Defendants in Illegal Gambling Trial Found Guilty

illegal gamblingIllegal Gambling Operators Including Brett Parker Found Guilty, Await Sentencing

After five hours of deliberation, a jury found the three defendants in South Carolina’s federal illegal gambling case guilty.

Judge Cameron McGowan Currie will sentence Brett Parker, his father Jack, and business associate Douglas E. Taylor, in three months. Meanwhile, Brett Parker will remain in prison, serving his life sentence for the double homicide of his wife, Tammy Jo Parker, and business associate and family friend Bryan Capnerhurst.

As part of his punishment, Jack Parker agreed to forfeit a $67,300 certificate of deposit account to the federal government, so that he could keep his home in Lake Murray. Prosecutors sought forfeiture of the house as well, but because Brett and Tammy Parker’s children live there with their grandparents now, the judge ruled that the elder Parkers could keep the home to prevent further disruption to the children’s lives.

The guilty verdict came just two days after the trial officially began, but the jury deliberated for five hours.

Proof of Federal Illegal Gambling Charges

Prosecutors struggled initially to prove that five people were involved in the illegal gambling operation, which is one of the requirements for a federal illegal gambling charge.

“In a federal gambling case, it’s not the gambling itself but the number of people that makes it federal,” said Josh Kendrick, who represented Jack Parker. “So, where an operation where four people were involved would not be a violation of federal law, five people would.”

Prosecutors claimed at first that the deceased Tammy Jo Parker was the fifth member of the operation. Their witnesses claimed that they gave gambling money to Tammy, and a ledger she kept supposedly had notes for the illegal gambling operation’s income as part of the family budget.

“We thought Tammy Parker’s involvement, though much less involved, was sufficient,” said Assistant US Attorney Winston Holliday.  “Then evidence was developed on the laying off of bets and we thought the three names we put in front of the jury were very good.  It’s always hard to predict what a jury will do, but I would imagine and it would seem from questions, their decision was based on the lay off bet.”

In illegal gambling operations, “lay off” bets allow bookies to gamble with each other in order to off-set losses, should the bookie’s clients bet on the same team in the game. Typically, bookies grant each other courtesies with lay off bets that are not afforded to other clients, including a lower percentage charge for losses, and the ability to bet right before the game starts.

Under federal law, a bookie that allows lay off bets is considered part of the organization. For the prosecutors, that brought the total number of people involved in the Parkers’ illegal gambling operation up to eight, from four.

“At the end of the day, the lay-off bets were the strongest arguments,” Holliday said.

The Strom Law Firm Defends Against State and Federal Criminal Charges, Including Illegal Gambling Rings

Our firm was founded by Pete Strom, the former US Attorney for the District of South Carolina. He, along with his team of attorneys, will zealously represent you in any state or federal court in South Carolina against criminal charges, including illegal gambling. Don’t miss out on your one opportunity to protect your rights and maintain your freedom. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm have over 30 years of experience collectively. We offer free, confidential consultations. Do not hesitate to contact us to discuss the facts of your case. 803.252.4800