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Former Bentley school board member will pay $40,000 in restitution to charities, pleads guilty to larceny

Detroit – A former Bentley School board member will pay $40,000 in restitution for funds stolen from Flint area charities’ poker fundraisers after pleading guilty June 28 in Genesee County’s 67th District Court to two felony counts of larceny by false pretenses and 11 counts of misdemeanor charitable gaming violations.

Michael McCollum, 52, of Burton operated charity poker events at the former Gloria’s Poker Palace in Burton and admitted taking proceeds from events affiliated with two Catholic churches, Blessed Sacrament and St. Francis Xavier, between 2010 and 2013. The charges arose from a two-year investigation by the Michigan Attorney General’s office and the Michigan Gaming Control Board (see Jan. 20. 2016, MGCB news release).

“When the charitable gaming money was stolen, the charities had fewer resources for good works, which hurt the community,” said Richard Kalm, executive director, MGCB. “We are pleased the charities will receive restitution. The MGCB enforces gaming regulations to protect charities and help them avoid becoming victims of crime. We have seen fewer problems since introducing charitable gaming rules in 2014.”

McCollum pled guilty before Judge Geoffrey L. Neithercut to:

  • Larceny by false pretenses of $1,000 to $20,000, a five-year felony
  • Larceny by false pretenses of more than $20,000, a 10-year felony
  • Managing a millionaire party without being a member of the qualified organization, a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine (11 counts)
  • McCollum will be sentenced Sept. 8, 2016, at 8:30 a.m. As part of a plea agreement, the remaining 10 counts, including two felonies, were dismissed.

    Investigators say McCollum spent charitable gaming proceeds on a time-share property in Mexico and vacations. He was accused of skimming profits from more than 130 licensed charity events.

    “State charitable gaming laws require charities to manage the games and gaming records,” Kalm said. “In this case, a non-member managed the events and stole from the gaming proceeds.”

    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, 13 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.

    "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."