Two Men Plead Guilty in Case Involving Wiretapping of Poker Pro's Phones

Written by:
Guest
Published on:
Jan/15/2018
  • Two man charged with running online sports betting ring and operating illegal poker games
  • A professional poker player is among those other men who have had their phones tapped by federal authorities
  • A state senator also had his phones tapped

Two Wichita, Kansas men have plead guilty to federal gambling and income tax charges for their roles in running an online sports betting operation and illegal poker games within the city of Wichita. 

U.S. Attorney Tom Beall says 67-year-old Danny Chapman pleaded guilty Friday to operating an illegal gambling business and tax evasion. Forty-six-year-old Daven Flax pleaded guilty to two counts of operating an illegal gambling business and one count of making a false statement on a tax return.

In his plea, Chapman admitted to running an online sports betting operation with at least five people working for him while Flax admitted in his plea to running several illegal poker games in Wichita.

The Wichita Eagle reports Chapman and Flax are among several Wichita residents whose phones were tapped by the federal government in 2015.

Wider Reaching Ramifications

One of those individuals includes auto dealership mogul and professional poker player Brandon Steven. 

This past year the Wichita Eagle he was the subject of a federal inquiry into his playing of high-stakes poker and his involvement in trying to open a casino in Kansas.

Letters initially sent out last February by the U.S. Attorney’s Office were delivered to several parties, including various news outlets, saying that phone communication with Steven was intercepted under federal law during the years 2015 and 2016.

Neither the FBI nor U.S. Department of Justice had said at that time what the investigation was about or who may have been involved. Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O’Donnell, who at the time was a state senator, also had his phones tapped.

Steven and a team of local investors bid unsuccessfully to construct the Castle Rock Casino in southeast Kansas. 

Steven told the paper: “I’m aware of the broad nature of this inquiry. As you know and everybody knows, I play high-stakes poker.

“And from what we understand, they are looking into my poker and my involvement with Castle Rock Casino.”

In addition to being a partner in Genesis Health Club Management LLC and co-owning area car dealerships, Steven and a group of investors also purchased the building that happens to house the Wichita Eagle newspaper.

Letters provided to the Wichita Eagles read: “This notice does not mean that you are being charged in court with anything,” says the letter, signed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Smith. “This is simply a notice the law requires we send you,” it says. “It only means that you, or someone using a telephone subscribed to you, were intercepted talking with a person using the telephone listed above.”

Familiar Face on the Poker Circuit

Steven is a familiar face on the live poker circuit, having earned his first cash out in 2006 at the Five Diamond World Poker Classic in a $5000 No Limit event.  He has also appeared in a number of World Series of Poker Main Events.  To date, Steven has won just over $3.1 million in live tournaments.  His biggest win to date was the $48,000 + $2,000 No Limit Hold’em – Super High Roller Area Super High Roller 11 in Las Vegas this past October.


Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/news/local/crime/article194393029.html#storylink=cpy

Steven just announced an opening date for his latest venture, a steak house called 6S.

“It’s going to be like you’ve never seen before in Kansas, and people will walk in and be absolutely wowed,” Steven says. “And that was my goal: to be absolutely wowed.”

- Alejandro Botticelli, Gambling911.com

 

 

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