Nearly $66,000 in cash generated during bingo games run in the name of charities in Alexandria from last December through May of this year was "siphoned off and has disappeared, Virginia state police investigator testified in court yesterday.
The investigator, Coy Ivy, a 30-year veteran of the FBI, testified at the trial of George Leonard Berry, accused of operating an illegal gambling enterprise in Alexandria. Ivy provided Alexandria Circuit Court with an analysis of the financial records seized from a company Berry was associated with during the allegedly illegal operation of the bingo games.
Ivy, the 12th witness called by special bingo prosecutor Edward J. White, testified that the bingo games, sponsored in the names of the Alexandria YMCA. the Alexandria Volunteer Fire Department, and St Paul's. Pentecostal Church, took in $282,398.75 from 99 bingo games held between December 9, 1977, and last May 7. The games were held at the Alexandria Bingo Parlor, 3819 Mount Vernon Ave., Ivy testified.
After analyzing "five separate sets of accounting records" maintained by Gridiron Inc., the company that operate the games, Ivy testified that he was unable to find $65,629.80. That money "was being siphoned off and not reported by . . . Gridiron," Ivy testified he had concluded.
Gridiron Inc. is owned by Alva Ford Thompson, who has also been indicted on a charge of running an illegal gambling operation in the form of bingo.
Defense attorney James I. Burkhardt attacked Ivy's calculations, claiming that he was adding up the figures the wrong way. The figures were actually taken from "the best set of books you've ever seen," Burkhardt said.
Alexandria police officer Kathleen Bralove testified that while posing as a secretary in Thompson's office, she had overheard Thompson's side of a conversation with Berry in which the two men expressed concern about a Washington Post reporter's investigation of one of their bingo games. "Maybe (a woman) ought to take care of him . . . tell church officials (officials of St. Paul's Pentecostal Church) not to comment." Bralove testified she heard Thompson say to Berry.
Thompson concluded the conversation by saying, "Got to run, (I'm) going to (Alexandria Commonwealth's Attorney William L.) Cowhig's (birthday) party," Bralove testified.
The trial is expected to end Thursday. If convicted Berry could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and fined as much as $20,000.