An affidavit in support of an application for a search warrant indicated that Shelli Ward, a bus driver, and John Ward, a self-employed painter, gambled two or three times a week at Hollywood Casino for three years. The Wards had Player’s cards that enabled them to receive perks, documents said.
The affidavit said the Wards spent money on gambling that Scarpelli gave to them and opened a bank account at her request.
Each time they gambled, Scarpelli allegedly gave Leis and the Wards cash to put into the slot machines. At the end of the evening, Scarpelli gave the Wards their share of the “winnings.”
Court records allege the Wards took out money to purchase a 2007 Nissan pickup truck worth $16,500, a $19,305 camper and a $10,725 boat along with withdrawing about $37,000 to help buy a property. The majority of the purchases were in 2013 and 2014, when the investigation began.
The affidavit, written by U.S. Secret Service special agent Joshua Schierloh, alleged that probable cause exists that at least 10 crimes took place.
Those crimes listed are bank embezzlement, wire fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy, structuring a financial transaction, causing financial institution to evade reporting requirements, money laundering, conspiracy to commit money laundering and laundering monetary instruments in excess of $10,000.
Court documents show that Leis hasn’t been employed since 2008. Even so, Lake Waynoka Campground Manager said Leis always paid her camping fees in cash. In 2013, Leis bought a lake front house on Lake Waynoka and built a huge storage building. Court documents allege Leis owns both a Dinsmore Road house in West Carrollton and the Lake Waynoka residence.
No court documents indicate the Wards currently face criminal charges.
“This is an example of a civil forfeiture action where forfeiture is being used to return money to victims,” said assistant U.S. attorney Pamela Stanek said. “We were able to trace the asset to the proceeds of a crime and we were able to get that asset back and return it to the victim.”