Hearing held into illegal gambling

STEUBENVILLE – An order seizing bank accounts in connection with an investigation into illegal gambling was allowed to expire and won’t be renewed, said an assistant state attorney general during a hearing Wednesday in Jefferson County Common Pleas Court.

The attorney general’s office filed to have three bank accounts at Huntington Bank and one bank account at First National Bank of Pennsylvania frozen during the investigation. The attorney general’s office also asked to have a court order stopping the county recorder’s office from transferring property at 118 S. Ninth St., owned by Olga Pasquarella, according to court documents.

More than $1.5 million was seized May 16 during a series of raids by local and state law enforcement officials in Steubenville, Wintersville and Bloomingdale in connection with a gambling investigation.

The search warrants were served at 61 Laurel Hill Drive, 220 S. Fourth St., 4240 Sunset Blvd., 391 Terri Ave., 118 S. Ninth St., and 213 South Fourth St., all in Steubenville.

Search warrants also were served at 2320 county Road 25, Bloomingdale, and 112 Grandview Drive, Wintersville.

The $1.5 million in cash was taken from a safe at the residence of Tim Smith of 2320 county Road 25, Bloomingdale, according to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. BCI reported a locksmith had to be brought in to open the safe.

Daniel J. Kasaris, an assistant state attorney general, told Common Pleas Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. the order seizing the bank accounts, which contained about $20,000, was allowed to expire on Tuesday and the attorney general’s office will not be seeking a continuation of the order.

Kasaris said the attorney general files such actions in court throughout the state seeking seizure of property prior to forfeiture action during a criminal case. He said the $1.5 million seized from the safe will remain under the control of the state until the investigation is completed.

BCI obtained search warrants, which were executed on May 16. Common Pleas Judge David Henderson signed an order sealing information on what was seized during the execution of the search warrants.