Gas station owner charged with running 'Lil Wendover' at Roy store

Roy police officers help raid an alleged gas station gambling operation in Roy on Jan. 10.

Roy police officers help raid an alleged gas station gambling operation in Roy on Jan. 10. (Eric Morgan, KSL-TV)

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ROY — Criminal charges have been filed against a man whose alleged gambling operation became known as "Lil Wendover," according to police.

Neel Jagdish Patel, 31, was charged Tuesday in 2nd District Court with engaging in a pattern of unlawful activity and money laundering, both second-degree felonies, and possession of five fringe gaming devices, four third-degree felonies and one class A misdemeanor.

Between October and December, agents with the Crimes Against Statewide Economy task force along with Roy police officers conducted an undercover operation at a Texaco gas station at 4395 S. 1900 West.

"There was a total of 20 gaming consoles, with four devices attached together and affixed to a singular table-top screen at five different stations throughout the store. The devices are labeled as 'amusement devices' but are fringe gaming devices, in which the player inserts money and attempts to win a cash prize greater than his investments," according to charging documents.

Store clerks then gave winners of the devices cash, the charges state, adding that Patel "keeps large sums of cash in the store to maintain the gaming done there."

Patel told investigators he installed the machines in March, and combined with the store proceeds, made between $13,000 and $14,000 per week, according to the charges.

Roy police said they had been monitoring the gas station for quite a while, and said some locals even refer to that business as "Lil' Wendover."

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Pat Reavy is a longtime police and courts reporter. He joined the team in 2021, after many years of reporting at the Deseret News and KSL NewsRadio before that.


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