BROOK PARK, Ohio - Officers seized more than $1.2 million after an Internet gambling parlor raid in Brook Park.
Last week, a grand jury indicted 40-year-old Izdihar Najjar on 18 counts including money laundering, gambling and operating a gambling house. Prosecutors said they also raided her Cyber Oasis Internet café on Smith Road, where they seized more than 100 video slot machines.
Then on Monday, Ohio Department of Public Safety agents executed search warrants on Najjar's bank accounts, totaling $600,000, according to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office. The Avon woman allegedly deposited another $630,000 into a bank account belonging to a Canada-based company that made the gaming machine software.
"This underscores the fact that this is a gambling syndicate and a criminal enterprise, not the mom-and-pop operation that defenders of these Internet cafes would have you believe,'' said Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Daniel J. Kasaris.
At the time of the raid, about 40 to 45 people were at the Cyber Oasis. Prosecutors said most of them were elderly.
"I'm going to fulfill my promise to close every illegal gambling parlor and rip-off center in Cuyahoga County,'' said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty. "We started with more than 50 of them operating. We're down to a handful, and soon there will be none.''
Najjar, who had $8,000 in her purse during the raid, pleaded not guilty. Her bond was set at $5,000.