Greer Police Benefit From Seized Poker AssetsOctober 1, 2009 7:34 am
U.S. Attorney Walt Wilkins handed the Greer Police Department a cheque for $1.3 million Wednesday following the successful prosecution of Billy Joe Hindman who operated around 25 illegal gambling businesses in Spartanburg and Greenville Counties over a seven year period.
Hindman owned a portfolio of properties which he leased to business owners but with the proviso his video poker machines were kept and operated at the premises. Hindman was in the poker video business before they were outlawed in 2000 but continued to operate his business as usual following the ban.
Wilkins praised the successful “coordination, cooperation and communication” between local and federal agencies and the money handed over to Greer police represented their cut from a share arrangement organised with federal prosecutors and the IRS.
Hindman pleaded guilty to running an illegal gambling operation and money laundering back in 2007 and accepted a plea bargain to give up $9 million in assets in order to avoid prison time. So far, $4 million in assets have been seized from Billy Joe Hindman and a receiver is now in charge of over seeing the sale of a further $5 million in assets. However there is likely to be a delay in retrieving the remaining money as Wilkins explains:
“Right now is not the best time to be selling in the real estate market. So as a result, the money is a little slower coming as we’ve hoped. We’ll get there eventually because, hopefully, the economy will come back and the properties will be sold and the money will be redistributed.”
Following completion of the seizure Greer police are expected to receive a further $1 million and Chief Dan Reynolds explained that the money would benefit the community as a whole by being spent on police training as well as buying equipment and vehicles for the department.
“It has to be spent for law enforcement purposes,” Chief Reynolds said. “It can’t be used to supplement the budget.”
Hindman avoided a potential 25 year prison term as a result of his $9 million plea bargain and instead the 66 year old received 5 years probation and 200 hours of community service for his cooperation with prosecutors.