Indiana Charity Bingo Organizers Charged With $1 Million Scam

FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- A group of five Indiana residents have been charged in a $1 million charity bingo scam.

The suspects -- four men and one woman -- ran bingo games that were supposed to be for charity at American Legion Post 330 in New Haven, but investigators believe they skimmed between $988,000 and $1,040,000 from the games over the past five years, the (Fort Wayne) Journal Gazette reported Thursday.

Lana Brooks, 55, who allegedly managed the bingo games, and her husband Kenneth Brooks, 64, who was post trustee, face various felony charges including theft and unlawful charity gaming contracting.

Another alleged bingo manager, Steven Bouse, 60, and finance officers linked to the post, James Schultz, 68, and 67-year-old John Gahan, face similar charges.

Each Monday, the group's finance committee would meet to distribute $2,000 in cash between Bouse and Lana Brooks, Gahan told investigators with the Indiana Gaming Commission.

Investigators intercepted one of these deliveries and Lana Brooks admitted during questioning that she was paid "to run Bingo" and that receiving payments to do so was illegal.

She told investigators that Schultz had authorized the payments to her and Bouse and that Gahan had established the system of weekly $1,000 payments.

Post attorney Randy Fisher said that the post remains open but there has been no charity gaming since July.