Former Lottery Commissioner Faces Multiple Fraud Charges
Posted May 19, 2006 5:16 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — A federal grand jury indicted former state lottery commissioner Kevin Geddings Thursday afternoon on mail and wire fraud charges.
U.S. Attorney Frank Whitney said Geddings was charged with five counts of mail fraud, four counts of wire fraud, and aiding and abetting the same. The indictment also seeks a forfeiture of assets involved in the alleged fraud.
Geddings resigned his post in November after revealing his relationship with Alan Middleton, the vice president for government relations at Scientific Games Corp., a leading provider of instant-win tickets and lottery software and a bidder for the North Carolina Education Lottery. He also said he hired Middleton several years ago, before Middleton worked at the company, to work on public relations projects.
Complete Geddings Indictment
The indictment alleges that from February 2001 to September 2005, Geddings received over $228,000 in revenue, directly and indirectly, from Scientific Games. Geddings also allegedly defrauded the state by failing to disclose his alleged conflict of interest arising from his financial relationship with the potential lottery vendor relating to state lotteries in three other states, as well as North Carolina.
The indictment also alleges that Geddings intentionally concealed his relationship with Scientific Games because he knew it would disqualify him from the commissioner post. According to the indictment, Geddings acknowledged to two Scientific Games' representatives that while he had disclosed some work for an affiliated entity, he had not disclosed the payments from the company in order to obtain his appointment to the position.
The indictment did not allege wrongdoing by anyone other than Geddings.
House Speaker Jim Black's spokeswoman, Julie Robinson, said late Thursday afternoon that Black was, "surprised to learn about the depth of Kevin Geddings' on-going business relationship with Scientific Games. Had the speaker known the details and exact timing of his relationship with the lottery company, he would never have appointed him to the new Lottery Commission."
Black has been the focus of increased scrutiny since the disclosures about Scientific Games' ties to Geddings and Black's former political director, Meredith Norris. Scientific Games paid, or promised to pay, Norris $40,000 in 2005, according to the company's filings with the Secretary of State's office.
Lottery Commission chairman Charlie Sanders said Geddings, a public relations consultant, never revealed his ties to Scientific Games when he was appointed to the Lottery Commission.
"In retrospect, I believe he lied to my face," said Sanders.
In the indictment, an e-mail from Geddings to Sanders says: "I have no conflict of interest with any gaming entity or individual." The same day that was sent, the indictment says Geddings' public relations company deposited a check from Scientific Games for $9,500.
"He represented himself as a loyal citizen who was here to serve the people and promote education," said Sanders.
Geddings is expected to turn himself in to authorities, but it is not known when he will surrender. He faces a maximum 45-year sentence behind bars if convicted.