January 13, 2017
By Brian Rokos
Riverside police this week busted two businesses that detectives say claimed to offer legal services but also were operating as illegal “internet cafes.”
On Thursday, Jan. 12, police raided a business at 9244 Magnolia Ave. that said it was a debt collection agency that had 17 computers with Las Vegas-style video gambling games, a news release said.
The owner, Steve Helland was arrested on suspicion of falsifying documents and running an illegal gambling operation. Three customers were cited for playing illegal games.
On Jan. 13, police entered a business at 3726 Van Buren Blvd. that claimed to be a fax, copy and internet-access company. This same business was raided Nov. 30 and 17 computers were seized.
Friday, employee Christina Perez, 32, who was present on Nov. 30, police said, was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy, running an illegal gambling operation and possession of illegal narcotics. The computers were seized. Perez has not been charged in the Nov. 30 raid, Riverside County Superior Court records show.
Riverside vice detectives had conducted undercover operations at both businesses, the release said.
On June 25, 2015, the California Supreme Court ruled that computerized “sweepstakes” games offered at Internet cafes are the equivalent of slot machines that are illegal under Penal Code section 330.1, police said.