Ex-gambling supply store co-owner could face prison

The former co-owner of Reece’s Las Vegas Supply on Needmore Road has pleaded guilty to several federal charges involving the business and activities held between February 2004 and May 2011.

Reece Powers II pleaded guilty to conspiracy to operate an illegal gambling business and operating an illegal gambling business, conspiracy to defraud the United States and witness tampering, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

According to the department, Powers oversaw the recruitment of local nonprofit charitable organizations to sponsor poker fundraisers that included casino-like card games. Powers entered into arrangements with the charitable organizations to control all of the funds generated from the poker fundraisers, according tot he release, issued Thursday.

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Powers, with the help of co-conspirators, took a portion of the money made during the poke fundraisers to pay workers, among other things, which was a violation of state law and federal gambling laws, the department said.

Then-existing Ohio laws required the business to transfer all the funds made from the games of chance to the nonprofit organizations and were only able to deduct prizes paid out and the necessary expenses sanctioned under law, the release said.

The department of justice said Powers “provided false accounting to the charitable organizations of the funds received from the events and skimmed a portion of the money.”

Powers also was accused of either supervising or distributing illegal cash payments to his co-conspirators and employees who worked as card dealers, cashiers, chip sellers, pit bosses, tournament directors and managers, the department said.

Other defendants in the case; Douglas Sanders, Jason Pulaski, Michael Gedeon, Jennifer Williams and Walter Dyer previously pleaded guilty to gambling and obstruction of justice offenses.

In 2009, Powers and Allen Beck, a former business broker, conspired to defraud the IRS after attempting to sell Reece’s Las Vegas Supply in an effort to evade takes.

In February 2010, Powers also tampered with a witness who was scheduled to testify before a federal grand jury by instructing the witness to testify falsely that the witness and other supply store staffers did not get paid for working the poker fundraisers.

A sentencing date for Powers has not been set, but he faces a maximum 35 years in prison and $1 millon fine.