MUSKEGON, MI – Bruce Zitka, 69-years-old, and his wife Susan, 54-years-old – both of Muskegon – were convicted of six felonies each for their role in three illegal gambling operations in Muskegon.
The couple was convicted by a jury late last week in Ingham County Circuit Court with Judge Rosemarie Aquilina presiding.
The Zitkas were each charged with, and convicted of, the following:
- Three counts of Operating a Casino Without a License, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison; and
- Three counts of Using a Computer to Commit a Crime, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Last week’s conviction follows charges filed in late 2016 after a joint investigation led by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) and the Michigan Attorney General’s Office showed that for more than a year, the Zitkas owned and operated three unlicensed casinos: Fast Lane, Lucky Mouse and the Landing Strip.
According to business and bank records found in the couple’s home during the execution of a search warrant, the three businesses grossed nearly $1 million in revenue in 2015 alone. Tax filings show the couple wrote off most of that revenue and claimed very little in taxes.
“Gambling is a highly regulated industry in our state and those who operate illegal gambling venues will consistently be held accountable,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “When individuals conduct these illegal operations, it robs Michigan public schools of the dollars they need to provide quality education to our students and it robs the state and local government of important tax revenue.”
Mr. Zitka is a former, long-time member of the Orchard View Schools Board of Education. He resigned his seat on July 3, 2018.
“The Gaming Control Board staff provides expertise to help the Michigan Attorney General and other law enforcement agencies stop illegal gambling in Michigan,” said Richard S. Kalm, MGCB executive director. “The consequences of a felony conviction can be significant for the offender. The jury’s decision to convict the Zitkas hopefully will discourage the spread of illegal gambling operations not only in Muskegon but around the state.”
The Zitkas will be sentenced on Wednesday, June 12, 2019 by Judge Aquilina.
Michigan residents are encouraged to report illegal or suspicious gambling activity through the MGCB’s anonymous tip line, 888-314-2682.