Schuette, Hanko Announce Guilty Pleas in Case of Illegal Gambling Operation Run by Former Flat Rock Police Officer, City of Trenton EmployeeContact: Joy Yearout 517-373-8060
July 12, 2012
LANSING -Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and FBI Acting Special Agent In Charge Edward Hanko today announced the Attorney General's Public Integrity Unit has secured guilty pleas from a former Flat Rock police sergeant and a City of Trenton Public Works employee for conducting an illegal gambling operation involving wagers on professional and college football games conducted on city time with taxpayer resources. The charges resulted from an investigation by the FBI-Led Detroit Area Public Corruption Task Force, with assistance from task force members: the Michigan Attorney General and the Michigan State Police.
"Ensuring public integrity and public safety for all citizens are two of the most important priorities of government," said Schuette. "Officials who break the law and use taxpayer resources to do it will face justice."
"Public officials who seek to conduct illegal gambling operations and use taxpayer resources to facilitate those operations will be brought to justice," said Hanko. "The FBI led Detroit area public corruption task force remains committed to stopping those who abuse positions of public trust."
On July 11, 2012 former Flat Rock Police Sergeant Charles Sanders, Jr., 46, of Gibraltar, pled guilty to two counts of Misconduct in Office, a five year felony, before Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Vera Massey Jones. Sanders will be sentenced by Judge Jones on August 10, 2012. Schuette noted his office will seek incarceration for Sanders.
City of Trenton Public Works employee Kevin Sargent, 35, of Grosse Ile, previously pled guilty to fourteen counts of Illegal Sports Betting, a misdemeanor offense on March 28, 2012 before Wayne County Circuit Court Judge James Chylinski. Sargent agreed to testify against Sanders and will be sentenced to two years probation.
The investigation revealed that from August 2006 through January 2012 Sanders ran an illegal sports betting operation during work hours with the use of taxpayer resources. Beginning in August 2011, Sargent accepted the bets on collegiate and professional football games by phone, while Sanders served as "the bank," collecting cash from losing betters and remitting winnings to participating gamblers, often while on duty as a police officer. Sanders accepted bets while sitting in his squad car on multiple occasions. On one occasion Sanders collected $15,000 from a losing better who drained his retirement account to pay the debt. The two defendants also used taxpayer-funded phones at the Flat Rock Police Department to organize the details of the illegal betting operation (specific wagers, point spreads, and financial risk).