7 Greater Akron residents indicted in ongoing gambling, money-laundering probe

The trail of clues from a Lorain County internet gaming cafe isn’t hard to follow.

Paperwork filed with the state leads about 60 miles southwest to a cul-de-sac home in Stow.

There, 45-year-old Audrey Cole in 2014 registered the company behind the strip-plaza gaming parlor — Mad Squirrel Investments.

Her husband — a Kent police officer since 1988 — isn’t listed in state records.

But investigators said Jayme “James” Cole, 52, is part of an organized crime gaming and money laundering operation raided in August.

Most of those indicted in the the case — including the Coles and four men from Summit County and a man from Canton — live in Greater Akron.

It is not clear how they know each other or whether gaming operations extended into Summit County. But most had businesses registered in Summit County that were also indicted, primarily in Barberton, Coventry Township and Norton.

Lorain County Prosecutor Dennis Will, who is coordinating the multi-county probe, did not return a call Friday but released a statement this week saying the indictments are part of an ongoing investigation that involves Summit, Cuyahoga, Lorain, Erie, Stark and Ottawa Counties.

One of those indicted this week — Roscoe “Ross” Blankenship, 46, of Clinton — has a history of operating internet sweepstakes cafes during Ohio’s complicated and evolving regulation and enforcement of gambling laws.

Blankenship told the The Canton Repository in 2014 that he converted two cafes on Whipple Avenue in Stark County from sweepstakes cafes to skill-game parlors in 2013 to comply with changing state laws.

He said at the time he had sold Win Zone and would either sell or shut down Chasin’ 7s Entertainment.

It’s not clear if he did. One of the companies indicted this week in Lorain County has a strikingly similar name — Chassin Sevens Entertainment.

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