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Seven Indicted for Operation of Sham Charity

Seven Eastern Panhandle residents were charged with operating a fraudulent charity hat generated millions of dollars in illegal revenue.

Brent Jackson, 45; Steve Crites, 45; James M. Crites, 72; Betty Crites, 68; Kristy Vanduzer, 43; Larry Webster, 68; and James R. “Jay” Crites, 37, all of Martinsburg, West Virginia were named in each count of a 53-count indictment returned on Tuesday and unsealed on Wednesday.

According to the indictment, the defendants operated illegal bingo and raffle games for a fraudulent charity known as Kids Against Drugs of W.V., Inc, and doing business as “Big Bucks Bingo.” The games were purportedly arranged to benefit the Fraternal Order of Police #83 and the Berkeley County Humane Society but the defendants are alleged to have retained ninety percent or more of the revenue generated. The defendants also are alleged to have transferred funds generated during the bingo and raffle games to various commercial bank accounts in order to benefit themselves or businesses in which they had a personal interest.

The defendants are each charged with fifteen counts of “Mail Fraud,” eighteen counts of “Money Laundering,” eighteen counts of “Illegal Monetary Transactions,” one count of “Money Laundering Conspiracy”, and one count of “Illegal Gambling.”