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Formal Charges Filed Against Triple Crown Sweepstakes Owners [AUDIO]

Triple Crown Sweepstakes
Photo by WJON.com’s Jim Maurice

ST. CLOUD — The battle continues over whether a St. Cloud marketing company is running an illegal gambling operation under the guise of a sweepstakes. Prosecutors have filed formal charges against four co-owners of Triple Crown Sweepstakes alleging it’s an illegal gambling operation.

The Stearns County Attorney’s Office has charged co-owners Steve Ehlen and Richard Petty with four gross misdemeanors and four misdemeanors related to gambling crimes. Two other co-owners, Scott Johnson and Lonnie Folsom are charged with six counts, including four gross misdemeanors.

Assistant Stearns County Attorney Bill MacPhail says Triple Crown Sweepstakes is a lottery which is illegal under Minnesota State Law. He acknowledges patrons can play for free the first time, but the donation constitutes “consideration” — which makes it gambling.

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But, Triple Crown Sweepstakes co-owner Steve Ehlen says they vehemently deny any wrongdoing.  He says the charity gets all of the proceeds and pays back the winners and Triple Crown Sweepstakes, which is a marketing company for Kids Against Hunger of Omaha, Nebraska…

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Triple Crown Sweepstakes located in the Centennial Mall, was raided by state gambling authorities in early August.  Police and state gambling enforcement officials confiscated video terminals and shuttered the doors.

A court date will be scheduled as soon as next week.

 

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