A New Haven man who pleaded guilty to illegal gaming practices was sentenced Tuesday in Allen Superior Court.
According to court documents, John Gahan, 68, of the 3700 block of Meter Drive, had been charged with two Class C felonies of corrupt business influence and theft; value of property at least $100,000; professional gambling, a Class D felony; and unlawful charity gaming contracting, a Class D felony. Gahan had accepted a plea agreement that dropped all charges but a Class C felony of corrupt business influence.
According to court documents the charges stem from an investigation in the spring of 2011 by Rob Townsend, a gaming control police officer with the Indiana Gaming Commission, who investigated suspicions that the charity gaming activities operated by American Legion Post 330 were being conducted in a manner that violated state charity gaming laws.
According to court documents in a June 28 interview Gahan said he had been Post 330's finance officer off and on from 2006 through June 2010. During that time he admitted they paid two people $1,000 a week and the gaming night workers from the post's general fund. According to court documents: he claimed everyone on the board knew this and said the payment plan had been approved by the Post 330 board a few years ago; that the payment plan had been approved thereafter; that no written documentation existed of this; and that the tape recorder during the board meeting had been turned off when approval was given. He estimated that $3,800 to $ 4,000 was paid weekly to the gaming night “workers” and the gaming operations managers, according to the court documents.
Based on the investigation, Townsend estimated that during the past five years $998,000 and $1,040,000 in illegal payments was given to Bingo/Pull Tab “workers” and managers, according to court documents. These illegal payments total 39 percent to 41 percent of the nearly $2.53 million of the retained gaming income Post 330 reported to the Indiana Charity Gaming Commission during the same time period, according to court records.
Tuesday, Superior Court Judge Fran Gull gave Gahan a four-year suspended sentence with four years of probation and ordered he pay back $416,000 to Post 330.
Gahan's attorney, Robert E. Love, tried to get the judge to drop the monetary restitution, saying not one dime of that money had gone to his client and that his client was retired, in poor health with no source of income to pay the money back. Gahan will be expected to pay the money back during his four years of probation.