Family In Trouble For Allegedly Pocketing Money Raised For Charity

AKRON, Ohio – Police said they believe that it's the first conviction of its kind in northeast Ohio. An Akron man who organized charity gambling events has been sentenced to jail time after pleading guilty to felony counts of money laundering.

Tom Meyer, The Investigator, was the one who first broke the story of a so-called charity that was all in the family.

A two-year police investigation found that hundreds of thousand of dollars raised for charity during "Las Vegas Nights" gambling events went instead to one family's personal bank accounts.

After pleading guilty to money laundering and engaging in corrupt activity, Sam Georgakopolous was sentenced to six years in prison and fined $20,000 for running the scam. Members of his family are now also facing prison time for their roles.

Emotions ran high when police arrested family members at their home in Akron, but police and prosecutors said that it's legitimate charities that should be getting emotional. Investigators found that the family raised more than $1 million, but said they believe that only a few thousands of dollars actually went to charity.

"He was reaping the rewards from the weekend, which was probably in the area of $40,000 to $60,000," Parma Police spokesman Bill Maurer said. "He was keeping this money along with money laundering that goes along with this."

Police said that the scam was a family affair. Sam's wife, daughter, Traci, and their 23-year-old son, Michael, also pleaded guilty. Michael was indignant at the time of his arrest.

"You've got to be kidding me," he screamed while being read his rights. "This is crazy."

Older brother, Theodore Georgakopolous, has been the only family member to maintain his innocence.

"What money?" Theodore said. "Show me the money!"

Investigators said that charities were never shown the money. Most of it was found in bank accounts belonging to the Georgakopolous family.

"Some of the charities were fictitious," Maurer said. "A lot of the charities that were involved were even unaware that their names were attached to the 'Las Vegas Night' itself."