Testimony in an eight-day federal bingo trial ended Wednesday with an orange crayon drawing of an Internal Revenue Service agent.

Agent Melissa Hooker with the criminal investigation division of the IRS testified in rebuttal for the prosecution that defendant Gloria Williams’ granddaughter had drawn a picture of Hooker during an IRS search of Williams’ home.

“One of the little girls drew me a picture,” Hooker told the jury. “I thought it was cute.”

Since the 2003 search, Hooker had kept the picture on a bulletin board in her Lexington office.

“It says, ‘I like you. You look nice. You are nice and I like your hair,'” Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Taylor read from the drawing.

Williams, who is on trial for bingo fraud, tax evasion and mail fraud with her sister and co-defendant Rita Tipton, cried as she testified Tuesday how her grandchildren had been forever scarred by the way IRS agents treated them during the search.

“My two young granddaughters were at home with me on spring break,” Williams said between tears Tuesday. “They (IRS investigators) treated my kids terrible. They put them in an 8x10 room all day. At the time they were 6 and 7 years old and they’ll never forget it.”

Hooker said when she and IRS agent Clark Caywood arrived to interview Williams about her tax returns from 1999-2001 and subsequently search the house, the children were still in bed. When they awoke, the two girls watched television, colored and played on the living room floor while Hooker and Caywood talked to their grandmother, Hooker said. The children later went into the kitchen to get a snack, but were never locked in a room, she said.

“We try to keep them separated from what is going on,” Hooker said. “The purpose is so they’re not in the way and to keep them safe as well as keep everyone else safe.”

“We’ve heard testimony that the girls will never get over that day,” Taylor told Hooker. “Did you draw guns? Crash the house? Did you do anything you thought would traumatize these children?”

“No,” Hooker said. “They seemed to be enjoying themselves.”

Taylor and defense attorney Michael Dean tied up loose ends Wednesday in their closing arguments before the jury and U.S. District Judge Jennifer Coffman before the jury was read instructions for its deliberations.

Taylor told the court there were various layers of deception involved in the defendants’ scheme to illegally profit from bingo. The hiding of money, illegal sale of unregistered pull-tab games, house bingo players and the distribution of profits between family, friends and property all culminated with the filing of tax returns that did not report the money Williams and Tipton allegedly were skimming from bingo proceeds, Taylor said.

Throughout the proof presented by the United States against the defendants, Taylor said the defendants’ only explanation was that everyone was lying.

“Virtually nothing was explained in any detail by the defendants,” Taylor said. “You heard some liars in this case, there’s no question about it.”

He contended that it was not those who gave details of the alleged fraud, but instead those who covered the defendants’ tracks, who were lying.

“They know it and you know it,” he told the jury.

Dean concurred there were two types of witnesses and two types of testimony. Yet he argued that it was the people who were in the Jackpot Charity Bingo hall daily for up to 20 years who knew the truth about what took place at the Waco facility.

“All of them without exception said they knew of nothing illegal going on and they knew of nothing dishonest,” Dean said. “The government would have you believe they all came in here at the risk of perjury and lied to you.”

Dean said the prosecution attempted to melt several theories into one scheme to support conspiracy and fraud by his clients, but submitted that none of them were correct.

“The government picked out facts that fit their theory and presented them to you and ignored the ones that didn’t,” Dean said, adding that the truth in the case came out in the testimony of the defendants and the witnesses who corroborated their stories.

Taylor disagreed, saying all the corroborating witnesses had something to gain from their statements. All of them were friends or relatives who are “beholden to the defendants, mostly in a financial way,” he said.

“That’s what they were asked to do,” Taylor said. “They have a vested interest in the gravy train. They are the passengers.”

While Taylor claimed the defense presented no independent witnesses, he said the testimony of investigators from the IRS and Kentucky Office of Charitable Gaming who testified to the alleged fraud only as part of doing their jobs should hold the most weight.

Taylor said the defense claims everybody is wrong because they don’t like the results.

“Do they (the defendants) introduce any records?” Taylor asked. “No, they just say you can’t believe ours.”

The case was submitted to the jury following the end of arguments Wednesday. Deliberations by the jury will begin at 9 a.m. today in U.S. District Court in Lexington.

Kelly Foreman can be reached at kforeman@richmondregister.com or 624-6694.

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