A significant operation
A man in Texas who was running an illegal gambling business has also admitted to having a role in the theft of military equipment. US Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery announced on Monday that Nathan Nichols has entered guilty pleas relating to both operating an illegal gambling business and the plot to steal government property.
The 46-year-old admitted that he operated the illegal gambling business between March 2018 and August 2019 in Corpus Christi. He also pleaded guilty to the conspiracy to steal certain sensitive government property in June 2021 from a US Army facility at Fort Hood.
Nichols will forfeit over $2.18m worth of illegal criminal proceeds
Through the guilty pleas, Nichols will forfeit over $2.18m worth of illegal criminal proceeds. US District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos will sentence Nichols on June 21. He is facing as much as five years in prison for every conviction and will stay in custody until the sentencing hearing.
The illegal gambling business
Nathan Nichols owned and operated Lady Luck and was the co-owner of Theo’s Bar. Illegal gambling devices were in operation at both of these locations. They included sweepstakes games in which patrons used computers to gamble rather than traditional types of slot machines.
The software simulated the spinning of slot reels instead of physical reels. Gamblers would place their bets in advance of every spin, receiving any winnings in cash.
Three other men were also part of the original indictment relating to the illegal gambling business. In addition to the illegal gambling charges, they were hit with money laundering charges. During the investigation, the authorities seized millions of dollars, gold bars, and numerous vehicles, including a Lamborghini.
Stealing military equipment
The other bizarre component to the story is Nichols admitting that he conspired to steal military equipment with other people. The sensitive goods were worth about $2.18m and were the property of the US Army. Nichols was in contact with one of the people who stole the equipment and asked for pictures of the stolen goods before purchasing them. After getting the items, Nichols put them up for sale on eBay.
The authorities secured a search warrant for Nichols’ home last July. They found military equipment such as night-vision goggles, thermal scopes, laser range finders, and night vision scopes at the residence. All of these items were US Army property.