Teddy Mitchell pleads guilty to illegal gambling and money laundering. He was accused last year in a grand jury federal indictment of operating an illegal gambling business for nearly two decades.
Mitchell, his son Dryden, and a few others are accused of making millions in an offshore betting operation. While entering a guilty plea on one count of illegal gambling and one count of money laundering conspiracy, he'd been a bookie most of his adult life and paid taxes on the proceeds.
Mitchell said when he later invested that money, he didn't know he was breaking the law. He admitted from 2004 to 2010 he took bets on sporting events, set up approximately 60 clients with online gambling accounts in Costa Rica, and would later settle up in cash. Mitchell denied ever trying to hide the profits.
"We've always admitted he was a gambler but he paid his taxes so he didn't think he was doing anything wrong," Defense Attorney Scott Adams said.
Adams said Mitchell put the proceeds in bank accounts then later used that money to purchase rental properties for his retirement.
"He thought buying properties was absolutely okay - he thought buying anything was okay," Adams said.
When Federal Prosecutors suggested Mitchell invested in properties to hide the illegal gambling business, Mitchell disagreed, telling U.S. District Judge David Russell, "I'm sorry, I'm under oath, I can't tell you I did this maliciously. I made a mistake, I broke the law. I didn't know the law. I now understand the law and have pleaded guilty."
Adams said his client understands under the law if you conduct illegal activity and then convert that money into something else you are laundering money.
The judge accepted Mitchell's guilty plea. Mitchell's son Dryden did the same entering a guilty plea for illegal gambling and money laundering. Dryden's attorney Billy Bock said it was a difficult decision for his client to make.
"Just like his father they operated under certain guidelines. You know they didn't bury money in their backyards. They deposited it in banks and bought cars and houses to set them up for the future," Bock said.
As part of the plea deal, they get back some of the money, cars, or properties originally seized by the feds. The judge will decide on sentencing at a later date. In the meantime,
Adams says the Mitchell's are focused on finding whoever killed Teddy Mitchell's wife, Julie in their Edmond home in November 2010. The investigation into the murder first shed light on the illegal gambling and the attorneys say the murder investigation has stalled. There is a $50,000 reward for anyone with information leading to the arrest of Julie's killer