An eight-year veteran of the Neptune Beach police department was recently arrested and charged with participating in an illegal gambling operation, The Florida Times-Union reports.
The 41-year-old detective now faces a charge of being a keeper of a gambling house, a third-degree felony in Florida. Her 54-year-old boyfriend is also charged. Two others were previously charged.
Illegal gambling in Jacksonville has taken many forms over the years. But as lawmakers wrestle with regulations on casino-style gaming at Native American reservations, the issue resurfaces year after year.
Jacksonville criminal defense attorneys are prepared to defend a variety of criminal charges related to gaming. According to Florida Statutes 849.01, keeping a gaming table, room or machine for a person to gamble is considered punishable by five years in prison.
According to the newspaper, the detective owned a game vending company in Jacksonville. The company’s web site states that it operates a 6,000-square-foot showroom with pinball machines, pool tables and video poker.
According to a police report, the company’s machines were installed at several bars in Clay County. After deputies investigated, the two other suspects in the case were observed installing the machines and retrieving money from them. Deputies said the company owned by the police officer and the bars would split profits 50-50.
The woman’s supervisors say she has been an outstanding police officer and her attorney claims he doesn’t know what she is accused of doing. She has denied wrongdoing and has been released on $2,500 bail.
First Coast News is reporting that the charges stem from the officer’s business using gaming machines illegally by allowing people to play for money. In most video poker or video slot machines throughout Florida, users must play with money, but can’t win actual money from the machines. In many cases, the companies give out gift card or pre-paid debit cards, but not actual cash.
This is a legal way of getting around the Native American’s strict grip on gaming in Florida. It’s unclear what the crime here was since the news media reports that deputies only observed workers taking money out of the machines, not anyone actually winning real money when they played.
It will be interesting to see how this case plays out. It isn’t illegal for a police officer or anyone else to run a business as a side job and it’s sad that this officer’s name is being dragged through the mud. Police detectives must have solid proof before they make an arrest. They may not take into consideration that an arrest can ruin a person’s reputation and their life.
Once arrested, many in the public think defendants are guilty, even before any proof has been established. It is critical that a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney get involved as quickly as possible in order to begin working the case quickly. This can only lead to good things for the defendant. Waiting too long can hinder a person’s ability to mount a defense.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and is here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one requires a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
Neptune Beach detective, boyfriend arrested in gambling house investigation, by Drew Dixon, The Florida Times-Union
Neptune Beach Detective Arrested in Illegal Gambling Operation, by Jessika Lewis, First Coast News