OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Two Oklahoma City men accused of taking part in an illegal gambling operation pleaded guilty Monday to federal gambling and money laundering charges.
Teddy Mitchell, 58, and son Dryden Ryley Mitchell, 32, entered the pleas in U.S. District Court in a plea agreement in which prosecutors agreed to dismiss additional charges against both men. The Mitchells and other defendants in the case were scheduled to go to trial next month.
Prosecutors alleged that Teddy Mitchell was the leader of an illegal Internet gambling business that operated poker games, took sports wagers, used an illegal gambling website and laundered illegal gambling proceeds. Mitchell told U.S. District Judge David Russell that he and at least five other men operated the gambling business between 2004 and 2010.
“I went out and found people who wanted to gamble on games,” Mitchell said. Questioned by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ashley Altshuler, Mitchell said he had been a bookie most of his life, taking sports bets for clients, both in person and over the phone. He said he had about 60 clients, some out of state.
Mitchell said he paid taxes on his gambling income and used some of it to buy rental properties. Prosecutors alleged Mitchell tried to hide the source of the money through the real estate acquisitions and violated federal money laundering statutes, but Mitchell said he did not know he was breaking the law by spending the money that way.
“I messed up,” he said. “I did make a mistake.”
Dryden Mitchell said he was active in the operation between 2006 and 2010 and his job was to “settle up.”
“It was pretty simple,” he said. “Meet people, pick up money, drop off money.” At least $10,000 in gambling proceeds was spent as part of a down payment on his home, he said.
Others have already pleaded guilty in the case, and some of the Mitchells’ clients were caught in the web of the investigation.
Former Tulsa athletic director Ross Parmley was fired in December after he was linked to the gambling case. Parmley was publicly identified in court documents that described him as an “admitted gambler with Mitchell.”
Parmley has not been charged in the case.
Teddy Mitchell faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for gambling and up to 20 years and a $500,000 fine for money laundering. His son faces the same possible penalty for gambling and up to 10 years and a $250,000 fine on a separate money laundering charge. Defense attorneys said they will ask for probation.