Georgia Court Sentences Illegal Sports Betting Ringleader and His Two Cronies

  • Grady Mobley got five years’ probation and a total of $549,800 in forfeiture and restitution
  • His two co-defendants also pleaded guilty to Prohibition of an Illegal Gambling Business
  • The ringleader used his parent’s business in Girard, Georgia to cash bettors’ checks
  • An FBI Atlanta special agent in charge said the trio’s “greed eventually caught up with them”
  • Mobley also admitted to filing false information on his income tax returns to hide illegal earnings
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A federal court in Georgia has handed out sentences to three men from the Deep South for illegal gambling operations, with combined forfeiture and restitution of over $650,000. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Three-man gambling ring

Acting US Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia (SDGA), David H. Estes, has announced the sentencing of an illegal sports betting ringleader and his two fellow Deep South partners in crime.

Grady Brandon Mobley, 44, of Waynesboro, Georgia pleaded guilty to an Information charging him with Prohibition of an Illegal Gambling Business and Fraud and False Statements. The plea earned him five years’ probation, a forfeiture of $340,084, restitution of $207,716, and a $2,000 fine.

The US Attorney SDGA tweeted the news of the three-man gambling ring’s sentencing, which included combined forfeiture and restitution of over $650,000:

Mobley’s two cronies also pleaded guilty to Prohibition of an Illegal Gambling Business. Mobley’s homeboy Daniel Cates, 40, got three years’ probation, a $4,000 fine, and a $100,000 forfeiture. Hailing from Greenwood, South Carolina, second co-defendant Joel Rees Jones, 59, received four years’ probation and a $10,000 fine.

Court documents and testimony revealed how Mobley ran a book for an illicit sports gambling operation “for at least the past 10 years” in North Carolina’s Burke County. Mobley initially took bets and paid out winnings himself, before progressing to a sports wagering website out of Costa Rica.

Mobley’s greed grows

According to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release, Mobley merged his racket with a smaller gambling ring run by fellow Waynesborian Jones, splitting the profits. The FBI division in Atlanta took to Twitter to share special agent in charge Chris Hacker’s assertion that “Mobley’s greed continued to grow over the years […] eventually recruiting other individuals to take part:”

Between 2015 and 2017, Mobley used a parent’s check-cashing enterprise out of Mobley Package Shop in Girard, Georgia to cash bettors’ checks totaling around $220,000. To disguise the incremental volume of cash transactions, Mobley roped in Cates who, in return for “money and favors” from the ringleader, admitted he funneled around $250,000 in betting proceeds through his Waynesboro tire store, Cates Firestone.

greed eventually caught up with them”

Acting US Attorney Estes said Mobley demonstrated “utter disregard for the law and compounded the activity by drawing others into his orbit.” Hacker said the three men’s “greed eventually caught up with them”, with Estes adding that the sentences “will hold them all accountable for their actions.”

Don’t mess with the IRS

Mobley also came clean to filing false information on his income tax returns to hide the earnings made from his illegal gambling activities.

filing of false tax returns in tandem with running an illegal gambling ring as “dangerous moves”

Demetrius Hardeman, criminal investigation acting special agent in charge at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), described the filing of false tax returns in tandem with running an illegal gambling ring as “dangerous moves.” He outlined how unreported income via an illegal betting enterprise carries with it the quadruple whammy of tax due, interest, penalties, and potential jail time.

Another illegal sports betting kingpin making the news recently was ex-Chicago mob bookie Greg Paloian. After confessing in January 2021 to falsifying his taxes and operating an illicit sportsbook business, Paloian was due to surrender himself to Terre Haute federal prison in Indiana on May 20 for a 30-month stretch. In August, however, Paloian won a year’s hiatus on his jail term. A federal court granted his request for compassionate relief based on doctors diagnosing the former Outfit bookie with a malignant, stage four brain tumor.