Manteca School Board Member Under Investigation

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STOCKTON --

People say the Link Net Internet Cafe isn't what it seems.

"Hoes go there. Prostitutes, tweakers, dopies--they're there all the time," said Aja Smith, who lives in Stockton.

Stockton Police say a Manteca Unified School District Board Member has visited the spot too. Police say back in January, Samuel Fant went to Link Net for a couple minutes.

According to court documents, Fant is one of three people targeted in a police investigation into internet gambling.

Police also said he went into the Fat Cat Cafe in the cafe multiple times. During one for those times, he locked the front door to it around 10 p.m.

Fant's lawyer says not all activities that take place in the cafes is illegal. He says some sweepstakes, for example, are illegal.

"It takes months for law enforcement to forensically evaluate the computers to determine what software was used, and whether or not it was clearly illegal.

Police couldn't comment on Fant, but told FOX40 gambling at internet cafes is illegal, including sweepstakes.

"The gambling at these types of establishments is illegal," said Joe Silva of the Stockton Police Department.

Police also say in court documents that Fant drove to the university plaza waterfront hotel and met Aram Mkrtchyan. Mkrtchyan deposited over 100 grand into a bank account hours later. Police later arrested Mkrtchyan on illegal gambling charges.

Fant's lawyer says the meeting isn't related to the deposit.

"I've had 15 meetings myself today. So meeting someone isn't enough to be suspicious," said Reichel.

According to court documents, a month later, police sent an informant to the Fat Cat Cafe. The informant said it appeared that Fant was in charge of the cafe. Detective say video surveillance indicate Fant was in the teller area of this business.

Fant's lawyer says the informant is wrong.

"He's not alleged to be the owner or operator in any fashion, and I know he's not the owner or operator," said Reichel.

Police also say in the documents that during a few instances, Fant drove in a way that that showed he feared that he was being followed. They say during his time as chairman for the Stockton Planning Commission, he was taught various police tactics and surveillance techniques.

The Manteca Unified School District released a statement about Fant to FOX40:

"This is an active, ongoing investigation being conducted by law enforcement. At this point, we will reserve comment out of respect for the process and those involved," said Superintendent Jason Messer."

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