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Bingo last post for today!

Sandra Stokes Walden

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Posted by: Sandra Walden
Date: Aug 05 2013 4:37 PM

3:18… Court back in session.

Reagan is still questioning Agent Sisson.  States Exhibit 6.. Reagan asks Sisson to identify a game that is being played.  Lucky Star System.  Agent Sisson’s hand. 

The Lucky Star System is not that much different than any other game we have looked at.  Sisson’s recollection is that you purchase the ticket from the Mega window.  He can’t recall if there was a Lucky Star window or not.  It was a new game. 

Agent Sisson is describing the screen.  Reagan is asking if this system played in the same fashion as the other game.  Sisson says yes and that there are also time restraints on the game like the others games.

Reagan is asking about the video they observed just before the break if the machines depicted in that video seized during that operation?  Yes they were.  Were other machines seized during that operation?  Yes they were.  What were the purpose of you instructing that all of the agents being seized?  I believe that they were all the same as the machines I had played.  Sisson played machines of each system.  There were four systems. 

Reagan is asking about two names.  Sisson states those are names of manufacturers. 

Picture 200 of exhibit 14.  Can you describe what we are looking at here and if you can describe how they were seized?  The serial numbers and type were noted on paperwork.  The machines were wrapped in plastic sleeves and they were wrapped in blankets and transported to the church.   The blankets were wrapped around the machines to help protect them. 

A professional moving company was hired to move the machines.   The movers were supervised by Sisson and others on his force.  They supervised to maintain the integrity of the operation.

Three teams divided up the casino floor to log serial numbers, control numbers and manufacturers.  We have to let the casino know exactly what items we took from them.  

There is some one placing the sheets on the machine, someone comes through and writes the serial number and some one tapes it on the machines. 

Where did the officers obtain the information they were writing on the sheets?  From the CPU under the tables.  

When you were doing the investigation were you able to get under the tables and observe the CPUs?  No sir.  I had to act like any other customer. 

Next exhibit is still photographs from the inventory process at Center Stage. 

There is evidence stickers placed on each machine seized.  The photographs are of the machines seized, bingo tables,  Agent Sisson is looking through the pictures to see if the photographs of the servers are included in the pictures. 

Sisson says there are photographs of different angles of the casino floor.  Sisson does not see photographs of the servers in the notebook.  Exhibit 15 is a picture of every machine seized from the floor.   Ashton Ott is objecting.  Judge Conaway is asking the attorney’s to take a few minutes to reconcile the exhibit.

Reagan is moving on.  Exhibit 15, picture 215.  Does this depict the casino floor during the execution of the search warrant?  Yes it does.  The picture is of the roubingo tables and their identifying tag.  Roulette chips were also seized.

Did you seize any servers that were connected to the machines?  Yes sir.  How did you identify them?  Buy the IT guys.  There were rack mounted servers in the server  room.  They are showing several photos of rack mounted servers.  There were documents seized that indicated that NOVA was one of the owners of the machines. 

Bingo ! was on a switch.  Sisson says he doesn’t know what that piece of equipment is, it looks like it was mounted in the server racks.

Next picture is of another rack of servers.   The pictures are depicting different angles of the servers and server rooms.   Can you describe for the court and for the record, who they are and what they are doing?  They are IT people with the AG’s office and ABI.

Larry Crocker (AG IT) made the call on which machines were seized and which were not.  They were being very careful to follow the order that the machines were to be turned off. 

Agent Sisson you are not a computer forensic specialist?  Very true.  You had others seize the servers at your direction?  Yes sir.  I was roaming through the entire building and made numerous visits to the server room.  I was on the casino floor when I noticed the servers powering down.  There were default screens that showed the computers were searching for the server.  I believe that is why I couldn’t play megabucks at the end.  They got ahead of me in the back.

Before the machines were powered down and packed up and carried away, did you have the opportunity to observe that the machines were all disconnected from the servers?  Yes sir. 

Was their a film of Agent Crocker and the others disconnecting the servers?  Ashton Ott is objecting that the tape was turned over after the date for discovery.  Ms Ott is arguing that the state held this video until the last minute after the depositions.   Reagan is stating that the state has provided to the opposing counsel every step of the way.   The Judge is letting him respond to the question.

Was a portion of that event filmed during the operation of disconnecting the servers?  Yes sir. 

Were the machines able to play games after the servers were disconnected?  No sir.

Reagan is now asking about the vault.   Reagan is directing Sisson’s attention to the screen.  It shows the cashier’s window from the casino floor.   Two staff members from AG’s office are in the picture. 

Next picture is the office area of the Center Stage.   There were more work stations in the office area.  They were searched by Sisson and his staff.  They were looking for records showing where the money was going.

Sisson states he could not determine if the offices were HEDA or Center Stage.

They are looking at the door to the vault just behind the cashier’s booth.   There are money counting machines on a table.  Agent Zook and Borland searched the drawers in the cashier’s room. 


There is a picture of the roulette chips that were in the vault.


There is a cheat sheet named code green that gave instructions as to what to do if there was a raid.  


The photographs we are seeing are these areas where either money or gambling records were seized?  Yes sir. 


Some photographs Agent Sisson is having difficulty recognizing.  There are some white cards in the picture that he can’t recognize.  They zoomed in on the white sheet and they were Country Crossing pin sheets.


Picture 71 is cash out vouchers from winnings paid out by Country Crossings, Center Stage predecessor


Was US Currency seized during the search?  Yes sir it was.  Two agents are in the picture.  They found money in a drawer and they are inventorying the money.  This is in the cashier area. 


In picture 99 there is another view inside the cashier area.  Was money seized from every drawer?  I don’t know if it came from every drawer. 


Picture 101:  Also in cashier area.  They are placing money in a large plastic bag.  What was their protocol in seizing money?  They needed to know what section and where the money was seized from.  They had their own method for numbering drawers so they could later make notes and tell me where it came from.


Money was kept in separate bags by where it came from.


Sisson testifies there were 3 ATM’s inside the facility.  ATM’s were open.  They were told that they serviced their own machines… Objection heresy… sustained.


Agent Sisson did you determine the amount of money seized?  It was determined for me. 


Reagan hands Sisson a exhibit. It is identified as an adding machine tape from a bank in Montgomery.  There is a objection.  No bank official to authenticate.  Agent Sisson stated in deposition that he had other agents to count the money and verify.   Judge will note the objection but allow Sisson to answer.


Reagan asks Sisson if he produced the tapes.  He said he produced it to me but he did not input the numbers into the machine.   Agent Sisson was in charge of the investigation.   Sisson says the tape was $5,000 less that it is.  The bank added the six numbers from where they counted the money.  The agents seized most of the money that they came across at Sisson’s direction. 


Two pockets of money not taken..  One that was in a office drawer in the back that there was not indication that it was gambling money.   There was also a bank bag that indicated that it was bar receipts and we did not take it.


Let’s  talk about some of the records seized in the office area.  Were there records seized in the office areas?  There were.  There was a discussion going on between the attorneys.


Agent Sisson is identifying a item seized during the search warrant.  He does not know whose office it was seized from.  It is a advertising contract between HEDA and ???? .  This is just a document seized and it speaks for itself correct?  Yes sir.  You have not had any conversation with anyone about this document?  No sir.


Agent Sisson is handed another document.  It is a contact list and rate of pay for four gaming systems.  This document has been provided to the state by opposing counsel correct?  Yes.  Exhibit 49 admitted.


The paper is a listing of 4 different gaming companies or businesses with contact information and the rate  of pay between HEDA and the gaming companies for providing the machines for the operation. 


Exhibit State 121.  Letter from IRS to HEDA.  Provided by opposing counsel.  Not sure revelance but authentic document.  Overruled. 


Agent Sisson can you read what has been enlarged on letter from IRS to HEDA

Second letter from IRS to HEDA.  Objection the letters are dated in December of 2012 and way after the warrant.  Judge overruled.


The first was a application for a exemption, the second was acknowledging the withdrawal of application for a exemption and that the application was considered closed.


Objection to entering a screen shot of a definition on IRS website.  Sustained.


Sisson is identifying a profit and loss statement for HEDA that was presented to the state by HEDA.  The P & L is from January to December of 2011 for HEDA.  The net win revenues were $12, 636, 803.  Equipment lease  was a negative number in millions…The net income 3,145,908.54  Other expenses..Ho Co foundation  $25,000

Donations  $19,275  Entertainment fees$ 263,000.  


Jan to December 2012.  P & L from HEDA.  Net Revenue:   $776,205.84


Cease and Desist letter from AG office to Center Stage.  Date of July 28, 2011.  Who signed the letter?  Luther Strange AG and Douglas Valeska DA   


During your course of the search were there other electronic items seized in the office areas?  It was a gambling operation and there were records on those machines about the operation.   The computers contained emails. 


What were some items not seized?  Anything private in nature.  Private property belonging to employees.  One roubingo table not in service.  A lot of documents that did not seem to have any value in relation to gambling operation.


At the time of the search warrant open every day of the week?  Yes sir.  It had not been long that it had been moved to 24/7.  Search began about 10:30 in the morning of July 25 and went on until about 2:30 or 3 the morning of the 26th.


They were secured in a facility in Dothan and later moved to Montgomery where we combined some storage to save money.


The seized money is in Sisson’s office in a evidence locker the way it was seized.  A list of what was seized was given to the GM, Frank Wendt of Center Stage. 


Entering into evidence signed search warrant. 


State passes this witness. 


Judge asking about a placard with firefox system that said to insert money to create account.  HE is asking the question of Sisson.   The placard was with the megabucks machine. 

Judge asking about cashout of Lucky Star at Megabucks window.

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