Gambling ring bust nets five suspects

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Pictured are (l-r) Kevin O’Connor, Deborah Johnson, James Johnson, Thomas Demlow and Gregory Worker.

LANSING — Attorney General Bill Schuette on Wednesday, Jan. 29, announced his Criminal Division has charged five Southeast Michigan individuals for their alleged role in an extensive sports betting ring. Schuette filed criminal charges against Kevin Andrew O’Connor, 55, of Adrian, for allegedly orchestrating the sports betting operation. Schuette also charged Deborah Kay Johnson, 62, of Tecumseh, James Melvin Johnson, 68, of Jackson, Thomas Allen Demlow, 57, of Adrian, and Gregory Todd Worker, 48, of Onsted.

“You can bet that profits from illegal gambling often trigger related crimes that undermine public safety,” said Schuette. “I would like to thank Lenawee law enforcement and the Michigan State Police for their assistance in this investigation. We will continue to work aggressively to shut down any illegal gambling operations we may uncover.”

Charges resulted from a Michigan State Police investigation, which revealed O’Connor allegedly ran a large sports betting operation for more than 15 years in Lenawee County through his flooring store, O’Connor & Sons Flooring, 2920 W. Russell Road, in Tecumseh. It is alleged O’Connor accepted wagers for college and professional football games as well as college basketball games.

O’Connor’s operation is alleged to have fielded bets over the phone and on parlay cards. The operation is alleged to have involved dozens of bettors from Lenawee County and northern Ohio. O’Connor allegedly distributed and collected cards and payments through his flooring store.

The other four defendants charged by Schuette are alleged to have assisted O’Connor in the extensive gambling ring. Deborah Johnson and Jim Johnson allegedly distributed and collected betting cards at O’Connor’s store, and distributed and collected payments for card and phone bets.

Demlow is alleged to have allowed O’Connor to rent space at his home in Adrian to field phone bets. Demlow allegedly gave out lines on upcoming games to bettors and fielded bets over the phone. Worker is alleged to have routinely bet hundreds of dollars on sporting events through O’Connor and accepted betting debts owed to O’Connor from another phone bettor on at least one occasion.

Schuette has issued freeze warrants on some of the defendants’ bank accounts. On January 28, 2014, Schuette filed charges against the five defendants in Lenawee’s 2A District Court.

O’Connor was charged with one count of Conducting a Criminal Enterprise, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine; one count of Conspiring to Conduct a Criminal Enterprise, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine; one count of Distributing Cards that Were Intended to be Used to Violate the Michigan Gaming Control Act, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine; one count of Conducting a Gambling Operation, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine; one count of Failure to File a Tax Return / Filing a False Tax Return, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.

Deborah Kay Johnson, was charged with one count of Conspiring to Conduct a Criminal Enterprise, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine; one count of Aiding and Abetting Distributing Cards that Were Intended to be Used to Violate the Michigan Gaming Control Act, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine; one count of Aiding and Abetting Conducting a Gambling Operation, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine; one count of Failure to File a Tax Return/Filing a False Tax Return, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.

James Melvin Johnson was charged with one count of Conspiring to Conduct a Criminal Enterprise, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine; one count of Aiding and Abetting Distributing Cards that Were Intended to be Used to Violate the Michigan Gaming Control Act, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine; one count of Aiding and Abetting Conducting a Gambling Operation, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine; one count of Failure to File a Tax Return/Filing a False Tax Return, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.

Demlow was charged with one count of Conspiring to Conduct a Criminal Enterprise, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine; one count of Aiding and Abetting Conducting a Gambling Operation, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine; one count of Failure to File a Tax Return/Filing a False Tax Return, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.

Worker was charged with one count of Aiding and Abetting Conducting a Gambling Operation, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine; three counts of Winning more than $50 by Betting, misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail or a $1,000 fine.

O’Connor, Demlow, Deborah Johnson, and Worker were arraigned on January 29 in Lenawee’s 2A District Court. O’Connor, Deborah Johnson and Demlow are next in court for a pre-exam conference on February 10 at 1 p.m. in Lenawee’s 2A District Court.

Worker is due in court next for a pre-exam conference on February 12, 2014 at 9 a.m. in Lenawee’s 2A District Court. O’Connor, Demlow, Deborah Johnson, and Worker were released on personal recognizance bonds.




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