Agents raid DeKalb business over illegal gambling machines

by: Aaron Diamant Updated:

DORAVILLE, Ga. —

Channel 2 Action News was the only news agency there as state and local agents busted an alleged gambling operation.

Channel 2's investigative reporter Aaron Diamant watched agents raid Big Dawgs in Doraville.

The raid happened around 2:30 p.m. It was one of seven Big Dawgs stores in Georgia to be shut down in similar raids Tuesday afternoon.

"It's a very big deal. Millions of dollars have been funneled through this illegal operation," Chief Assistant D.A. Nicole Merchand said.

The raid was part of a coordinated take-down of an operation.

The DeKalb DA's office said the store was run by James Kokott. Kokott and two partners have been indicted and charged with racketeering.

Channel 2 Action News shot exclusive undercover video inside Big Dawgs earlier this week showing the alleged scheme, where agents said customers bought supposed calling cards to use electronic gambling machines that promised big payouts but also cost players plenty.

"It's an issue that preys on the community. We saw an individual up there today that lost $7,000 and to look at him you wouldn't think he would be a man of means," GBI Director John Bankhead said.



In Doraville, agents seized computers and cash. The DA's office said they are fuming, saying Kokott recently moved his operation to Georgia after being prosecuted in Florida for the same scheme back in 2008.

"The state will not stand for this type of activity," Merchand said.

Agents told Diamant late Tuesday afternoon they arrested Kokott at his Big Dawgs store in Rockdale County.

Agents there are interviewing him and plan to take him to the DeKalb County Jail. They're still looking for his business partners.

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