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Evidence may be blocked in gambling prosecution

| Apr 6, 2021 | White Collar Crimes |

The introduction of state-regulated sports betting in 2019 and casino gambling may make it difficult to realize that most gambling is illegal in Indiana. Prosecutors filed criminal charges against a New Palestine man who allegedly ran an illegal bookmaking operation that took in over $17 million in sports bets over three years. However, a criminal defense motion to suppress evidence may block prosecution and reveal some of the rights defendants possess in white collar and other prosecutions.

Investigation

Investigators claim that the defendant made over 176,000 betting transactions beginning in Jan. 2016. According to a former business partner and game commission investigator surveillance, the defendant was seen counting large amounts of cash from his operation.

His partner also claimed that he went with the defendant to collect money and that the gambling was handled through two websites.  According to the arrest affidavit, text messages from the defendant’s phone indicate he directed bettors to those sites, gave passwords for access and contained the bettors’ identities.

Investigators also conducted surveillance on the defendant in 2018, according to the affidavit. They saw him going into the Indianapolis bars that the business partner claimed were the rendezvous for collecting money. Investigators said that they later saw the defendant meet with many people for short time periods and exchange packages.

Seizing evidence

From this investigation, police obtained search warrants for the defendant’s home, shop, and safety deposit box. Law enforcement also searched his pickup truck and located his phone.

There was no separate warrant for the vehicle. Records indicate that it was mentioned in the warrant for his shop. But police stopped the defendant and searched this vehicle when it was eight miles away from the address cited in the warrant.

Defendant claimed that he gave police the keys to his business and told them no one was inside. But police used a battering ram and flash bang grenades to gain entry, according to the defendant.

Defendant was charged with the felony offenses of corrupt business influence, professional gambling, knowingly engaging in bookmaking, promoting professional gambling and theft.

Motion to suppress

The defendant filed a motion to suppress all evidence from the search of his vehicle, his cellphone. and his business because it was illegally obtained from a warrantless search. His attorney argued that the vehicle was not at the address in the warrant when it was searched and that they used excessive methods to enter his business.

The court will hear argument on May 10. Prosecutors say the court’s ruling could impact whether charges will be reconsidered or amended.

The criminal justice system can be confusing and intimidating. Kammen & Moody can offer you the experienced support you need.