INDIANAPOLIS – Two Indy men were charged after they were reportedly connected to racketeering activity while conducting a professional gambling operation in a local barbershop.
Police said Kesny Mathieu, 35, worked along with co-defendant Maxi Nicolas a.k.a. Wilner Andre between September 2022 and June 2023 to knowingly conduct or sell chances in a lottery, policy game or numbers game (a borlette).
A borlette is a location where a bookmaker will sell lottery tickets. It’s commonly referred to as the Haitian lottery.
The prize for a borlette is often sold via cell phone where a player calls, texts or sends an image of the numbers to be played and uses a money transfer service such as Zelle to pay the borlette seller.
Court documents detailed three separate covert operations by police in 2022 where an undercover officer entered the Nice Cut Barbershop on West 38th Street and paid for a borlette ticket.
The tickets purchased in the operation were $20 apiece. Officers said they also witnessed electronic gaming devices (EGDs) in a separate room.
During a deal on Nov. 22, 2022, police said they encountered two men at the borlette counter and identified them as Mathieu and Nicolas. Both men told the undercover officer that if he won the game, he could “get paid using Zelle.”
The two provided the officer with a handwritten note with their first names and phone numbers.
Investigators said they also conducted another covert operation on May 17, 2023, where an officer bought a $20 ticket and witnessed four illegal EGDs. The officer also saw Nicolas pay another person for gambling winnings.
Court records explained typically EGDs that are used for unlawful gambling are equipped with bill acceptors that can take U.S. currency in $1, $5, $10 and $20 denominations.
During a June 28, 2023, search warrant on the barbershop, police found four EGDs in the back room. There was a total of $1,905 in them.
Police also found:
- Several EGD tickets in Nicolas’ office totaling $1,312
- hundreds of borlette tickets on around a small desk
- tickets between October 2022 to June 2023 totaling $22,827.50
- $18,087.75 were sold in June 2023
- HP Laptop
- small printer
- handwritten ledgers indicating the use of money transfer services
- $2,272 in currency around the desk
Nicolas was found to be the barbershop’s owner along with a woman as his vice-president from online business records and filings. He was charged with corrupt business influence, Level 5 felony and eight counts of professional gambling or promoting professional gambling, all Level 6 felonies.
Mathieu was charged with corrupt business influence, Level 5 felony and four counts of professional gambling, all Level 6 felonies.
An initial hearing was scheduled in Mathieu’s case for Oct. 31 at 9 a.m.