City man faces more charges

WESTFIELD – A city man who was charged with gambling offenses charges late last year has been indicted on additional charges.
Steven Sheldon, 48, of Westfield, together with his business partner, Steven Megliola, 52, of Longmeadow, had operated a now-closed internet café, Cafeno’s, in Chicopee.
Both men and their corporation were indicted by a special statewide grand jury in November, 2011, on charges of organizing or promoting gambling services and operating an illegal lottery. Sheldon was also indicted for allowing lotteries in a building and for the sale and advertising of lottery tickets.
On Monday, Sheldon and Cafeno’s Inc. were indicted by a statewide grand jury, according to information released by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, on charges of “aiding, assisting, procuring, counseling or advising a false return and advertising lottery tickets.”
Coakley reports the additional charges were lodged after further investigation into the business revealed that “Sheldon falsified state tax returns.” The investigation also found that the business violated state law by promoting “the lottery aspect of the business” in radio advertising.
In a 2011 statement, Coakley said that the internet café operated in Chicopee “was nothing more than an illegal, unregulated slot parlor with no protection for consumers” where patrons “were paying nearly exclusively for the right to gamble.”
She said that the investigation, which began more than a year earlier, revealed that customers were not merely paying for time connected to the internet and playing a free sweepstakes. The investigators found the “no purchase required” options were “trivial and insignificant” and concluded that “gambling was the only clear purpose.”
The investigation, Coakley’s statement said, is a “direct result of complaints regarding alleged unlawful gambling operations that have recently opened for business across the Commonwealth.”
The statement went on to say that while these new businesses “purport to sell goods or services, such as Internet access or phone cards” the investigation by the attorney general’s office found “those sales were “a pretext for unlawful and unregulated lotteries, online slot parlors, sweepstakes and similar gambling.”
Sheldon and Megliola were arraigned in Hampden Superior Court on Jan. 4, 12012 and Sheldon and the corporation are expected to be arraigned there on the new charges.

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