The owner of seven internet cafes in Georgia was arrested on Tuesday and charged with two counts of racketeering by a DeKalb County grand jury.
James Kokott owned the chain of stores called Big Dawg Calling Cards, where patrons would purchase phone cards that were actually used as credits in gambling transactions. Accrued winnings were illegally paid in cash. Calling cards and sweepstakes may have been the advertised product, but the real transaction here was online gambling.
According to an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the operation took in more than $3 million in the last year. The sting was the result of a six-month investigation by local authorities and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Kokott’s business had locations in six different Georgia cities. Two other individuals, said to be business managers, were also indicted and have been issued arrest warrants for their role in the scheme.
Nicole Marchand, chief assistant DA for DeKalb County indicated that Mr. Kokott had previously been in trouble with the scheme in the state of Florida, after which he moved the operation into Georgia. “We’re not going to stand for it here in Georgia,” she said.