Men Arrested for Illegal Gambling Ring Discovered in Connection to a Double Murder Case
Three men in Columbia, SC have been sentenced to prison for their roles in an illegal gambling ring.
Investigators discovered the operation while looking into a different case, involving a double murder.
U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles said on Tuesday that Lanny Ray Gunter, 42, from Chapin, SC, has been sentenced to five months in prison and a $10,000 fine; his prison stay will be followed by five months of home confinement. Harry Bruce Benenhaley, 66 years old, of Columbia, and Ronald Dale Spence, 61 years old, of Irmo, have both been sentenced to five years’ probation, including six months of home confinement, and $2,000 fines each.
The three men pleaded guilty to their involvement in the illegal gambling ring in October, receiving thousands of dollars in bets on any given day. As part of their plea agreements, the men are required to cooperate with the government to provide information about other people involved in this illegal gambling ring.
How the Illegal Gambling Ring Was Discovered
Gunter, Benenhaley, and Spence may not have been arrested and charged for their crimes if one of their bookies had not committed a double homicide in April.
Brett Parker, the lone suspect in the double murder of his wife, Tammy, and their friend, Bryan Capnerhurst, initially borrowed $5,000 from Gunter to help start his own sports betting business.
After Parker allegedly shot his wife and Capnerhurst – also assumed to be another bookie, as well as Parker’s friend – at his home in the upscale Ascot Estates subdivision, the investigation led officials to discover evidence about Parker’s illegal activities. Not only were Capnerhurst and Parker both involved in sports betting, but evidence linked them to Gunter and his cronies.
Investigators established that, between 2006 and their arrest in 2012, Gunter, Benenhaley, and Spence ran an illegal gambling ring that focused on sports bets. Most betting activity took place during football and basketball seasons.
Gunter, who also owned or co-owned several businesses in the Columbia area, supervised the illegal gambling ring, and provided financing as necessary. Benenhaley oversaw daily operations. Spence initially ran his own illegal gambling ring, which merged with Gunter and Benenhaley’s business to share profits. The three used an Irmo-area business to pick up and drop off gambling proceeds.
One law enforcement source called Gunter “the top bookie in Columbia.”
Sources call the arrests and sentences for the three men “the tip of the iceberg.” The illegal gambling ring is so large that as many as a dozen people could face federal and state illegal gambling charges. The three men allegedly had 30 or 35 regular clients, and 20 to 30 “spot” players.
The Strom Law Firm Defends Against State and Federal Criminal Charges, Including Illegal Gambling Rings
Our firm was founded by Pete Strom, the former US Attorney for the District of South Carolina. He, along with his team of attorneys, will zealously represent you in any court in South Carolina against criminal charges, including illegal gambling. Don’t miss out on your one opportunity to protect your rights and maintain your freedom. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm have over 30 years of experience collectively. We offer free, confidential consultations. Do not hesitate to contact us to discuss the facts of your case. 803.252.4800.