Business owner sentenced to jail, fined for gambling charges

For running an illegal gambling operation at his plumbing business, Michael Winfrey received a 44-day jail sentence and a $2,000 fine.

Winfrey, 59, of 808 W. North Front St. will likely do 30 days in jail with credit for good time. At Winfrey’s sentencing this morning, Hall County Judge David Bush approved work release and, in response to Winfrey’s request, said he would “be OK” with house arrest if Hall County Corrections gave the approval.

Winfrey was convicted of four counts of possession of a gambling device and one count of promoting gambling, all of which are misdemeanors.

He was charged after Tri-City Drug Task Force members searched Winfrey’s business, Winfrey Plumbing, on July 10, 2009. They found a gaming room protected by a coded lock, with 12 tabletop gambling machines inside, said Aaron Kunz, deputy Hall County attorney.

All of the machines were on, with credits running. Authorities also found notes with amounts of credits for various people and a photo of someone holding cash while standing next to a machine, Kunz said previously.

Authorities also confiscated about $9,000 in cash, some of which Winfrey’s attorney, John Wieland of Omaha, said wasn’t gambling money.

Winfrey had been charged with 13 misdemeanors — 11 counts of possession of a gambling device, one count of promoting gambling and one count of selling alcohol without a liquor license. In exchange for his plea in April, eight of those counts were dismissed.

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