Grand Blanc, Flint men sentenced for charitable gaming violations

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DETROIT (WJRT) (6/27/2018) - Men from Grand Blanc and Flint have been sentenced for their roles in a scheme to use the Owosso Poker Room to violate Michigan charitable gaming laws.

James Johnston Jr., 44, was sentenced to three months of probation and a $625 fine. Calvin Leeps, 61, was sentenced to pay a $900 fine.

Both were charged with skimming profits from charities using the Owosso Poker Room for gambling fundraisers.

Johnston, who owned the facility, required Leeps, who supplied gaming materials, to pay him a share of gambling profits from August 2014 to October 2015. State law says all gaming profits must go to charity.

“As the location owner, Johnston Jr. could not require the charity or a supplier to turn over any portion of the charitable gaming proceeds to him,” said Richard Kalm, executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board. “The money Johnston Jr. took should have gone to the charities.”

Both suspects were charged in November and pleaded guilty in March.

Under their plea agreements, Johnston Jr. is prohibited from taking part in any charitable gaming authorized by the Bingo Act. Leeps gave up his gaming supplier license and can't reapply for a new one for two years.

Johnston also sold his interest in the Owosso Poker Room, which remains in operation under new ownership and with a new supplier.

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