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Wichita businessman Brandon Steven pays $1.1M, sentenced to probation in illegal gambling case

Published: Jun. 18, 2019 at 1:00 PM CDT
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1:55 p.m.

A federal judge has sentenced Wichita businessman Brandon Steven to probation for his role in illegal gambling.

Steven, 45, appeared in court Tuesday afternoon where he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of transmission of wagering information.

According to the Office of U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister, Steven "admitted he acted in cooperation with co-defendant Daven Flax, who was conducting illegal private poker games. Participants were notified via text messaging about the games. The texts also contained information about payments or collections of money. After games, Steven concealed the involvement of Flax and others by hiding handwritten ledgers or computerized records detailing gambling credits, earnings and obligations of the gambling business."

United States Magistrate Judge Gwen Birzer sentenced Steven to three years probation and 200 hours of community service. He was not fined, but his attorney said he had already presented a check for nearly $1.1 million to the U.S. Marshal's Office, which represents the proceeds from the crimes.

In exchange for his plea, the federal government agreed not to file any other charges against Steven related to the illegal gambling case.

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12:55 p.m.

A prominent Wichita businessman has been charged with a misdemeanor count of transmission of wagering information.

The case against Brandon Steven was unsealed Tuesday just hours before a plea hearing in federal court in Wichita. Prosecutors had filed a motion to unseal criminal information last week accusing Steven of assisting a person, only as D.F., in order to prevent apprehension, trial or punishment.

His defense attorney did not immediately return a message.

Steven and his brother are partners in health clubs, auto dealerships and other enterprises. He told the Wichita Eagle last year he was the subject of a federal inquiry into his playing of high-stakes poker and his involvement in trying to open a Kansas casino.

It is unclear whether the misdemeanor charge he now faces relates to that gambling probe.

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