A Wayne resident pleaded guilty to two counts of maintaining a gambling resort in connection with an investigation into alleged gambling dens in Parsippany and Pequannock, the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office announced on Thursday.
In his plea, Chester Ward, 40, acknowledged owning two businesses named Connection’s Internet Café. One on New Road in Parsippany, the other on Route 23 in Pequannock.
According to Acting Morris County Prosecutor Fredric Knapp, Ward accepted money from individuals who were participating in “games of chance” at the establishments. Ward owned the businesses from November 2011 to July 2012.
As part of the plea, Ward will be placed on probation, serve 200 hours of community service, and pay a $2,000 fine.
In a separate consent judgment, Ward agreed to forfeit more than $89,000 and 87 computers that were used in the businesses as part of the gambling activities.
The prosecutor’s office sued to keep the cash and electronics it obtained from its eight-month investigation and subsequent raid of the businesses last July.
The investigation began when the Pequannock police discovered alleged illegal gambling activity was going on in both locations.
Three other individuals, including Gary Roach, of Wayne, were each charged with promoting/operating a gambling facility, promoting gambling by conduct that materially aids gambling activity, maintaining a gambling resort and conspiracy to maintain a gambling resort.
Thomas Zelante, first assistant Morris County prosecutor, was not immediately available for comment Thursday afternoon.