Sholten Singer/The Herald-Dispatch Local authorities raided the restaurant at Sky Lake in Chesapeake Wednesday, July 15, 2014. The business was searched to gather evidence to support alleged illegal gambling.

IRONTON — Sky Lake and its owner, Tracy L. Ellis, were found guilty of several gambling-related charges Thursday in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court.

More than 20 slot machines were confiscated from Sky Lake along County Road 32 north of Chesapeake three years ago when authorities executed a search warrant at the pay fishing lake.

Authorities also confiscated $68,071.96 during the 2014 raid on the property. While the pay lake remains in business, the three-story building at the property underwent two fires in late January 2015. At least one of those fires was determined to be arson, according to Chesapeake fire officials.

Ellis entered no contest pleas to two misdemeanor gambling charges and four counts of possession of criminal tools. Two other charges of money laundering were amended to possession of criminal tools and he also entered no contest pleas to those charges.

Lawyers representing Sky Lake entered no contest pleas to two charges of money laundering and a charged of engaging in a corrupt activity was amended to attempt to engage in a pattern of corrupt activity.

Judge Andy Ballard set final sentencing in the case for 9 a.m. Friday, July 21.

Ballard made a finding of guilt in the charges against Ellis and Sky Lake.

The case was prosecuted by Dan Kasaris, an assistant Ohio attorney general, serving as special Lawrence County prosecutor.

Since Ellis has no prior criminal record, he can't be sentenced to prison on the low felony counts under Ohio law.

A business can be indicted under state law if the business is involved in criminal activity, Prosecuting Attorney Brigham Anderson said earlier.

An investigation into Sky Lake was undertaken by the prosecutor's office, the sheriff's office and the gambling enforcement section of the Ohio Attorney General's office.

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