records and freezing bank accounts worth about $109,000.