An Augusta convenience store owner and two clerks were arrested Friday after they were caught illegally paying out cash for coin-operated amusement machines over the last two months, according to a sheriff’s report.
Anil Kumar Allati, owner and operator of Exxon at 2061 Gordon Highway in Augusta, was charged with rental or keeping a gambling place, commercial gambling and a Superior Court bench warrant.
Two clerks who actually made the cash payouts were also arrested. Pranav Reddy Aleti, 43, was charged with commercial gambling. Bunchi Reddy, 57, was charged with commercial gambling.
The Georgia State Lottery Association alerted Richmond County authorities that the Exxon store had high numbers of hand counts and jackpot totals on the COAM machines, which were inconsistent with other inspected stores. The store is not allowed to pay winnings from COAM machines with cash, alcohol, tobacco or firearms.
In April, the sheriff’s office sent in a confidential informant with audio and video recording devices along with $100 cash to play the machines. He played for 45 minutes and then went to the clerk, who reached under the counter and handed him $60 cash, a sheriff’s report says.
Four days later, the informant went in again with $100 and was given $100 from under the counter after playing for 45 minutes. Two weeks later, on May 14, an informant tried it again with $100 and was given $80 cash by a clerk after the end of the session, a report says.
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