Roger W. (Roddy) Simkins Jr. was acquitted in federal court here yesterday of charges that he ran a major illegal sports bookmaking operation that once took in more than $1 million in bets in a three-month period.
Simkins, 34, the son of one of Washington's legendary gambling figures, Roger W. (Whitetop) Simkins, was found innocent of conspiracy and 10 gambling and tax-related charges that stemmed from a series of D.C police raids on the eve of the 1978 Super Bowel football game.
After the jury returned its verdict, following 4 1/2 hours of deliberation, Simkins hugged his codefendant, Leslie Poms of Las Vegas, Nev., who also was acquitted of all three gambling charges against her; kissed his lawyer, Kenneth Michael Robinson, and smiling, walked from the courtroom.
During the two-week trial, prosecutors contended that Simkins ran a booming telephone bookmaking operation from four separate D.C. locations, that he accepted nearly 700 bets over two telephones at one location during one 12-day period, and that he accepted more than $1.1 million in wages between late October 1977 and early January 1978.
Most of the bets averaged between $500 and $1,000, prosecutors said, and on one occasion they alleged Simkins accepted two wagers from an unidentified caller totaling $10,000 on two professional football games.
In rebutting the government's case, defense lawyer Robinson argued that Simkins liked to gamble as a bettor and that the phone conversations showed that he was placing bets, not accepting them.
Noting that Simkins was a graduate of the prestigious Wharton School of Finance and Commerce, robinson said his client was too wise to violate the law.
The defense lawyer also said the case against Simkins stemmed from a long-running effort by the Internal Revenue Service to locate and tax large sums of illegal gambling profits that the agency believes Simkins' father hid before his death in 1973 at the age of 74. Simkins' father was one of the area's most prominent gambling figures for nearly two decades.
The younger Simkins lives in a $200,000 house at 1702 Shepherd St. NW.