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jury hung in sports betting case

Thursday, February 15, 2018 15:58 PM
Written by Stan Maddux
Category: Local News

He printed sports betting cards but had nothing to do with their use for illegal gambling.

The defense argument resulted in a hung jury against Dave Biela, a former councilman from Michigan City who prosecutors alleged was part of a sports betting ring.

Defense attorney Stephen Kray of LaPorte said finding his client guilty would be like convicting a ''mattress maker whose product was used for prostitution.''

''I think it's something that shouldn't even be prosecuted,'' Kray said.

Biela, 73, could be retried on level 5 felony corrupt business influence and five level 6 felony counts of promoting professional gambling.

LaPorte County Prosecutor John Espar said trying the case again had not been decided.

The 12 member LaPorte Superior Court 1 jury came back Wednesday evenly divided.

According to authorities, the parlay cards made by Biela in his print shop wound up in the hands of people who bet on professional and college football games.

But, Kray said his client simply printed information presented to him and had absolutely nothing to do with the gambling once the cards rolled off his printing press.

John Greene, Gregory Czizek and Stanley Mazur all from Michigan City were convicted of the collections and pay outs that resulted from use of those cards.

The charges against James Liverman also of Michigan City were dismissed after he was found incompetent to stand trial, authorities said.

According to court documents, the investigation headed up by the Indiana Gaming Commission began in 2010.

It was revived in 2013 when information developed about ''bookies'' in the Michigan City area.

The cards listed upcoming games for the week and point spreads for each of the match-ups then were distributed to bars and restaurants to place bets.

Kray said the printed material is protected by freedom of speech.

The violation rests with how the ink on the paper was used.

''You have a right to receive it so you can print what the customer wants. It's the customer that is affected by the law that prevents him from distributing his gambling cards,'' Kray said.

Espar declined comment because of the possibly for a retrial.
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