AUGUSTA, GA: Two Waynesboro, Ga., men and a Greenwood, S.C., man have been sentenced for participating in an illegal gambling operation.
Grady Brandon Mobley, 44, of Waynesboro, was sentenced to five years of probation and forfeited $340,084 after pleading guilty to an Information charging him with Prohibition of an Illegal Gambling Business and Fraud and False Statements, said David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. Mobley also must pay $207,716 in restitution to the IRS and Georgia Department of Revenue and pay a fine of $2,000.
Two co-defendants also were sentenced after pleading guilty to Prohibition of an Illegal Gambling Business. Daniel Cates, 40, of Waynesboro, was sentenced to three years of probation and agreed to forfeit $100,000, and fined $4,000, while Joel Rees Jones, 59, of Greenwood, S.C, was sentenced to four years of probation and a fine of $10,000.
“With his long-running illegal gambling operations, Grady Mobley showed utter disregard for the law and compounded the activity by drawing others into his orbit,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Estes. “These sentences will hold them all accountable for their actions.”
As described in court documents and testimony, Mobley operated as a “bookie” for an illegal sports betting operation for at least the past 10 years in Burke County, at first collecting bets and paying out winnings himself, and later through a sports betting website operated from Costa Rica.
In 2015, Mobley merged his operation and began splitting his profits with a smaller gambling ring operated by Jones. From 2015 to 2017, Mobley cashed bettor’s checks totaling approximately $220,000 at his parent’s check cashing business which operated out of the Mobley Package Shop in Girard, Ga. To help conceal the growing amount of cash involved in the transactions, Mobley enlisted the assistance of Cates, who admitted that he funneled approximately $250,000 in gambling proceeds through his Waynesboro tire store, Cates Firestone, in return for money and favors from Mobley.
During this period, Mobley admitted filing false information on his income tax returns to conceal the amount of proceeds from the illegal gambling operation.
“Mobley’s greed continued to grow over the years as he operated his illegal gambling operation, eventually recruiting other individuals to take part,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in charge of FBI Atlanta. “Their greed eventually caught up with them and now they will suffer the consequences. No matter where an investigation takes us, the FBI and our federal partners will pursue criminal activity that violates our Constitution.”
“Operating an illegal gambling operation and filing false tax returns to the IRS are dangerous moves,” said IRS-Criminal Investigation Acting Special Agent in Charge Demetrius Hardeman. “Not only can the unreported income from the gambling operation result with tax due, interest, and penalties, but it also can result in prison time. The sentencing today brings accountability and justice for the conspiring parties.”
The case was investigated by the FBI and IRS Criminal Investigations, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tara M. Lyons and Asset Recovery Unit Chief Xavier A. Cunningham.
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