Milton McGregor and 10 others arrested in federal cases concerning bingo and the Alabama Legslature

Milton McGregor Senators James E. Preuitt, Quinton Ross, Jr., Harri Ann Smith and Larry Means Ronnie Gilley

Federal agents descended on Alabama on Monday, October 4 and made a series of arrests in cases involving electronic bingo and alleged bribery and vote buying in the Alabama Legislature.
According to a spokesman for the U. S. Department of Justice, Lanny A. Breuer, 11 individuals have been charged in their roles in a conspiracy to ofter to and to bribe Alabama legislators for their votes and influence on proposed legislation that would legalize electronic bingo gambling machines in Alabama.
The defendants named in the indictment are being charged with the following crimes:
Milton E. McGregor, 71, of Montgomery, AL, (owner of VictoryLand casino in Macon County) was charged with one count of conspiracy, six counts of federal program bribery, and 11 counts of honest services mail and wire fraud;
Ronald E. Gilley, (developer of Country Crossing casino in Dothan) 45, of Enterprise, AL, was charged with one count of conspiracy, six counts of federal program bribery, 11 counts of honest services mail and wire fraud, and four counts of money laundering;
Lobbyist Jarrod D. Massey, 39, of Montgomery, AL, was charged with one count of conspiracy, five counts of federal program bribery, and 11 counts of honest services mail and wire fraud;
Lobbyist Thomas E. Coker, 70, of Lowndesboro, AL, was charged with one count of conspiracy, two counts of federal program bribery, and 11 counts of honest services mail and wire fraud;
Lobbyist Robert B. Geddie Jr., 60, of Montgomery, AL, was charged with one count of conspiracy, one count of federal program bribery, 11 counts of honest services mail and wire fraud, and one count of obstruction of justice;
Public relations spokesman Jarrell W. Walker Jr., 36, of Lanett, AL, was charged with one count of conspiracy, one count of federal program bribery, and 11 counts of honest services mail and wire fraud;
State Senator Harri Anne H. Smith, 48, of Slocomb, AL, was charged with one count of conspiracy, two counts of federal program bribery, one count of extortion, 11 counts of honest services mail and wire fraud, and four counts of money laundering;
State Senator Larry P. Means, 63, of Attalla, AL, was charged with one count of conspiracy, two counts of federal program bribery, two counts of attempted extortion, and 11 counts of honest services mail and wire fraud;
State Senator James E. Preuitt, 75, of Talladega, AL, was charged with one count of conspiracy, one count of federal program bribery, one count of attempted extortion, 11 counts of honest services mail and wire fraud, and one count of making a false statement;
State Senator Quinton T. Ross Jr., 41, of Montgomery, AL, was charged with one count of conspiracy, two counts of federal program bribery, two counts of attempted extortion, and 11 counts of honest services mail and wire fraud; and
State Senator Joseph R. Crosby, 61, of Montgomery, AL, was charged with one count of conspiracy, one count of federal program bribery, and 11 counts of honest services mail and wire fraud.
The conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The federal program bribery charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Each count of extortion, honest services mail and wire fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The false statement charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The indictment also contains a notice of forfeiture as to defendants Smith and Gilley.
The federal investigation deals with acts allegedly committed during the 2009 and 2010 legislative sessions. McGregor and Gilley, along with the various lobbyists, supposedly offered legislators money and other inticements for favorable votes on the legalization of electronic bingo machines.
A federal grand jury began hearing the cases in the spring and summer of 2010 and issued sealed indictments. On Monday, Oct. 4, these indictments were unsealed and the arrests began.
All 11 arrested have been released on unsecured appearance bonds which ranged between $100,000 and $500,00 each. As a condition of his release, McGregor must wear an electronic ankle bracelet.

Timing of Arrests is
‘Suspicious’

Many people question the timing of the arrests and see the entire scenario as a scheme to influence the upcoming general election in November.
State Senator Hank Sanders said, “It is my understanding that this investigation has been going on for 19 months. I cannot understand for the world of me why these indictments come down 28 days before a general election. They could have come down eight days afterwords or 98 days before. It smacks of politics to me!
“I’m against corruption in any form and we must all stand against corruption but our justice system ought not to play politics. The U. S. Attorney in Montgomery is still a Republican hold-over from the Bush Administration and it was her office that hounded former Democratic Governor Siegelman year in and year out for years. “This will have an unknown impact on the November general election.We must see that it is not an adverse impact. I thought that the US Justice Department had a rule that indictments ought not to be handed down against political office holders within 90 days of an election. Maybe I’m wrong but if they do have such a rule, then it was grossly violated in this situation.
“I am deeply concerned about the families of all the people involved whether they are indicted or whether they are the ones who are bringing the indictment.”
Democratic gubenatorial candidate Ron Sparks called the timing of the release of the indictments “suspicious.”
He also said that the indictments “did not mean that the gambling issue was going away and I will continue to push for the regulation and taxation of gambling.”

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