- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A Calvert County man acknowledged Tuesday in court that St. Mary’s prosecutors had evidence that he illegally maintained a gambling facility last year in Charlotte Hall, and he left court with a suspended one-year jail sentence.
George Raymond Wells, 56, of Huntingtown also agreed during the plea hearing to forfeit about $20,000 seized from the casino, money that will be turned over to a horse-rehabilitation organization in Upper Marlboro. Wells was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service.
The community service “was supposed to be the intent of the casino, and that did not happen,” St. Mary’s District Judge Christy Chesser said.
St. Mary’s Assistant State’s Attorney Daniel White said during the hearing that the investigation carried out last year by sheriff’s detectives, and an ensuing raid, revealed that no money from the casino’s proceeds was received by Thoroughbred Placement Resources Inc., described by the prosecutor as “a completely legitimate charity.”
Instead, the prosecutor said, Wells collected more than $800 a night, amassing a total of about $66,000 that he considered to be a management fee and reimbursement for table rental and other expenses.
“We don’t agree with all of that,” John Mudd, Wells’ lawyer, responded.
Wells at one time had a working relationship with the charity, the lawyer later said, adding that “the real issue came to whether he could reimburse himself for losses.”
“The charity has to run the casino,” White said at one point during the hearing.
After the court proceeding, the prosecutor said an additional $40,000 from the gambling operation was paid to people working at the casino, $71,000 went to repayment of a loan, and that the charity’s offer to supply volunteers to operate the casino was declined.
Wells also forfeited all gambling equipment seized from the casino, but he was allowed to keep $5,000 seized from his home during the investigation. He was placed on unsupervised probation for three years.