Crime & Courts

Former Wichita high school, college coach charged with illegal gambling

Here is what we know so far about the federal indictments in the gambling probe

(FILE VIDEO -- 2018) Two Wichita police officers, one former Highway Patrol trooper and three others have been indicted so far in the federal investigation over illegal gambling in Wichita. (Feb. 12, 2018/Music by Getty Music)
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(FILE VIDEO -- 2018) Two Wichita police officers, one former Highway Patrol trooper and three others have been indicted so far in the federal investigation over illegal gambling in Wichita. (Feb. 12, 2018/Music by Getty Music)

Prosecutors on Monday filed more charges connected to a federal probe into illegal gambling in Wichita — this time against a former Wichita high school and college tennis coach.

Jack Oxler, 41, is charged with one count of being involved in an illegal gambling business that involved poker games and one count of being involved in an illegal gambling business that involved sports betting, according to court records. He is accused of conducting, financing, managing, supervising, directing and owning all or part of the businesses from February 2014 to Feb. 10, 2017.

The businesses also involved five or more people “who conducted, financed, managed, supervised, directed and owned all or part” of them and “had a gross revenue of $2,000.00 in any single day,” according to court documents.

“He (Oxler) was involved in ... the organization and running of poker games, and he was involved in administering what I think is an offshore sport book,” Oxler’s attorney, G. Craig Robinson, said.

Oxler worked as an assistant tennis coach at Bishop Carroll High School in Wichita, according to The Eagle’s news archives, and as the men’s tennis assistant coach at Newman University. He is no longer working at the schools and now lives in Kansas City, Robinson said.

Oxler coached at Newman for at least two seasons between 2012 and 2014, university spokesman Clark Schafer said.

He also was a director of tennis at Genesis Health Clubs West Central location, according to Oxler’s LinkedIn page and a Genesis spokesman. His full-time employment lasted for about a year, ending in February 2015.

“It was a relatively short tenure,” the Genesis spokesman said.

Robinson said Oxler plans to plead guilty to the charges on Wednesday. He is scheduled for a first appearance and arraignment at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the federal courthouse in Wichita, according to court records.

Oxler could be sentenced to up to five years in federal prison and pay up to a $250,000 fine on each count, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said.

“Jack looks forward to getting the matter behind him in the near future,” Robinson said.

“We’re making all efforts to resolve the difficulty that Jack has gotten himself into that dovetails into the plea that’s pending.”

The case is part of an ongoing investigation into illegal gambling in Wichita that also included wiretapping of several Wichitans’ phones in 2015.

The “charge filed today against Jack Oxler, 41, Wichita, Kan., arises from the same federal investigation as the other gambling cases,” said Jim Cross, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Kansas, in an e-mailed response to questions.

Among people whose phone conversations were intercepted by the federal government in the spring or summer of 2015 are businessmen Brandon and Rodney Steven and Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O’Donnell, who at the time was a state senator. The Stevens are partners in health clubs, auto dealerships and other enterprises around Wichita, including Genesis Health Clubs where Oxler was a director of tennis for the West Central branch.

Last year Brandon Steven told The Eagle he was the subject of a federal inquiry into his playing of high-stakes poker and his involvement in trying to open a casino in Kansas. No charges have been filed against Brandon and Rodney Steven and O’Donnell. Federal officials have declined to discuss the investigation and have not said if the wiretaps were related.

Seven other people have been charged in connection to the federal probe on illegal gambling, which dates back to at least November 2011:

▪ Danny Chapman, 67, a Wichita bookie, pleaded guilty to operating an illegal gambling business and tax evasion on Jan. 12.

▪ Daven Flax, 46, of Wichita ran illegal poker games for others — including paying dealers, waitresses and caterers — and rented businesses where the games were held. He pleaded guilty Jan. 12 to running an illegal gambling business and making a false statement on a tax return.

▪ Former Wichita police officer Michael Zajkowski, 50, is charged with using police resources to identify an undercover officer investigating illegal poker games, as well as with obstructing a criminal investigation.

▪ Bruce Mackey, 45, of Goddard, a former Wichita police officer, also is accused of using police resources to identify the undercover officer and of obstruction.

▪ Brock Wedman, 48, of St. Mary’s, is charged with obstruction and lying to the FBI for allegedly asking Zajkowski and Mackey to determine if an undercover officer attended a 2014 poker game.

▪ Former Kansas Highway Patrol trooper Michael Frederiksen, 52, of Derby, is charged with lying to the FBI during an investigation into illegal gambling. He was filmed playing poker in an illegal game on Feb. 12, 2014.

▪ Daniel Dreese, 65, of Wichita, pleaded guilty last week to two counts of making false statements on income tax returns. He admitted to earning hundreds of thousands of dollars from illegal bookmaking.

Contributing: Tim Potter of The Eagle

Amy Renee Leiker: 316-268-6644, @amyreneeleiker

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