Gloria Williams had absolutely nothing to say before she was sentenced on Wednesday, December 6, 2006 of 63 months or 5 years and 3 months in prison for cases against her which, includes bingo fraud, tax evasion and mail fraud. Her sister, Rita Tipton reiterated the arguments made by their defense attorney Michael Dean, claiming that the gambling losses presented by the U.S. attorney were falsified.
She also said that she would offer no regrets, apologies or even vindication. However, she had plenty to say to the media, the prosecuting attorneys, the Kentucky Office of Charitable Gaming Officials and the Internal Revenue Service Officers who have previously testified against her and her sister before she left the courtroom that day. Rita Tipton said that they should get out of there, so that the other side can begin their celebrations. She would also face the same punishment as her sister. Both Williams and Tipton have been found guilty by the federal jury on 1 count of conspiracy, 2 counts of mail fraud and 3 counts of tax evasion on September 21, 2006 for their involvement in the bingo scam which aims to skim profits while they are managing the Jackpot Charity Bingo in Waco.
The final sentencing was held last Wednesday before Judge Jennifer Coffman, who also assigned $32,546 restitution to Rita Tipton and $48,865 restitution to Gloria Williams. The 2 were ordered to report to prison on January 22, 2007. Judge Coffman said that this would not be an easy time for both the family and friends of the 2 so she would let them spend the holidays with their families.
The defense argued some of their objections regarding the 2 sister's pre-sentencing report, which have been the main determinants regarding the guidelines according to which they've been sentenced. In a memorandum regarding the sentencing filed by the Assistant U.S. Attorney, Ken Taylor said that the amount of tax due to the Internal Revenue Service was computed using an expenditure analysis that has been presented throughout the trial. A rough estimate of the cash that the sisters have allegedly skimmed from the bingo revenues was also determined by averaging the figures from the bingo nights on which the agents from the Kentucky Office of Charitable Gaming were present at the Jackpot Bingo Hall.
At an estimated average of $1,900 in total profits per bingo night, and an average of 21 nights of bingo operations per month, the total estimate was at $1.4 million in total profits due to the illegal activities involving the game of bingo that have been conducted in the bingo hall, according to Judge Coffman. The revenues and the amount of unpaid taxes to the IRS were some of the factors that have been taken into consideration when the sentencing was made.
Defense Attorney Michael Dean argued that the figures are false and it only speculates that the sisters actually made some money, not only from the bingo nights in question, but they made profits every bingo night. He further stated that the $1.4 million was only based in a rough estimate that could not be exacted. Hence, the sentence should only be a maximum of 12 months. U.S. Attorney Ken Taylor said that the sentencing memorandum was impossible to be exact. He added that the lack of precision should not be used for their benefit. Judge Coffman overruled the objection of the defendants like an increase to the gravity of the offense committed based on the allegations that have been made regarding the obstruction of justice under which the defendants have been accused of lying during their testimony in the court.
About 40 witnesses testified during the trial in September including family members, bingo players, the Office of Charitable Gaming Investigators, Casino Operators and IRS Investigators. The sisters have also testified in their own defense. Their family members and friends attended the sentencing last Wednesday, upset that the 2 must serve a prison sentence. Dean said that it is up to his clients whether they want to appeal or not, but personally, he believes that they should appeal because the sentence was unfair.
Sunday, May 06, 2007