Dotson faces sentencing in gambling probe

Ron Gregory

February 20, 2014

CHARLESTON — A plea hearing has been scheduled for Gregory A. Dotson of Wheatley Branch, Chapmanville, who was named in an information in U.S. District Court in Charleston on February 4.

An information generally means the defendant is cooperating with the government.

The charges in the information say Dotson owned and operated B & J Business Enterprises, Inc., which was doing business at Giovanni’s Pizza at 617 Main Avenue, West Logan.

The prosecution says Dotson opened a business named B.D. Amusement Company, incorporated in the State of Kentucky in 2008. The Kentucky business’s principal place of operation was the Appalachian Plaza in or near South Williamson.

The government alleges the primary business purpose of B.D. Amusement Company was to promote an “illegal gambling business.” Specifically, the government maintains, this was the site of an illegal gambling parlor operating unlicensed video poker machines commonly known as “gray machines.”

Kentucky law prohibits the operation of a gambling device for customer profit.

Since at least May 2008, the government says, Dotson caused employees to pay customers for playing the gray machines.

The information says Dotson routinely traveled across state lines, from Logan to South Williamson, to obtain the proceeds from the illegal gambling operation.

Returning to West Virginia, Dotson commingled funds from the gambling operation with those of the pizza restaurant, contrary to law, the government says.

As a result of his ill-gained profits, Dotson bought luxury items for himself and his family, according to prosecutors. Among the items bought was a 2009 350Z Nissan automobile purchased from Bill Gatton Imports of Bristol, Tennessee.

The government is asking for forfeiture of all items purchased with Dotson’s illegal funding. This includes $308,000. Substitute assets are also sought, including $148,730.94 in cash; a Mercedes GL 550; a Rolex “Oyster Perpetual Day-Date Special Edition Watch; a gold-plated .50-caliber Israel Weapons Desert Eagle; a Colt Gold MX IV Series 80; a Colt Gold Cup Limited Edition; a Colt Patriotic Tribute .45-caliber pistol; a Taurus 9 mm hand gun; 40 video gaming machines; and 82 video gaming machines.

Court records show Dotson will enter a guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Thomas Johnston at 10 a.m., March 4, in Charleston federal district court.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas C. Ryan is handling the case for U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin.