In a case with heavy political overtones, state and federal officials announced yesterday that a Johnston County, N.C., video-poker operator pleaded guilty 13 months ago to running an illegal gambling operation and agreed to forfeit $5 million in illegal profits, reports the Winston-Salem Journal. Frank Perry, the supervising agent in the FBI’s Raleigh office, called the probe a “public-corruption investigation” related to the video-poker industry’s attempts to curry favor with state officials.
Yesterday, though, investigators focused on David R. “Ricky” Godwin and his son, Ricky Godwin Jr., the second-largest operators of registered video-poker machines in the state. The Godwins operated more than 300 illegal machines in 20 locations. The two pleaded guilty in August 2003, but their plea agreements were sealed until yesterday. Authorities would not explain why the pleas were sealed.