A Johnston County company agreed to forfeit more than $2.3 million and pay a $150,000 fine to settle a federal case that accused the company of running an illegal gambling operation.
As part of the plea deal, prosecutors agreed to dismiss gambling and conspiracy charges against the owners of the company, David Ricky Godwin Sr. and his son, David Ricky Godwin Jr.
The Godwins and their company, Regional Amusements Inc., were indicted in the summer of 2015 for an alleged gambling scheme involving video sweepstakes machines at convenience stores, restaurants and bars across Eastern North Carolina. The lengthy indictment came a little more than a year after state and federal agents raided Godwin Music on N.C. 39 north of Selma.
Regional Amusements, also known as RGB Inc., pleaded guilty to a charge of conducting an illegal gambling business Thursday. In addition to the monetary penalties, Chief U.S. District Court Judge James C. Dever III sentenced the company to 4 years of probation.
The Godwins have been the target of federal investigators before. In 2003, both men pleaded guilty in federal court to operating illegal gambling businesses in Eastern North Carolina and to structuring financial transactions to evade currency-reporting requirements of the Internal Revenue Service, according to records from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Ricky Godwin Sr. was ordered to pay $5 million and to forfeit to the federal government 326 video gaming machines. His son, identified as one of the largest operators of illegal video poker machines in North Carolina at the time, received a maximum prison sentence of five years and a $250,000 fine. Also, he was ordered to pay $200,000.