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Maryland Lottery used to launder drug money, federal authorities say

Maryland LotteryMaryland Lottery: Maryland Lottery used to launder drug money, federal authorities say

Federal prosecutors have accused a man they say is one of Baltimore's most notorious drug dealers of laundering the profits of his heroin-selling operation through the Maryland State Lottery, Las Vegas casinos and a local used-car dealership.

The allegations against Steven Blackwell, laid out in a revised indictment Wednesday, are the most detailed glimpse yet into Blackwell's dealings, which police believe led to a spate of deadly violence in the city throughout 2008 and 2009.

Blackwell is accused of conspiring with Joy Edison, an Elkton woman, to purchase winning Maryland State Lottery tickets from the actual winners and collecting the winnings from the lottery agency. In a five-week period in 2008, the indictment claims, Edison received three checks from the Maryland State Lottery totaling $15,000.

It was unclear from the indictment how Blackwell and Edison found the lottery winners and purchased their tickets. When asked about the case, officials at the Maryland State Lottery would say only that the agency "complies with all laws and requests from federal and state authorities."

In addition, the pair conspired to hide "income in the millions of dollars from the illegal sale of heroin in Baltimore City" from the Internal Revenue Service, "thus preventing the IRS from properly assessing taxes due and owing the United States," the indictment states.

Blackwell and Edison were indicted on drug charges in August last year, along with a third conspirator, Tahirah Carter, though the financial conspiracies were not laid out in the previous indictment. A re-arraignment proceeding for Carter was held in federal court in December, but it was closed to the public, and her defense attorney and the prosecutor declined to comment on Carter's case at the time.

Documents filed in U.S. District Court place Blackwell at the center of a widening circle of violence in East Baltimore throughout 2008 and 2009 that includes a shooting at a backyard cookout in which 12 people were injured, including Blackwell, a toddler and a pregnant woman.

Though Baltimore police for years suspected Blackwell of being one of the city's biggest drug dealers, he stayed largely above the fray and out of reach of police and prosecutors until his arrest and indictment in August. Federal authorities are also now trying to seize more than $10 million from Blackwell.

In addition to the lottery ticket allegations, Blackwell is accused of purchasing more than $80,000 in playing chips from The Venetian, a Las Vegas resort and casino, throughout 2007 and 2008.

Ron Reese, a spokesman for the hotel, declined to comment specifically on the Blackwell case, but said "Certainly, if federal authorities asked for information it would be provided."

Blackwell and Edison are also accused of laundering some of their income through the Carz Unlimited car dealership, formerly located on Reisterstown Road, in return for checks from the dealership. In 2006, the indictment states, Edison purchased a 2006 Mercedes-Benz from Valley Motors in Cockeysville, and paid for the car with a $66,000 check from Carz Unlimited.

Allan Shapiro, the chief financial officer for Valley Motors, said the practice of other car dealerships purchasing vehicles from them is "unusual," but likely would not have drawn suspicion at the time.

"To our eyes, it just looks like another transaction," said Shapiro, who said he recently provided information on the 2006 sale to federal prosecutors looking into Edison's activities. "I looked at the deal file and, frankly, everything kind of looked innocent to me."

If the dealership had known that the money used to pay for the car was possibly earned from drug activity, "that would have been money-laundering," Shapiro said. "We couldn't have even accepted the money."

Edison also received checks from Carz Unlimited throughout 2008 totaling $15,000, the indictment states.

Blackwell's criminal background

The brief court filing in U.S. District Court indicates for the first time the scope of Blackwell's alleged drug empire and links him to two real estate companies that own property in East Baltimore and a home along the Elk River in Cecil County that was purchased for $740,000.Authorities have labeled Blackwell, 26, a key player in a violent drug feud that began with the abduction of his two younger brothers and included a quadruple shooting outside an appliance store and a shootout at a backyard cookout that injured 12 people, including Blackwell.

Despite his reputation, Blackwell, also known as "J.R.," hadn't faced serious charges since he was 17 years old. He was picked up in New York last week after being indicted along with co-defendants Tahirah Carter, 34, and Joy Edison, 24, whose roles have not been spelled out.

Court papers and state business records show that Blackwell and Edison are linked to two real estate companies, JJM Realty LLC and J. Edison Properties, which own property in the Oliver, Berea and Johnston Square neighborhoods that were purchased between Aug. 29, 2008, and Jan. 6, 2009. According to assessments, they appear to be vacant homes.

State records show that JJM is registered in Blackwell's name for the purpose of "buying, selling and renting properties," while J. Edison properties dissolved last year after failing to file proper paperwork.

The Cecil County home is in a new development along the Elk River, with 35,000 square feet of property, and the title is in Edison's name.

Federal prosecutors filed a document Tuesday giving notice that they intend to seize "any and all property obtained directly or indirectly" as a result of drug dealing, including $10 million in U.S. currency.

Blackwell has yet to make an appearance in Maryland court, and details of the allegations remain unclear. But a news release from the U.S. attorney's office announcing the indictments indicated a wide range of agencies working on the investigation, including the IRS, FBI, city and state police, city prosecutors and New York's Drug Enforcement Agency.

In April 2008, Blackwell's two younger brothers were abducted by masked gunmen from their Catonsville home by rival drug dealers who thought Blackwell was cheating them on the price of heroin, according to documents previously filed in federal court by an agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Blackwell paid a $500,000 ransom to free his brothers, the records show.

Six weeks later, authorities said, gunmen took revenge with a quadruple shooting outside the Allen & Family Appliance store, a discount appliance shop in East Baltimore. The store was operated by the family of Terrell Allen, described by law enforcement officials as a drug dealer who took part in the Blackwell kidnapping. The shooting killed Allen's father, Tony Allen, 52, and a 27-year-old named Omar Spriggs. Terrell Allen and another man were injured.

In the months that followed, several Blackwell associates were killed. Then on July 26 of last year, gunfire rang out at a backyard cookout in East Baltimore held to commemorate their deaths. Twelve people were shot and wounded, including Blackwell, a pregnant woman and a 2-year-old girl.

Baltimore Sun

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16 comments. Last comment 6 years ago by dallascowboyfan.
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dpoly1's avatar - driver
PA
United States
Member #66141
October 16, 2008
1672 Posts
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Posted: April 28, 2011, 10:10 am - IP Logged

So, who would have thought that the Government was full of CHUMPS!?

Stooges  ← Government at Work ????

    time*treat's avatar - radar

    United States
    Member #13130
    March 30, 2005
    2171 Posts
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    Posted: April 28, 2011, 10:20 am - IP Logged

    hide "income in the millions of dollars from the illegal sale of heroin in Baltimore City" from the Internal Revenue Service, "thus preventing the IRS from properly assessing taxes due and owing the United States," the indictment states.

    Just gonna let that one stew a while. Roll Eyes

    In neo-conned Amerika, bank robs you.
    Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms should be the name of a convenience store, not a govnoment agency.

      Littleoldlady's avatar - basket
      Clarksville
      United States
      Member #487
      July 15, 2002
      17638 Posts
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      Posted: April 28, 2011, 10:31 am - IP Logged

      I wonder do they go after others who hide assets and income from the government with the same level of zeal.  Probably not, they wear suits.

      If you know your number is going to hit, have patience and then KILL IT!

      You never know when you will get another hit.

        dpoly1's avatar - driver
        PA
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        October 16, 2008
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        Posted: April 28, 2011, 11:38 am - IP Logged

        I wonder do they go after others who hide assets and income from the government with the same level of zeal.  Probably not, they wear suits.

        It is a fact that when taxes were lowered in the 1920's that millionaires suddenly "appeared" and tax revenues went up!

        But a certain political party doesn't want you to know the facts, they want you to believe that the 1937 tax increase on the wealthy "saved" us in spite of the fact that tax revenues went down and unemployment went up in 1938! They want you to believe myths!

        So, you want people to quit hiding money, lower taxes !!!!!!!!!!!!

          rdgrnr's avatar - walt
          Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
          United States
          Member #73904
          April 28, 2009
          14903 Posts
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          Posted: April 28, 2011, 3:13 pm - IP Logged

          Just another example of why I think the government should legalize dope. Dopeheads are gonna be dopeheads whether it's legal or not, so legalize it, regulate it and tax it. Create a revenue source from it instead of a rat hole to pour our tax dollars down trying to defeat it.

          Cuz it ain't never gonna happen.

          We would also free up half our prison space, end the ridiculous War On Drugs here (which ain't workin') and end the slaughter taking place in Mexico over drugs.


                                                       
                               
                                                   

           

           

           

           

                                                                                                             

          "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                                      --Edmund Burke

           

           

            HaveABall's avatar - rocket

            United States
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            March 18, 2009
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            Posted: April 28, 2011, 6:10 pm - IP Logged

            You're probably right, rdgrnr, as the U.S.A. tax payers have spent millions of dollars for several decades through hiring people and spending miscellaneous monies to prevent drug sales within our country. 

            Yet, if our country did allow easy drug sales within each community of the U.S.A., it would probably require that anyone who is a guardian or a parent inform their children that although it is legal to buy and consume drugs in our country, that they would prefer that the child NOT consume drugs (including excessive alcohol), as they lead to unclarity of thought, inability to manifest child's goals since time to focus will be greatly reduced, draining of bank accounts as a result of speedy addiction, certain killing of massive brain and body cells and teeth and gums within a few months of use, and business people being disinterested in doing business with people (young, middle aged, and older) who lack a ready ability to speak, plan, explain concepts, and think at most hours of the morning, afternoon, and early evening.

            Having several millions of dollars in my financial accounts means receiving several valuable services each day!

            Disney

              rdgrnr's avatar - walt
              Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
              United States
              Member #73904
              April 28, 2009
              14903 Posts
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              Posted: April 28, 2011, 6:38 pm - IP Logged

              You're probably right, rdgrnr, as the U.S.A. tax payers have spent millions of dollars for several decades through hiring people and spending miscellaneous monies to prevent drug sales within our country. 

              Yet, if our country did allow easy drug sales within each community of the U.S.A., it would probably require that anyone who is a guardian or a parent inform their children that although it is legal to buy and consume drugs in our country, that they would prefer that the child NOT consume drugs (including excessive alcohol), as they lead to unclarity of thought, inability to manifest child's goals since time to focus will be greatly reduced, draining of bank accounts as a result of speedy addiction, certain killing of massive brain and body cells and teeth and gums within a few months of use, and business people being disinterested in doing business with people (young, middle aged, and older) who lack a ready ability to speak, plan, explain concepts, and think at most hours of the morning, afternoon, and early evening.

              Thanks HaveABall,

              But I don't think legal drug use would lead to widespread mass intoxication anymore than legal alcohol use does (myself excluded).

              And the bottom line is nothing is gonna keep dopeheads from doing dope anyway. That has been proven over and over and over and at great expense.


                                                           
                                   
                                                       

               

               

               

               

                                                                                                                 

              "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                                          --Edmund Burke

               

               

                Coin Toss's avatar - shape barbed.jpg
                Zeta Reticuli Star System
                United States
                Member #30470
                January 17, 2006
                10353 Posts
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                Posted: April 28, 2011, 7:33 pm - IP Logged

                Bookies and drug dealers are actually supposed to register and get a tax stamp.

                I'm not kidding.

                When bookies do get caught (usually when a neewly elected zealot goes on an anti-crime binge to show everyone he mean business) it's because of said politicians and/or not having "greased the proper palms", or not having grased them enough.

                But when they do get caught, not having the tax stamp is added to the charges.

                Same type of thinking as the supposed "dry counties" in the South. All tht means is a local moonshiner and a sheriff have things monopololized, hardly a real "dry" county.

                Those who run the lotteries love it when players look for consistency in something that's designed not to have any.

                Lep

                There is one and only one 'proven' system, and that is to book the action. No matter the game, let the players pick their own losers.

                  sully16's avatar - sharan
                  Ringleader
                  Michigan
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                  October 28, 2009
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                  Posted: April 28, 2011, 8:19 pm - IP Logged

                  A pregnant woman and a 2 year old were shot! Sad very sad. I hope they never see they outside of a prison again, greedy, thoughtless , pieces of garbage, Human trash.

                  Did you exchange a walk on part in the war ?

                  For a lead role in a cage?

                   

                                                              From Pink Floyd's " Wish you were here"

                    Littleoldlady's avatar - basket
                    Clarksville
                    United States
                    Member #487
                    July 15, 2002
                    17638 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: April 28, 2011, 9:34 pm - IP Logged

                    It is a fact that when taxes were lowered in the 1920's that millionaires suddenly "appeared" and tax revenues went up!

                    But a certain political party doesn't want you to know the facts, they want you to believe that the 1937 tax increase on the wealthy "saved" us in spite of the fact that tax revenues went down and unemployment went up in 1938! They want you to believe myths!

                    So, you want people to quit hiding money, lower taxes !!!!!!!!!!!!

                    I strongly believe that if a person, company, corporation or whomever makes the most of their money inside the borders of this country whether through sales of their products or services, they should have to pay their fair share.  It has nothing at all to do with politics.

                    If you know your number is going to hit, have patience and then KILL IT!

                    You never know when you will get another hit.

                      TheGameGrl's avatar - character catafly.jpg
                      A long and winding road
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                      June 10, 2005
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                      Posted: April 28, 2011, 11:25 pm - IP Logged

                      *edited in response to RDG's post earlier*

                      ANd Mothers Against Drunk drivers would be banging on your doorstep, they have done much good to keep certain drugs from being legalized and I for one am A-OK with folks keeping their little sense they have when driving . I Dont need a doped up (legally???) driver slammin into my car when I have grandkids in it or otherwise. No offense but that logic of making it legal carries much weight for the actions that would come from such mental distortive thinking. Making something legal for revenue sake is ludicrious, we have laws sometimes that actually do serve the public and the welfare of its people.

                       

                      As to the subject matter- There are way too many holes in this story to get a grasp of what it will boil down to. They cant trace the money correctly but make "assumptions"/Allegations. I can alledge (ascertain) that their is a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow but until I get to the end of that rainbow, I simply am just assuming.

                      ~~Is it true, Is it kind,Is it necessary. ~~~

                       Thanks be to the giving numbers: 1621,912,119 02014

                        rdgrnr's avatar - walt
                        Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
                        United States
                        Member #73904
                        April 28, 2009
                        14903 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: April 28, 2011, 11:46 pm - IP Logged

                        *edited in response to RDG's post earlier*

                        ANd Mothers Against Drunk drivers would be banging on your doorstep, they have done much good to keep certain drugs from being legalized and I for one am A-OK with folks keeping their little sense they have when driving . I Dont need a doped up (legally???) driver slammin into my car when I have grandkids in it or otherwise. No offense but that logic of making it legal carries much weight for the actions that would come from such mental distortive thinking. Making something legal for revenue sake is ludicrious, we have laws sometimes that actually do serve the public and the welfare of its people.

                         

                        As to the subject matter- There are way too many holes in this story to get a grasp of what it will boil down to. They cant trace the money correctly but make "assumptions"/Allegations. I can alledge (ascertain) that their is a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow but until I get to the end of that rainbow, I simply am just assuming.

                        Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) started out good but is getting political as of late and their politics are unfortunately left of center for the most part. They should stick to their original issue and thereby maintain popular support. Lefties always have a hard time minding their own business though and refraining from telling other people what to do.

                        Your point is well taken though, GG.

                        My only objection is to the assumption that all the dopeheads will immediately hop in their cars stoned out of their minds and start looking to slam into you and your grandkids.

                        I get the same reaction from the gun control nuts who say that allowing people to carry concealed weapons will result in mass wildwest shootouts all over the place everyday.

                        The truth is always diametrically opposed to the hysterical and dire predictions of gloom and doom from the left. 

                        Always.


                                                                     
                                             
                                                                 

                         

                         

                         

                         

                                                                                                                           

                        "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                                                    --Edmund Burke

                         

                         

                          jarasan's avatar - new patrick.gif
                          Harbinger
                          D.C./MD.
                          United States
                          Member #44103
                          July 30, 2006
                          5583 Posts
                          Online
                          Posted: April 29, 2011, 9:41 am - IP Logged

                          The lottery angle is one of the minor story lines of this soon to be movie "To Live and Die in Baltimore". 

                          The buying of winning lottery tickets to redeem/cash so the REAL winner (illegal immigrant, tax evader, under the radar, welfare recipients etc.) don't got to report SS#,  has been going on for a long time.  The underground economy in the USA is huge,  I dare say......... it probably approaches 25% of the reported economy.

                          The main story line of this epic saga,  is the heroin dealing murderous animals that ruin peoples lives.  Of all drugs, I believe,  heroin is the worst.

                            imagine's avatar - WINGS

                            United States
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                            January 7, 2010
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                            Posted: April 29, 2011, 5:31 pm - IP Logged

                            Baltimore was just named the us capitol for herion.  I am quite sure this is just the tip of the iceberg.