Two Wichita, Kansas, police officers and a state highway patrol trooper have been charged with obstructing an FBI investigation following an illegal poker game.
The FBI in Kansas busted an illegal poker game that turned out to be quite popular with state and local law enforcement officers. (Image: fbi.gov)
According to an indictment unsealed Thursday, Bruce Mackey, 45, Michael Zajkowski, 50, and Brock Wedman, 48, were all involved in an illegal poker game during which an FBI investigator was present.
All three have been charged with obstructing law enforcement. Additionally, Wedman faces one count of lying to the FBI.
Cops Playing Poker
With the FBI agent posing as a player, the indictment alleges that Wedman became suspicious of who he might be and asked Mackey and Zajkowski for help identifying him. Both men were Wichita police officers at the time, and reportedly were able to confirm that the man’s car was registered to the city’s legal department.
On the night in question, neither Wedman nor the local police officers confronted the mystery player. However, the filing shows that the game was moved to a new location the following evening.
Also named in the case is another former Kansas Highway Patrol trooper, Michael Frederiksen. Using a mobile phone, the undercover agent filmed Frederiksen taking part in the underground poker game. In addition to this evidence, the FBI claims that Frederiksen had close links to the game’s organizer.
As part of the FBI’s investigation, all four men were called in for questioning. During the recorded interviews, the men downplayed their involvement in the game, with Mackey and Zajkowski, in particular, denying an abuse of their powers.
Wedman denied asking Mackey and Zajkowski to help him identify the unknown man, which led to the additional charge against him. Frederiksen is also facing criminal charges. For his part in the game and subsequent testimony, the former Trooper was charged with two counts of making false statements to the FBI.
If found guilty, all four men could spend time in a federal prison and fines of up to $250,000.
The latest set of indictments look to be part of a larger FBI investigation. Just days earlier, two men, Danny Chapman, 67, and Daven Flax, 46, pleaded guilty to unlawful betting practices and tax evasion.
Chapman was reportedly making more than $2,000-a-day running an illegal sports betting ring, while Flax is alleged to be behind a network of illegal poker games than ran from 2013 to 2017. Details of the pleas were unsealed on Jan. 12, just six days before the latest group of me were charged.