Couple accused of running multi-county illegal sports betting operation in SE Michigan

John, Ellen Zunich facing felony charges

Published On: Jul 30 2013 02:27:53 PM EDT
DETROIT -

A Wayne County couple is facing charges for their roles in allegedly running a multi-county illegal sports betting operation in southeast Michigan and filing false tax returns.

John Zunich, 70, and Ellen Jane Zunich, 68, both of Westland, face felony charges.

The Michigan Attorney General's office launched an investigation with the Westland Police Department after receiving a tip from that agency.

During the course of the investigation, investigators froze assets of approximately $733,162, which were thought to be derived from the proceeds of the illegal gambling operation.

The investigation found that John Zunich allegedly took straight bets as a bookie between Dec. 2, 2002 and May 1, 2012.

Further investigation also established that John Zunich allegedly printed football betting cards at ArtCraft Printing in Detroit, of which he was the owner and operator.

It is alleged John Zunich would print college and professional betting cards and distribute them across multiple contacts in multiple counties, including Wayne, Oakland and Macomb.

While John Zunich primarily focused on college and professional football betting, he is alleged to have coordinated bets on college basketball as well.

John’s wife, Ellen, is alleged to have handled all of the bookkeeping for both the legitimate aspects of the Detroit printing business and the illegal gambling operation.

She allegedly had knowledge her husband took illegal bets as a bookie, and was instrumental in allegedly making gambling proceeds appear as if they were legitimate income.

John Zunich is charged with:

One count of Conducting Criminal Enterprises, punishable by 20 years in prison and/or $100,000 fine; and,

One count of Failure to File/False Taxes, a 5-year felony and/or a $5,000 fine.

Ellen Zunich is charged with:

One count of Failure to File/False Taxes, a 5-year felony and/or a $5,000 fine.

The couple surrendered to authorities at the Westland Police Department on Monday.

They were arraigned and released on personal bond.