Nine Mid-State Residents Charged with Running an Illegal Gambling Operation
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Steven Sheely, Sr., 59, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania; Staci Sheely, 52, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania; Steven Sheely, Jr., 39, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania; John McDonald, 37, New Cumberland, Pennsylvania; James Fox, 46, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Bret Hager, 42, Carlisle, Pennsylvania; Brian Fertenbaugh, 43, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania; Ralph Domene, 47, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania; and Roger Charles Vaneslow, II, 44, New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, were indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury in Harrisburg charging them with four counts of running an illegal gambling operation, money laundering, and criminal conspiracy.
According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, the grand jury found probable cause to believe that all were involved in running a sports betting operation. It is a federal crime if five or more individuals are involved in running such an operation, and it operated continuously for more than 30 days or had gross receipts of at least $2,000 in any given day. The indictment alleges that it was in operation over the last six months. All nine were also charged with money laundering and conspiracy. Additionally, the indictment contained a forfeiture allegation, which means that if any or all of the defendants are convicted of the charges, they may be required to forfeit to the United States all illegal gambling proceeds.
Each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment on each count if convicted of the money laundering or money laundering conspiracy charges and fines of up to $500,000 on each of those counts. The charge of operating an illegal gambling business and criminal conspiracy are each punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 on each of those counts.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Harrisburg Resident Agency, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission. This case is being prosecution of by Assistant United States Attorney William A. Behe.
Indictments and criminal informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.
A sentence following a finding of guilty is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances, and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public, and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational, and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.