Former judge convicted of illegal gambling

PHOENIX - A Phoenix man and former Justice of the Peace was convicted of three felony counts including conspiracy to engage in an illegal gambling business, promotion of gambling and illegal conduct of an enterprise.

A Maricopa County Superior Court jury convicted 68 year-old Harold Smith Lee, Jr. of Tempe for his involvement in the Ace High Card Room and Social Club; which operated in Surprise, Arizona from 2008 to 2010.

Lee's former gambling enterprises included The International Card and Game Players Association, The Arizona Card Room and The Arizona Card League.

"We're sending a message in the strongest terms possible," said Mark Brnovich, Director of the Arizona Department of Gaming. "Illegal gambling will not be tolerated in our neighborhoods."

Lee is a former Phoenix Justice of the Peace who served for the Northeast Justice Court Precinct from 1973 to 1985, according to a statement released by the Arizona Department of Gaming.

Two others pleaded guilty to reduced charges in exchange for their testimony against Lee.

The two were card room operators.

Seventy-six-year-old Michael Orlando of Sun City West was convicted on the felony charge of promotion of gambling and was sentenced to 18 months probation.

Sixty-nine-year-old Ronald Curcio of Sun City West was convicted on the misdemeanor charge of attempted promotion of gambling and was sentenced to 6 months probation.

The sentencing for Lee is scheduled to take place on March 7, 2012.

"I commend the Arizona Department of Gaming for its work on this case," said Attorney General Tom Horne. "Illegal gambling is obviously unacceptable, and it is especially disturbing that an Officer of the Court, in this case a now-former Justice of the Peace, would be involved."

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