Rogers Man Gets Probation, Fine For Running Illegal Gambling Ring

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) — A federal judge on Monday (May 7) sentenced a Rogers man to three years probation and fined him $250,000 for running an illegal gambling ring from his home for over a decade.

Robert Enos Rogers, 73, pleaded guilty in January in U.S. District Court to one count of operating an illegal gambling business. Prosecutors dismissed an additional charge of money laundering as part of his plea agreement.

Judge Tim Brooks ordered Rogers to serve 18 months on house arrest and also barred him from gambling entirely, restricting him from even entering a gambling venue.

Rogers also forfeited an SUV, a pontoon boat and more than $150,000 in cash as part of his plea deal.

Rogers’ attorney, Kim Weber, had argued for probation, citing her client’s age, “dire health conditions,” and “distinguishable” military career, which included nearly three years of service during the Vietnam War, according to federal court documents.

Weber also noted that Rogers had no criminal record, is a family man and “never collected debt from players in a nefarious way.”

Weber wasn’t immediately available Monday for comment.

Rogers told federal investigators he and five other people directed a gambling ring for at least 15 years from his home on Garrett Road, where they took bets on college and professional football and basketball games based on point spreads, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Rogers estimated he made between $70,000 and $80,000 a year from his gambling business. Bank records showed roughly $1 million in wagers each year between 2010 and 2017.

The Internal Revenue Service and FBI were drawn to Rogers after opening an investigation into possible structuring of funds in 2016, according to court documents.

Investigators thought Rogers was using gambling proceeds in the form of cash and checks to pay “large utility bills, cable & internet, and property taxes,” according to the documents.

In September 2016, agents followed Rogers as he spoke with four unnamed men in Benton County. In at least one instance, agents saw Rogers exchange a white bank envelope with another person.

Agents became interested in Rogers’ home on Garrett Road in November 2016, when investigators saw about 20 vehicles parked near a metal building on the north side of the home, according to the documents.

An agent later went undercover to a public viewing of Rogers’ home when it was up for sale.

Inside the detached building, the agent noted several slot machines, safes with poker chips inside, a “smoking room,” numerous televisions, a card table and an office, according to the documents.  A Realtor at the open house said “the owner has a lot of card games.”

Agents later found “numerous hand-written notes detailing names, phone numbers, dollar amounts, and spreads” scattered among trash seized from Rogers’ home.

Agents also seized more than $215,000 found in Rogers’ vehicle, home and multiple safe deposit boxes at different banks in Benton County.