PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia District Attorney’s office has arrested a man the Philadelphia Police Vice Squad has been watching for 20 years, along with eight others, in what they call a long-running illegal street lottery organization.
The nine face felony charges and, if convicted, they could spend up to 65 years in prison.
Investigators say the chief operator of the enterprise, 66-year-old Gary Creagh Sr., led a lavish lifestyle for decades.
Detective Sgt. Jerry Rocks, detailed to the DA’s office, says Creagh had insulated himself from the operations.
“So while the men and women did solid police work, lotteries by themselves are misdemeanor arrests,” Rocks said.
District Attorney Kelley Hodge alleges Creagh’s operation ran in 40 locations around the city, typically unmarked buildings in low-income neighborhoods, offering betting options for players.
“Including bets on numbers selected in Pennsylvania’s Daily Number, Big 4 lottery drawings and designated horse races,” said Hodge.
Players could place bets between 10 cents and $20. Hodge says the street lottery paid a greater value for winning numbers, 700 to 1, compared to the Commonwealth’s legal lottery that pays 500 to 1.
Hodge says players would knock on one of the nondescript storefronts, staffed by two employees, and they would be admitted if they were known, or not perceived as a threat. One worker watched the door while the other took and processed the bets.
Hodge says an investigating grand jury looked at evidence about assets and cash flow, alleging Creagh Sr. deposited over $3 million into various personal accounts in a two-and-a-half-year period.