Former sheriff’s deputy jailed for running illegal gambling business

Mark Fuleihan sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison for protecting outfit

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
@graemekmassie
Thursday 17 June 2021 18:47
<p>Former sheriff’s deputy jailed for running illegal gambling business</p>

Former sheriff’s deputy jailed for running illegal gambling business

A former sheriff’s deputy has been jailed for helping run and protect an illegal gambling operation.

Mark Fuleihan will spend one year and one day behind bars for helping the gambling business avoid law enforcement raids aimed at shutting it down.

Investigators said that Fuleihan used his position as a top deputy in Florence County, South Carolina, to uncover details about state and federal investigations into illegal gambling.

He would then share the information to members of the operation he was linked with so they could evade authorities and destroy “potentially relevant evidence,” according to the US Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors told a court that Fuleihan, 49, was “essential to the ability of the gambling operation to operate.”

Fuleihan would also sell previously seized gambling machines back to members of the illegal gambling operation, according to officials.

“We trust our law enforcement officers to protect society and stand against wrongdoing,” said acting US Attorney Rhett DeHart in a statement.

“When an officer violates that trust, it is imperative that we hold them accountable. I commend our state and federal partners for doing just that in this case.

“This team was able to dismantle a criminal organisation that was bolstered by a crooked cop and to send that officer to prison.”

Fuleihan is one of nine people charged in the case and is among eight defendants who have pleaded guilty for their role, added the US Attorney’s Office.

A federal investigation was launched a year ago at the request of the Florence County Sheriff’s Office amid allegations that a senior officer was obstructing investigators ability to monitor illegal gambling.

In April, Fuleihan pleaded guilty to charges of unlawfully and knowingly conduct, finance, manage, supervise, direct, and own an illegal gambling business.

Other charges in the indictment, including intimidation of witnesses, jurors and tampering with a witness, victim or informant were dropped.

Fuleihan, who had served with the department since 1995, was fired shortly before being arrested by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.