COLUMBIA, SC (WBTW) – South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announces that Christopher Hayne Witherspoon, 44, of Darlington entered a guilty plea this morning to one count of keeping of a gaming house and one count of unlawful possession of a slot, video, or gambling device, each offense carrying a maximum penalty of one year incarceration and a $2,000 fine and $500 fine. The Honorable Paul Burch accepted the guilty plea and sentenced Witherspoon to the maximum sentence and fine for each charge, suspended upon the service of one year probation and a total of $750 in fines to run concurrently.
“Gambling may seem like harmless entertainment to some people, but it has long been against the law in South Carolina and the laws must be enforced,” said Attorney General Wilson. “The fact that we prosecuted this case and the judge imposed the maximum sentence shows that we take it seriously.”
On February 9, 2017, the Darlington County Sheriff’s office executed a search warrant at 1826 South Fifth Street, Hartsville, SC. At the location, Witherspoon was in possession of poker tables, several decks of playing cards, tournament sheets, IOU forms, football betting forms, poker chips, pay out sheets and six video poker machines named Pot O’ Gold, which is a device operated by slot into which money is inserted for the play of bingo or other games of chance.
Also seized in the search warrant was a cell phone that contained text messages from Witherspoon and photographs that referenced the video poker machines and the gambling operation that occurred at the location. Additionally there were a total of three bank bags that were seized during the search that contained a total of $2,016.83 related to the gambling operation. As a result of the plea, Judge Burch ordered the destruction of all gaming equipment including the six video poker machines and the $2,016.83 seized to be forfeited to the State.
The case was investigated by the Darlington County Sheriff’s office and was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Sam Jones.
Information above is from a submitted press release.