JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. — A Johnson County man is facing charges for running an illegal gambling operation.

A probable cause affidavit indicates that 53-year-old Matthew Nix utilized the online poker app LFGO to make more than $174,000 dollars. Nix allegedly used a private Facebook group called New Age Poker (NAP) to communicate with the operation’s administrators and players.

Court documents indicate the Indiana Gaming Commission conducted an undercover investigation into Nix’s activities. Investigators quickly found Nix’s public Facebook page, where he touted “daily cash games, next-day payouts and daily tournaments” that were conducted via a private group.

Using an undercover Facebook account, Indiana Gaming Commission officials requested to join the private group, according to the probable cause affidavit. Investigators were then granted access to the Facebook group, where they discovered much of NAP’s business was conducted via instant money transfer apps like Zelle, Cash App and Venmo.

Investigators infiltrated the NAP group on July 19, 2022. Two days later, Grand Jury subpoenas were served for Nix and another administrator’s Zelle records.

On Aug. 17, 2022, the Indiana Gaming Commission received Nix’s records from Zelle. The report showed a large number of high-dollar transactions had been made — some of which were even labeled “Poker buy in, Game or The Game,” per the probable cause affidavit.

Investigators later circled back on some of the Facebook messages they exchanged with a NAP group administrator. Court documents indicate Indiana Gaming Commission officials then discovered the administrator in question had deleted the correspondence they had with undercover agents.

A search warrant was later issued to Meta — Facebook’s parent company — for Nix’s personal account records. A report of more than 13,000 pages was returned to investigators on Oct. 13, 2022.

Court documents show many pictures and chats related to NAP were discovered in the report. The information Facebook provided also allowed investigators to determine that Nix and other administrators had become suspicious of them. Nix and others thought the agents were from another online poker group that was looking to steal NAP’s players.

Nix’s Facebook records also showed a screenshot of his Venmo balance, which totaled $8,132.42. The probable cause affidavit reported that NAP was still active with almost 300 members as of March 20, 2023.

Investigators confronted Nix in person at the Horshoe Indianapolis Casino in Shelbyville on April 6, 2023. Nix was employed as a poker dealer there, and the Indiana Gaming Commission has an office in the casino, according to court documents.

In the subsequent interview, Nix confessed that he was likely making $1,500-$2,000 a week via NAP and the LFGO app. He estimated NAP was raking in $10,000 to $15,000 a week.

The probable cause affidavit indicates that Nix then printed a list of NAP administrators for the Indiana Gaming Commission. Nix’s report also demonstrated how much money each NAP administrator had made. The total earnings between six administrators was more than $700,000, according to court documents.

The group reinvested approximately $80,000 into a promotional account designed to elevate NAP and recruit new players, per the probable cause affidavit.

A subpoena was then served for Nix’s Venmo transactions on June 13, 2023. Court documents show that Nix sent $347,025.64, received $447,562.02 and withdrew $121,835.89 via Venmo.

Nix has been charged with professional gambling over the internet — a level 6 felony. If convicted, Nix could face up to two and a half years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Nix’s initial hearing date has been rescheduled four times and is now slated for Oct. 16.