(CN) – Four Alabama legislators and seven others were arrested by the FBI Monday and charged with conspiring to buy and sell votes to legalize electronic bingo machines. Also arrested were two casino owners, three lobbyists and others.
An indictment, returned Friday by a grand jury and unsealed Monday, alleges that casino operators Milton McGregor and Ronald Gilley tried to buy passage of a law to allow electronic bingo facilities in the state.
The arrests come after the Legislature argued over an amendment to allow electronic bingo machines in Alabama, which opponents likened to slot machines and in violation of the state’s constitution.
Arrested along with McGregor and Gilley were state Sens. Harri Ann Smith, Larry Means, James Preuitt and Quinton Ross. Also arrested were lobbyists Jarrod Massey, Thomas Coker and Robert Geddie Jr. Gilley’s employee Jarrell Walker and state employee Joseph Crosby also were arrested.
They face various charges, including conspiracy, federal program bribery, extortion, money laundering, mail and wire fraud, obstruction and making a false statement.