NASHUA -- The owners of BIGS Cafe in Nashua and the corporation that owns it pleaded guilty last month to running an illegal gambling enterprise.
Anthony DiCesare and Christopher LeSaffre, who are the owners of BIGS Cafe LLC, each pleaded guilty Jan. 22 to a misdemeanor gambling charge. The BIGS Corp. pleaded guilty to a felony gambling charge, Hillsborough County Attorney Patrician M. LaFrance said in a statement Tuesday. During a 13-month investigation beginning June 2011, Nashua police visited the cafe at 295 Daniel Webster Highway multiple times, LaFrance said. Officers were told the cafe was a charitable outfit accepting donations for Homes for Our Troops. They were told the donations were transferred to electronic tokens, which could be used to play on various video poker and slot-style game machines at the cafe.
A search warrant executed July 13, 2012, revealed only $2,438.95 was donated to Homes for Our Troops, LaFrance said.
The corporation’s bank accounts showed transactions of up to tens of thousands of dollars were made on a regular basis, LaFrance said.
The corporation was sentenced to pay a $50,000 fine, with $30,000 suspended for five years, to make a $10,000 donation to Homes for Our Troops and to forfeit all items and money seized from the business. The corporation also was ordered to cease and desist in New Hampshire.
LeSaffre and DiCesare each were sentenced to 12 months in the House of Corrections and a $2,000 fine, all of which were suspended provided they remain on good behavior and not operate a similar business unless the state Legislature authorizes them.
Nashua police launched its investigation after Lowell, Mass., police told them BIGS Corp. expressed an interest in opening an “internet cafe” in that city.