Firestone Tire Store Was Used To Conceal Sports Betting Proceeds, Feds Say

A local underground sports betting operation in Georgia has a flat and it won’t be getting changed.

A trio of men, two in Georgia and one in South Carolina, have been sentenced for illegal gambling related to sports betting, the U.S. Department of Justice said Wednesday.

The department reported 44-year-old Grady Brandon Mobley of Waynesboro, Ga., was sentenced to five years of probation and forfeited $340,084 after pleading guilty to an “Information” charging him with “Prohibition of an Illegal Gambling Business and Fraud and False Statements.”

Mobley admitted filing false information on his income tax returns to conceal the amount of proceeds from the sports gambling operation. Mobley also must pay $207,716 in restitution to the IRS and Georgia Department of Revenue, as well as pay a fine of $2,000.

Tire store used to hide winnings

Two co-defendants also were sentenced after pleading guilty to Prohibition of an Illegal Gambling Business. Daniel Cates, 40, of Waynesboro, was sentenced to three years of probation and agreed to forfeit $100,000. He was also fined $4,000. Joel Rees Jones, 59, of Greenwood, S.C., was sentenced to four years of probation and ordered to pay a fine of $10,000.

Mobley was the bookie for the betting operation for “at least” the past 10 years in Burke County (population 22,000). The feds said he utilized a sports betting website operated from Costa Rica for his activity.

According to the government, in 2015 Mobley “merged” his sports betting operation with a “smaller gambling ring” that Jones was running. Later, Mobley linked up with Cates, who owns a tire store called Cates Firestone. The local tire shop was used to conceal the money.

“To help conceal the growing amount of cash involved in the transactions, Mobley enlisted the assistance of Cates, who admitted that he funneled approximately $250,000 in gambling proceeds through his Waynesboro tire store, Cates Firestone, in return for money and favors from Mobley,” the Justice Department’s presser said.

The state of Georgia doesn’t have legal sports betting of any kind, while Tennessee and other states in the U.S. have chosen to license and regulate the industry.

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