More charges in church charity poker scandal
LAPEER, Mich. – Charity poker games come with high hopes.
Bill Lawsin signed off on the St. John and Blessed Sacrament charity gaming program which was run out of what was Gloria's Poker Place in Burton. It's gone now and replaced by an antiques store. It was closed down by the Michigan Gaming Control Board.
"We thought it was going to bring us a lot of money to help the church out, and it did," said Lawsin.
However, on Thursday, 28-year-old Lapeer High School softball coach Mallory Jackson pleaded not guilty to charges which allege she embezzled cash from the games. Jackson appeared in Genesee County court with Tamara Miller and her husband, Gerald. The three all are tied together through west Lapeer softball.
Moreover, Lapeer wrestling coach Matthew Nowak pleaded guilty in the case. He paid a $1,450 fine.
All of them are tied to Mike McCollum. The Gaming Control Board charges McCollum stole nearly $100,000 from the gaming at Gloria's. He is accused of using the money to take lavish vacations and even buying a condo in Mexico with the cash -- the cash from St. John and Blessed Sacrament charity games.
"It was heartbreaking," said Lawsin.
Lawsin runs the men's club at the church. He said he didn't even know about the thefts until the Gaming Control Board became involved.
"In our eyes, he made a mistake. But still, to me he's innocent until proven guilty. We don't know," said Lawson.
Gloria's Poker Place was closed down three years ago. The case is just now going to prosecutors.
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