(UPDATE: StaceyPageOnline.com has learned that a continuance may have been granted for this trial, effectively delaying it until January.)
A jury trial is set to begin at 9 a.m. tomorrow in Kosciusko County Superior Court I in a case of illegal professional gambling.
James Lee Sparks, 38, 2032 W. Lake Park Dr., Warsaw, was arrested by the Indiana Gaming Commission in February 2011 after an investigation into possible criminal activities at the VFW Post 1126 in Warsaw.
The problems began in August 2009 when, according to court documents, Sparks approached the VFW and pitched the idea of operating a charity gaming and poker room. The VFW paid Sparks to run the gaming and was paid approximately $4,000 over the course of the onset of the illegal activity to Sparks’ arrest in February 2011.
Sparks ran the gaming sometimes three days each week, but instead of giving the money to the VFW, he paid himself and dealers he had contracted. Court records show $372,886 was received as gross revenue from the illegal gaming.
Operators of the gaming room were, according to court records, Sparks; Larry Criswell, chief financial officer for the VFW; and Denise Messer, VFW club manager.
During the investigation, Messer, 48, 2798 S. Country Club Road, Warsaw, admitted to falsifying information on the gaming applications. She and Criswell were also arrested in February 2011.
Messer was charged with aiding contracting, a class D felony. Criswell was charged with contracting, a class D felony.
The jury trial is scheduled for three days.