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Hancock County man charged in multi-million dollar sports betting

3rd September, 21:29

NEW PALESTINE (WTHR) - This week, sports betting became legal here in Indiana.

But a Hancock County man is in big trouble for what prosecutors say he did before gambling was allowed.

According to court documents, 46-year-old Bret Wells of New Palestine took in millions of dollars running a gambling operation with clients in eight different central Indiana counties. They say he even took bets on high school football games.

Wells is facing six felonies, including Corrupt Business Influence, Professional Gambling, Promoting Professional Gambling and Theft.

According to the probable cause affidavit, between January 2016 and May 2019, Wells took more than 176,000 bets. Those added up to $17,127,590 and Wells is accused of making $1,826,862 in profits.

Prosecutors say he had two websites (the second one created when he had to take the first one down) and seven agents working for him. The Indiana Gaming Commission reportedly busted him with surveillance and through information from a former business partner, who says Wells also stole equipment from him.

Investigators with the Gaming Commission tracked his pickup truck and his text messages.

Court papers detail dozens of messages with clients, in which Wells allegedly talks wagers, amounts and where to meet to get or payout money. Apparently, they also witnessed the accused bookie going to bars in Indianapolis, including the Ale Emporium and Brewskie's Pub, to meet up with clients and collect their cash.

This happened on Mondays and Tuesdays, known as "settling days."

And it wasn't just boxing, basketball, horse racing and NFL games people were making wagers on, prosecutors said. The probable cause affidavit say Wells even took bets on high school football games.

He allegedly asked people if they wanted to wager money on the New Palestine Dragons, a hugely successful team. Wells is accused of offering to place bets on the high school's playoff games last year.

Again, he's accused of doing all of this before sports betting was legalized. But gambling on high school sports was never and is still illegal in Indiana.

Wells was charged on August 28. He has a jury trial scheduled in February of next year.