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Former Bentley school board member receives 90 days in jail for larceny

Admitted to stealing money from charities’ poker fundraisers

Detroit – A Genesee County Circuit Court judge sentenced former Bentley School board member Michael McCollum to 90 days in jail for stealing thousands of dollars from Flint area charities’ poker fundraiser proceeds between 2010 and 2013.

McCollum, 52, of Burton pled guilty in June to two larceny counts and 11 counts of misdemeanor charitable gaming violations.

Judge Geoffrey L. Neithercut also sentenced McCollum to five years’ probation and $1,416 in fines and fees on Sept. 13. McCollum was required by plea agreement to pay $40,000 in restitution to two Catholic churches, Blessed Sacrament and St. Francis Xavier.

The charges arose from an investigation by the Michigan Attorney General’s office and the Michigan Gaming Control Board (see MGCB news release). McCollum operated charity poker events at the former Gloria’s Poker Palace in Burton.

“Stealing money from unwitting charities under the pretense of ‘helping’ them operate their games is wrong,” said Richard Kalm, executive director, MGCB. “We enforce Michigan gaming regulations to help charities avoid becoming crime victims. We have seen fewer problems since introducing charitable gaming rules in 2014.”

McCollum pled guilty 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) 

As part of a plea agreement, 10 other 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.

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."