Lapeer H.S. teacher pleads guilty to charitable gaming violations
March 11, 2016
Detroit – A Lapeer High School mathematics and science teacher pled guilty March 10 before Judge Mark W. Latchana in 67th District Court, Burton, to unlawful distribution of charitable gaming proceeds and conspiracy to violate the Bingo Act, which authorizes charitable gaming. The charges were filed following a joint criminal investigation by the Michigan Attorney General’s office and the Michigan Gaming Control Board.
Theodore Tomczyk, 53, of Lapeer paid a $400 fine and $525 in court fees and was sentenced to three months of non-reporting probation on the two misdemeanor charges as part of a plea agreement dismissing other charges. The charges stem from a two-year investigation focused on charity poker events conducted at Gloria’s Poker Palace in Burton, Mich., between 2010 and 2013.
“The suspect and his coconspirator allegedly schemed ways to use charity poker games to skim money for their own use,” said Richard Kalm, executive director, Michigan Gaming Control Board.
“Lapeer youth were shortchanged and the community was betrayed when a trusted teacher diverted charitable gaming funds from charitable purposes illegally,” he added. “Since this happened, the MGCB has put in place new rules that require charities to monitor their events more closely to help prevent individuals and unlicensed, unregulated poker rooms from using the charities’ fundraisers for their personal benefit.”
Tomczyk, who was the president of the Lapeer West Soccer Club and the Lapeer West Boys’ Basketball Club, admitted he conspired with former Lapeer High School softball coach Mallory Jackson to divert charitable gaming funds raised for the clubs in 2012 and 2013.
Tomczyk also pled guilty to diverting charitable poker money to the Lapeer West Softball Club, Austin Jackson (Mallory Jackson’s ex-husband) and Sullivan & Sullivan, a Lapeer accounting and law firm where Mallory Jackson is employed.
Mallory Jackson was charged in January with embezzlement and related charges in 67th District Court (see MGCB news release). In a related case, Lapeer middle school teacher and high school wrestling coach Matthew Nowak pled guilty to two charitable gaming crimes Feb. 11 and paid $725 in fines and court costs.
The youth sports clubs were independent organizations not affiliated with the school district that qualified for millionaire party event licenses.
Gloria’s and two other Flint area “poker rooms” -- Pocket Aces and Lucky’s -- are among several Michigan locations where charitable gaming was discontinued following MGCB investigations. Since 2014, eight people associated with Gloria’s, Pocket Aces and Lucky’s have pled guilty to gaming crimes following investigations by the Michigan Attorney General’s office and the MGCB. Investigations into charitable gaming activities are continuing.
"The Michigan Gaming Control Board shall ensure the conduct of fair and honest gaming to protect the interests of the citizens of the State of Michigan."