Gambling Charges Lead To S.C. Deputy Receiving Sentenced To More than Year In Prison
Posted on: June 27, 2021, 05:48h.
Last updated on: June 27, 2021, 05:48h.
An ex-sheriff’s lieutenant will invest more than a year in prison for his part in a far-reaching illegal gambling operation in South Carolina.
Earlier this month, Chief South Carolina US District Judge R. Bryan Harwell sentenced former Florence County Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Edward Fuleihan, 49, to 12 months and a single day in federal prison. He will also be placed on court-ordered supervision for three years right after his release from prison.
Fuleihan could have been sentenced for up to ten years in prison. He previously pled guilty to operating an illegal gambling enterprise in Florence and Williamsburg counties.
Fuleihan is a single of eight of the nine defendants who entered guilty pleas in the case. The pleas were the outcome of a lengthy state and federal inquiry into illegal gambling and corruption.
County officials contacted state and federal investigators soon after allegations surfaced that gambling operators have been obtaining tipped off about law enforcement actions, as nicely as wider suspicions about the gambling ring.
Fuleihan was arrested last year. He was indicted for operating an illegal gambling organization, conspiracy to obstruct enforcement of state criminal law, and obstruction of an official proceeding. Fuleihan has been fired from the sheriff’s department.
Warrants, Wiretaps, and Raids
Authorities mentioned he told the gambling operators about upcoming search warrants, wiretaps, and court-ordered raids. Fuleihan was in a position to do that by asking law enforcement officials to preserve him informed about future operations related to gambling enforcement.
Fuleihan then shared the confidential details with the illegal gambling operation. He also allegedly sold seized gaming machines back to the illegal gambling operation.
Fuleihan had been a Florence County Sheriff’s deputy given that 1995. The gambling ring operated because 2014.
About $1 million was deposited into the accounts of at least two members of the gambling organization. Prosecutors and law enforcement officials chastised the deputy.
A law enforcement officer’s badge and gun are not only symbols of trust and professionalism, but they are also tools that must be employed for defending the public, not enabling criminal activity,” Ronnie Martinez, the specific agent in charge for Homeland Safety Investigations in North and South Carolina,said in a statement.
“Corruption in law enforcement undermines the public’s trust and makes all of our jobs harder.”
Entire Profession Tarnished
Acting South Carolina US Attorney M. Rhett DeHart added in the statement that, “This team was in a position to dismantle a criminal organization that was bolstered by a crooked cop and to send that officer to prison.”
“When a law enforcement officer breaks the law, it tarnishes the complete profession, and we shed the respect of the communities we serve,” echoed South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) Chief Mark Keel.