Local News

Former State Lottery Commissioner Released After Federal Court Appearance

Posted May 24, 2006 9:11 a.m. EDT

— A former state lottery commissioner accused of defrauding the state by failing to disclose his work for a lottery company maintained after his first court appearance Wednesday that he is innocent of the charges.

"I look forward to a great day in court," Kevin Geddings said as he left the federal building in a white SUV.

Geddings was indicted last week on nine counts of mail or wire fraud tied to his work with the lottery commission. Prosecutors said he misled state officials by not reporting that his consulting firm received nearly $230,000 between 2001 and 2005 either from Scientific Games International or a company it later acquired.

Reporting the work on financial disclosure forms required of state appointees may have disqualified him from serving on the state's lottery board.

House Speaker Jim Black appointed Geddings to the lottery commission last September, but Geddings quit Nov. 1, hours before Scientific Games disclosed his financial connections to him.

Geddings' appearance Wednesday was his first since being charged May 18. During the 15-minute hearing, U.S. Magistrate Judge William Webb detailed the charges against Geddings and released him on his own recognizance. Assistant U.S. Attorney Dennis Duffy said prosecutors hadn't asked for Geddings to be detained.

Geddings, formerly chief of staff for former South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges, will not be allowed to leave the state and must check in regularly with federal probation officers. He was also ordered to surrender his passport.

Geddings told authorities that he was selling his house in Charlotte and was moving into a house with his parents in South Carolina. Webb said he would reconsider the travel restriction after the house sells.

Scientific Games failed to win a piece of the North Carolina lottery business. In January, the state lottery commission awarded contracts for both instant-win tickets and lotto-style games to GTECH Holdings Corp. The deals were estimated to be worth $19.2 million in the first year alone.

Scientific Games had still hoped to pick up a small commission from the state, but on Tuesday, state lottery commissioners voted not to pay Scientific Games for an additional Powerball lottery game feature when the game debuts in North Carolina next week. The state would have had to pay about $240,000 to Scientific to include the Power Play feature that gives players a chance in a separate drawing to multiply possible winnings.

Scientific said it owns Power Play and would have charged a fee because the state's lottery contract is with GTECH Corp., a rival of Scientific.