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Several Arrested in “Sweepstakes” Operation Raids, One Owner Speaks Out

SPRING HILL – Game of skill or game of chance, that’s what one former sweepstakes business owner says she thought was the rule before she was arrested this month on illegal gambling charges.

Sweepstakes businesses are peppered all over Spring Hill, but Vice and Narcotics Detectives with the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office are making their rounds, again, in an attempt to shut them down.

Former owner of Diamond Dust Hi Five, 58-year-old Lisa Brown, is one of at least four business owners to be charged this month for running a place of illegal gambling and violating other gambling laws.

Hi Five was raided on February 6th but Brown wasn’t charged until yesterday and has since posted a $3,000 bond.

Shocked by her arrest, Brown explains she had no idea that her games were violating the law. Brown tells RNRF that she only had Fish Games that are “games of skill not games of chance.”

Brown further stated that she had been in operation for over a year and a half and that investigators knew exactly what kind of games were in her facility. Brown says she’s retained Attorney Peyton Hyslop to defend her.

Butter’s Place, Clicks Fish Zone, and Fun Zone were also shut down and since the operation began, Alfred DiGiovanni, 42, Genevieve DiGiovanni, 79, and Jonnine Rollins, 27, have all been arrested on gambling charges.

Jonnine Rollins is the daughter of Anthony Alascia who was among 57 arrested in the 2013 Allied Veterans racketeering and money-laundering scandal.

Officials say arrests are forthcoming after Fun Zone was raided yesterday by Vice Detectives. During the investigation, multiple computerized games that look similar to casino slot machines were discovered, say officials.

Detectives learned that these businesses are laundering money to commit tax evasion and fraud.

RNRF stopped by one Sweepstakes this afternoon that is still in operation, but we were unable to speak to the owners. The business had several games similar to those that are believed to be illegal by local authorities, but so far, they have not been targeted by Vice Detectives.

We will continue to follow this story as it develops.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ™2013 – 2018 RNRF Incorporated.

 

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Comments
  • So we can bet on sports now and play lotto but fish games are illegal? This County is so ass backwards ! Let the old people have fun they Love getting out of the house and mingling with other people ! Not to mention the jobs creates !!!

    Tuesday, 3 July 2018, 5:39 pm
  • why dont you guys mind your own god damn business. if you want to arrest criminals, why dont you start with politicians and governent run organizations. That’s where the worst and most illegal activities occur. This little piss-ant shit ain’t nothing. It’s actually quite embarrassing. why dont you track where the big money is going. Seems like it’s all just a ruse to me.

    Sunday, 1 April 2018, 12:45 pm
  • An Addiction is an Addiction regardless of what form it takes. As usual we spend more time focusing on the symptoms than the condition itself. I think it is important to remember that these type of businesses operate within a grey area of the laws. The focus of their business mode is to appeal to our societies weakest members. Thus, these businesses are owned and operated by predators. These businesses are unregulated and have no oversight. If our residents want these type of businesses in the county than lets at least regulate them and have some type of over sight with at least a percentage of the taxes used for addiction treatment. However, any business that operates in the Grey area of our laws are there for a reason. Every predator needs a victim, and a victim is still a victim whether they a willing participate or not. Regulate them with oversight or close them down.

    Saturday, 31 March 2018, 12:55 pm
  • If peope want to play a harmless game, I say let them play. Damn state Control Freaks

    Saturday, 31 March 2018, 10:03 am
  • Next time the fair comes to town, let’s get HCSO to shut down and arrest all the people running the GAMES OF SKILL OR CHANCE. I for one can tell you I have NEVER won a damn thing there, thing there!

    Thursday, 29 March 2018, 9:46 pm
  • you really should check the information on things before printing them. there was never anything Federal about the charges filed on the Allied veterans operators or Allied veterans itself. the federal people helping in those raids work hard off duty Officers. from what I’ve Been Told the whole deal was a vendetta by the Seminole County Sheriff against Allied veterans attorney Kelly Mathis. Mathis was the only person that faced a trial and conviction. of course most anybody would be convicted if the judge overseeing the trial did not let you present a defense. which is why the Appellate Court overturned the Seminole County Court decision and dropped all charges against Mathis with damages.most of us understand that the title journalist is not used much anymore. most people in the media nowadays are sensationalist not journalist

    Thursday, 29 March 2018, 5:58 pm
  • This is CRAZY…..all the REAL crime going on in this area and polupo are focusing on the places little old ppl go to have fun. They should be on twig st. And dealing with the REAL criminals not old ppl that aren’t bothering anyone. I think HCS is scared of the wanna be thugs in Bvill lmfao sad but true

    Thursday, 29 March 2018, 1:35 pm
    • Been near Twigg Street lately? All the klingons know the City Cops are done in this town and they are starting to come out of the woodwork like cockroaches. Radios blasting, tires screeching, dope dealing in the open. I knew this would happen. Thanks, City Council, you fing morons, fing morons!

      Saturday, 31 March 2018, 10:51 am
  • Oh my lordy s*** is getting all up crazy around here uh-oh oh lordy come on here!! ENZO…….. you know me love’s you!!!??? And you too Qunesha!! Now let’s not be squabbling we all get a pass on typing spelling grammar English excetera right I make mine and everyone else makes theirs oops except Enzo bro or ma’am you’re actually always spot on your grammar so I can’t call you out the spelling police often do anyway no squabbling come on no squabbling let’s stick to what’s important which is CRICKETS!!! LOL just kidding just trying to shed chuckle on the subject Sleepytime!, goodnight now!!!

    Thursday, 29 March 2018, 12:29 am
  • Tina I’m with you LOL well said well said , ELS!!!! That’s funny as hell that is funny as hell very well said good stuff perfect absolutely perfect thanks for giving me a good laugh and a d stress for the night unbelievable still LMAO!!!!!!!

    Thursday, 29 March 2018, 12:18 am
  • These charges are ridiculous and should be dropped. Don’t they have something better to do? Jonnine and Lisa I know personally and they are both amazing people who are very family orientated and caring. I don’t care how this looks on them. The police need to catch real criminals instead of wasting our tax dollars on this.

    Wednesday, 28 March 2018, 11:16 pm
  • Thank you sheriff for keeping a eye on these places no need for them to be in Hernando county need to hit their pocketbook a little harder

    Wednesday, 28 March 2018, 8:53 pm
    • Ya like having on yer nose …..ya brown nosing piece of?

      Thursday, 29 March 2018, 8:12 am
    • You don’t like it? Don’t go!

      Thursday, 29 March 2018, 11:51 am
  • I understand these officers gotta uphold the state laws.Florida has some of the most confusing gaming laws in the country. Most might not know that Disney and Chuckie Cheese had these same redemption style fish video games in their family fun arcades execept tickets for toys not cash. And they removed them for fear of harsh consequences breaking gambling laws. Im thinking the agreements made with the casinos prompted these busineses to be targeted.but 4eally there is no competion between these places and the casinos. The casinos have no fish gaming style tables anywhere. I looked believe me..so there shouldnt be any inte4est conflict here.as far as other laws being violated i.e.laundering and such.do what has to be done.kr maybe just heavy fines.idk.just my 2 cents
    .

    Wednesday, 28 March 2018, 6:53 pm
  • Why don’t they leave people alone ,what are they afraid of people having fun. Get a life a start going after people that sale drugs .leave the retirees have there fun how many of them are you going to arrest just because their having fun . They must be pissed off because they didn’t get there cut .

    Wednesday, 28 March 2018, 6:42 pm
  • Punisher very good point very good point well said, their actions they being the state etc etc etc pretty much speaks as to what their damn agenda is doesn’t it unbelievable

    Wednesday, 28 March 2018, 6:16 pm
  • Wow Anthony just wow are you kidding me they drop charges if you wouldn’t sue the state something smells fishy here not on you sir but on them! YES THEM ! That flat out sucks something doesn’t add up there I guess the next thing I could say Sir is I’m happy for you that charges were dropped

    Wednesday, 28 March 2018, 6:14 pm
  • How is this any different than Chuck e cheese, stop n play, or any other arcade game that gives kids tickets to buy prizes….

    Wednesday, 28 March 2018, 6:07 pm
  • play it safe – go to bingo.

    Wednesday, 28 March 2018, 6:02 pm
  • Qunesha! Great call Great call I’ve always wondered this myself what an EFT up State we have and or government and or laws how effed up can it get the lottery is gambling it’s only legal because they get their damn hands and so much of the money right on what a crock of s*** they the government that is another question I always have where in the hell is all this millions and trillions and billions or whatever dollars ever done for our schools ? It’s utterly disgusting we the people should demand to see where all these dollars go but if I read your comment right you damn right all they want is their hands in the money

    Wednesday, 28 March 2018, 6:01 pm
  • Can kids here still play “jacks”, pick up sticks or shoot marbles??? In case they play for potato sticks are they still safe??? Just asking.

    Wednesday, 28 March 2018, 5:53 pm
    • ELS, GOOD ONE, Probably can if it doesn’t require any money or prizes. Go’s I was really good at hacks. Oh the good old days.😃

      Wednesday, 28 March 2018, 7:41 pm
      • Typos for the typo police gosh I was really good at jacks. Whoops

        Wednesday, 28 March 2018, 9:21 pm
  • Wow really getting those hardened criminals off the streets…

    Wednesday, 28 March 2018, 5:51 pm
  • Just change it to a charitable gaming statute and let people in need reap some benefits from it.

    Wednesday, 28 March 2018, 5:20 pm
  • O gezz let people gamble and then tax them so the county can make some revenue off of it. Bring in strip clubs also. These dumb county commissioners and LEO stop this because it could bring a negative impact on the county. Have they looked around lately meth heads at Walmart, bums sleeping in tents all over the county,US 19 is like the demolition derby people’s homes and yards look like a junk yard and people begging for money on street corners. I wouldn’t even walk my dog in the area of all the pinehursts. Since the county has gone to the dirtbags I think you should capitalize on a bad situation then.

    Wednesday, 28 March 2018, 4:07 pm
    • Spot on punisher….

      Wednesday, 28 March 2018, 5:51 pm
  • Hi this is Anthony alascia
    Why dont u tell the whole story that all the charges were dropped as-long as my family agreed not to sue the state and give up my business account .Be a real reporter not a hack!

    Wednesday, 28 March 2018, 3:55 pm
    • So Anthony Alascia where they dropped cuz of a alleged possible lawsuit against the state or because you weren’t ripping off veterans ?

      Wednesday, 28 March 2018, 7:30 pm
  • Yall really aint got nothing to do tax them… Lottery is gambling… Smdh ill be out back pitching quaters by myself hope i win…

    Wednesday, 28 March 2018, 3:41 pm
    • THINK YOU MIGHT WANT TO LURN HOW TO SPELL QUARTERS FIRST ????????

      Wednesday, 28 March 2018, 5:21 pm
      • ENzo, I think you are “sigodlin” and most likely a racist. Oh well takes all kinds of stupud people. STUPUD spelled that way just for you. Have a good nite now badabadabada, that’s all.

        Wednesday, 28 March 2018, 9:34 pm
      • Shouldn’t you LEARN how to spell learn?

        Thursday, 29 March 2018, 7:47 am
      • That was a statement not a ????????? I wouldn’t be grammar police if i were you….

        Thursday, 29 March 2018, 9:22 am
    • So you play with your self 🙂

      Wednesday, 28 March 2018, 6:15 pm
      • And dollars to donuts I am betting this toad loses all its quarters !!!!!!!

        Wednesday, 28 March 2018, 6:29 pm
        • And i did… That was good

          Thursday, 29 March 2018, 9:20 am
      • I say she doesn’t do that and somethin tells me, you got a string tied to yours to be able to find it to play with . Take the Bo out of your hair little man, use it instead of the string.

        Wednesday, 28 March 2018, 9:29 pm
      • Jimbo its about gambling not being a nasty pervert you and Enzo can play together your sick…

        Thursday, 29 March 2018, 9:16 am

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