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Mike Killian, the former mayor of South Pittsburg claims that he is victim to his political opponents
The 56-year-old Mike Killian, the former two-term mayor of South Pittsburg, was talked about in the headlines of the local media on Friday after being sentenced to 6 months in jail followed by house arrest of one year and a fine of USD 30,000 for organizing and maintaining an illegal gambling operation.
The former major admitted his guilt, but said he had become victim to his political opponents. He also claimed that his activities became known to the public through integrity enquiries in connection with the nomination for US attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee of his brother Bill, and also that he was not the one person who had run such enterprises.
The primary business of Killian is fireworks, but over the past 25 years he ran a range of sidelines that involved gambling, from time to time while serving in public office, although he maintained that his private and public professional lives were kept apart.
According to prosecutors, they have discovered no evidence that his office had been used to further his gambling businesses.
The gambling sidelines mentioned above included the running of an illegal lottery operation between the years of 1988 and 2012, an operation for sports betting since 2002 and machines for video gambling since 2004. He also said he started an online, offshore website for betting late in 2012.
The estimation of prosecutors is that Killian made no less than USD 400,000 from the lottery, gaming and sports betting machines throughout this time period, and documents from court indicate that his sports betting operation generated between USD 8 million and USD 12 million wagers over a decade in operation, a number that is disputed by Killian.
The reports by Times Free Press indicate that during his hearing Killian admitted he had lost control over his gambling operations, and that he extended his apologies to both the residents of Pittsburg and his family.
Killian stated that since then he has learned about the Department of Justice investigations into his activities and that they had been in progress for 2 years prior to the time when his gambling operations were raided by the authorities in January of 2013, when they took hold of USD 38,475 in cash and a dozen machines for video gaming.
Documents indicate that the Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee of the US Attorney claimed it had nothing to do with the case of Killian, which left the public integrity section of the Department of Justice to deal will Killian.
Killian stated that there may have been political motives behind his prosecution and that many of the questions directed at him by federal prosecutors came right out of my political opponents mouths.
Mark Angehr, the federal prosecutor maintained that Killian should receive sentence of between one year and eighteen months, claiming:
The audacity of this criminal business that has been running for such a long time is shocking.
The legal representatives of Killian suggested that his client should be granted probation and that since no ties exist between his position as mayor and the gambling, he should not be given a harsher sentence than that of others who are faced with the same charge.
The districts similar charges had almost in all cases led to terms of probation instead of prison sentence, he said.
The 53-year-old Robert Barry Cole, the co-defendant in the case, also received a sentence he will serve in prison for 3 months, which will be followed by house arrest of six months.
Some other cases of running illegal online gambling business find here.