Dotson charged with money laundering

Martha Sparks

February 4, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The U.S. Attorney’s Office has filed money laundering charges against a West Logan pizza shop owner.

Charges were filed Tues., Feb. 4, against Gregory A. Dotson, 51, of Chapmanville, and owner of Giovanni’s of Logan in West Logan.

The West Logan restaurant owner is accused of laundering cash proceeds of an illegal gambling operation. According to a press release by U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, Dotson allegedly has operated an illegal poker machine gambling parlor in the back of a tobacco store in South Williamson, Ky., since May of 2008. Although payouts from poker machines, often referred to as “gray” machines, are illegal under Kentucky law, Dotson allegedly has routinely paid out gambling winnings to patrons. Dotson reportedly retrieved the proceeds from the illegal gambling operation weekly and brought the cash across state lines to his office at Giovanni’s and then commingled the cash from his legitimate business with his illegal enterprise.

Booth claims that on August 16, 2010, Dotson traveled from West Virginia to Bristol, Tenn., with nearly $12,000 of cash proceeds from the illegal gambling operation and used those funds to help purchase a 2009 Nissan 350z sports car.

In October of 2013, agents from the Internal Revenue Service raided the gambling parlor, and seized 40 machines in operation and another 40 machines in storage.

The information filed today alleges that the United States intends to forfeit nearly $150,000 in cash, a $96,000 Mercedes sport-utility vehicle, a $50,000 Rolex watch, several expensive firearms, in addition to the 80 gray machines seized from the South Williamson operation.

In addition to the forfeiture, Dotson faces up to ten years in prison a $250,000 fine if convicted.

The investigation was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Ryan is in charge of the prosecutions.