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Wichita Businessman Brandon Steven Pleads Guilty To Federal Gambling Charge

Mike Rastiello
flickr, Creative Commons
Wichita Businessman Brandon Steven pleaded guilty Tuesday to a misdemeanor charge related to illegal gambling activities.

A prominent Wichita businessman pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal charge related to illegal gambling activities.

Brandon Steven, 45, pleaded guilty to one count of being an accessory after the fact to the unlawful transmission of wagering information.  U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said Steven admitted he acted in cooperation with co-defendant Daven Flax, who was conducting illegal private poker games.

Prosecutors say participants were notified via text messaging about the games. The texts also contained information about payments or collections of money. After games, Steven concealed the involvement of Flax and others by hiding handwritten ledgers or computerized records detailing gambling credits, earnings and obligations of the gambling business.

A judge sentenced Steven to three years of probation, a forfeiture of about $1 million and ordered him to perform 200 hours of community service. 

The case was filed in U.S. District Court last week and was unsealed Tuesday morning, hours before Steven’s court appearance.

Steven and his brother own health clubs, auto dealerships and other businesses in Wichita and elsewhere.

Federal officials intercepted Steven’s phone calls, along with calls by elected leaders and Wichita news media members, for about a month in 2015.

In the past year, at least six other people have been convicted for their roles in an illegal gambling and sports betting operation.

Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.

Deborah joined the news team at KMUW in September 2014 as a news reporter. She spent more than a dozen years working in news at both public and commercial radio and television stations in Ohio, West Virginia and Detroit, Michigan. Before relocating to Wichita in 2013, Deborah taught news and broadcasting classes at Tarrant County College in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area.