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Terry Goddard Announces Indictment of Three Men, Including Ex-Justice of the Peace, for Running an Illegal Gambling Operation

(Phoenix, Ariz. -- August 25, 2010) Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced that Harold Smith Lee, Jr. of Tempe, Michael Orlando, of Sun City West, and a third unnamed defendant have been indicted on six counts related to running an illegal gambling operation.

The third defendant is not identified at this time because grand jury secrecy requires his name be withheld until he has been served. 

The charges are one count of conspiracy, one count of conduct of operating an illegal enterprise, two counts of promotion of gambling, one count of benefiting from gambling, and one count of betting and wagering. 

The charges include two Class 3 felonies, two Class 5 felonies and two Class 1 misdemeanors.  Also indicted was the non-profit "International Card and Game Players Association" (ICGPA) operated by Lee and based in Tombstone, Ariz.

"Arizona statutes are clear as to when and where gambling should be allowed in our state," Goddard said.  "I will enforce the will of the people and prosecute illegal gambling wherever it occurs."

"We are working with law enforcement agencies throughout the state to raise awareness about illegal gambling and the importance of combating it," said Mark Brnovich, director of the Arizona Department of Gaming. "These types of operations present significant risks for the operators, the patrons and our communities.”

The charges arise from the now-closed Ace High Card Room and Social Club (Ace High), located at 12751 West Bell Road in Surprise.  According to court documents, Lee, who refers to himself as Judge Lee from his prior position as a justice of the peace in northeast Phoenix, is alleged to have provided advice regarding the set-up and operation of Ace High, which was run by Orlando and unnamed defendant. 

In exchange for this assistance, Lee and ICGPA allegedly received a portion of Ace High's revenue. Ace High, which was operated by Orlando and the unnamed defendant from July of 2008 until July of 2010, is alleged to have taken wagers for a fee and to have collected a fee prior to hands of Texas Hold-em poker.  

This case was investigated by the Arizona Department of Gaming.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Todd Lawson. Indictments were handed down by the State Grand Jury on August 23.  The defendants are scheduled to be arraigned in Maricopa County Superior Court on September 7.

A copy of the indictment is attached. For more information, contact Press Secretary Molly Edwards at (602) 542-8019.

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