South Carolina Business Sentenced for Operating Illegal Gambling Organization – Department of Justice

SPARTANBURG, SOUTH CAROLINA — Bubba Technology Group, LLC, a gaming business operating throughout South Carolina from Piedmont, was sentenced in federal court after pleading guilty to operating an illegal gambling organization following an extensive joint investigation between Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).

As part of the felony sentence, the company agreed to forfeit approximately $367,000 – its profits from the illegal business – and it will not be able to sell unlicensed gambling machines within South Carolina. Authorities also seized dozens of machines and an additional $670,000 from gaming houses affiliated with the business.

Evidence presented to the Court showed that Bubba Technology Group was leasing and selling unlicensed gambling machines, known as Fish Machines, to various businesses throughout South Carolina – including convenient stores and bars. Specifically, the Fish Machines allowed a player to insert cash into the machine and attempt to shoot digital fish based on how many credits the player chose to wager. If successful, a player could exchange a printed receipt for cash at the store or bar. In cases where Bubba Technology Group leased machines to a business or individual, the profits were split between the two entities.

As part of the plea, the company agreed that it is illegal under South Carolina law to keep, operate, or distribute unlicensed gambling machines within South Carolina. Further, the company agreed that a gambling machine includes gaming machines where a player receives cash payouts as a result of their play.

“The Defendant took a chance that it could make money by breaking the law. It lost that bet,” said U.S. Attorney Adair F. Boroughs. “This business sold machines that allowed people to make wagers and win money – which makes the business illegal under federal law here in South Carolina. This Office will aggressively pursue those who seek to get rich by breaking federal laws. Wherever illegal money is made, crime festers.”

“No matter what your personal views may be, gambling is against the law in South Carolina. The law is the law and it must be followed,” said South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson.

“Cases like this prove the old saying, that crime doesn’t pay, is right,” said Ronnie Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of HSI in North and South Carolina. “Thanks to the great work done by HSI and its law enforcement partners, this illegal gambling enterprise has been dismantled.”

“Illegal gambling operations like this will be shut down,” said SLED Chief Mark Keel. “SLED Agents worked closely with our federal partners on this operation to ensure any business that violates the law will be held accountable.”

United States District Judge Donald C. Coggins, Jr. sentenced Bubba Technology Group to one year of probation, and forfeiture of $367,039.43. Seizures in related cases resulted in an additional forfeiture of $673,408.77 in illegal gambling profits. Throughout these cases, law enforcement officials also seized dozens of gaming machines.

This case was investigated by HSI and SLED, with assistance from the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, Greenville County Drug Enforcement Unit, Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, and South Carolina Immigration Enforcement Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Derek A. Shoemake and Justin Holloway prosecuted the federal case, and South Carolina Assistant Attorney General Creighton Waters oversaw the state investigation.