Bingo Operators Jailed on Tax Charges

William J. Tway and Robert J. Ford were sentenced in Boise, Idaho, for conspiracy to defraud the IRS through their operation of Big Bucks Bingo in Garden City. They were sentenced to six months in prison, to be followed by nine months of home detention, and they must also pay a fine of $30,000. Ford and Tway ran Big Bucks Bingo starting in 1996 under a provision in the state constitution that permits bingo and raffle games operated by qualified charitable organizations. A related state law requires that at least 20 percent of the annual gross revenues of the games must be given to charitable or nonprofit organizations to be used for charitable purposes. In April, Ford and Tway were found guilty of conspiring to file false returns with the IRS substantially overstating the amount of monies that were actually given to charity. Tway was also convicted of aiding and abetting the filing of false returns in 1999 and 2000 for the Free Speech Foundation, one of the charitable or non-profit entities that operated Big Bucks Bingo. 

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