Patricia Ann Church, 51, and Vanessa Kyung Park Nagy, 24, both of Smyrna; and Patty Lavonne Furr of Marietta worked at Howard’s Restaurant on Concord Road just off South Cobb Drive. According to criminal warrants, the women allegedly used cash payments from registers to reward electronic gambling winners at the restaurant.
Church and Nagy were charged by Cobb police with felony commercial gambling and video amusement gambling, a misdemeanor. They were booked at Cobb County jail and released on $5,000 bonds. Furr was charged with felony commercial gambling, but jail records do not indicate she has been arrested.
Authorities charged the women as part of a Marietta/Cobb/Smyrna Narcotics & Intelligence Unit sting operation conducted between April and August, Cobb Police spokesman Sgt. Dana Pierce said. Police said Nagy worked as a cashier at the restaurant, while Church and Furr were employed as bartenders.
Under Georgia law, the operation of gaming machines is allowed, but prizes in the form of cash, tobacco products, alcohol or lottery tickets is prohibited. In recent years, police across the state have been cracking down on such commercial gambling.
Church and Nagy were accused of taking hundreds of dollars from cash registers to give as rewards and accepting video gaming vouchers to pay for restaurant tabs, according to the warrants. Furr was described by police in at least one incident as acting as a so-called middle-man by giving a prize voucher to Nagy knowing it would be converted into cash.
Neither Nagy nor Church returned calls for comment by press time.
Robert Martin, co-owner of Howard’s Restaurant, declined to comment on the incident.