Bingo Corruption – Allegations Lead to Prison Sentences for Three or More Political and Business Figures in Alabama
A complex conspiracy to bribe Alabama legislators for votes favorable to electronic Bingo legislation ends with guilty pleas and incarceration. Three Alabama men were sentenced to prison on July 16, 2012 for their involvement in conspiracy and bribery of the Alabama State Legislature. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson imposed the sentence based on guilty pleas. Of the nine defendants on trial, none were convicted. U.S. District Court acquired victory through guilty pleas by the four individuals who have pleaded thus far.
The conspiracy revolved around legislation that would permit electronic Bingo in the State. One of the defendants, Ronald Gilley, local businessman owned a controlling interest in real estate that would have stood to profit from an implementation of electronic Bingo. According to recent AP reports, there still may be more charges pending.
Key Players in the Scandal
Sentenced to nearly five years in prison, former State Representative Terry Spicer of Elba pleaded guilty to one count of federal bribery on July 16. Spicer requested and received bribes in exchange for persuading clients of lobbyist Jarrod Massey, lobbyist to sway legislation in favor of electronic gaming. Ronald Gilley was one of Massey’s largest clients and the two gave money, gifts, and trips to Alabama legislatures for their favorable votes. Another former lobbyist, Jennifer Pouncy pleaded guilty, as well and is awaiting sentencing set for August 29. In total, nine defendants stood trial for the conspiracy and bribery.
The Low Down for Players
The plan was to bribe their way to legislation for legal gambling in Alabama. both admitted on the stand to an array of corruption. Both men attempted to bribe both State and Federal legislature. Gilley pleaded guilty to laundering money in an attempt to cover-up $200,000 in bribes to a State Senator. Spicer also pleaded guilty to accepting cash payments of $1,000-$3,000 per month for over four years, $20,000 campaign contributions, $22,500 in concert tickets, and a ski-trip with a price tag of $10,000.
Gilley’s controlling interest in the real estate that would have offered electronic Bingo to the Alabama public was a driving force behind the bribes and attempt to cover-up by laundering some of the money. Gilley was presented as a key witness for the government two trials in this case. The Alabama attorney general’s office is currently reviewing allegations of corruption that both Gilley and Massey testified about to a State grand jury. Pending review, more charges are possible.