Did Cincinnati Gambler Escape Prison by Forfeiting $1 Million?


Derek Ragan, a convicted Cincinnati drug dealer and gambler, faced more than 30 years in prison after officials raided his restaurant, called it an illegal gambling house and seized almost $1 million in cash, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer. When he left court last month, Ragan had none of that cash – but had his freedom. Ragan agreed to forfeit the $992,457 seized by police, eventually split by four law enforcement agencies and the IRS, hoping for leniency. It worked. He got probation.

“Sometimes money talks,” said Rich Goldberg, a criminal defense attorney who represented Ragan in the past. “I suspect if he had $9.92 instead of over ($992,000 seized), there is a likelihood a plea bargain wouldn't have been as good for him.” Ragan's attorney, Wende Cross, twice hung up when contacted for this story. Julie Wilson, spokeswoman for the Hamilton County Prosecutor, said, “Some charges were dismissed pursuant to a plea agreement but the plea was NOT contingent on forfeiture of the money.”

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