Haltom City company, execs plead guilty in eight-liner case

Posted Friday, Mar. 22, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Officials with HEST Technologies, a firm that supplied software and hardware to the eight-liner gambling industry, pleaded guilty Friday to money-laundering and racketeering charges, and the company has been ordered to dissolve within a year.

In an Anderson County district court, HEST pleaded guilty to engaging in organized criminal activity for gambling offenses and was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine, according to a statement from the Texas attorney general's office.

The company was accused of operating illegal gambling devices in various locations, including Anderson County in east Texas.

Company president Chris Canard pleaded guilty to money-laundering and engaging in organized criminal activity for gambling offenses and was ordered to pay a $2,000 fine and serve five years probation. Three other company executives also pleaded guilty.

HEST, founded in 1997, is privately held and employs about 60 people in its Haltom City operation and sales office in Richland Hills, Canard has said.

The company's headquarters were raided in August 2012 in a joint operation led by the attorney general, the Anderson County district attorney's office, the Tarrant County district attorney's office and the Dallas Police Department.

"We are pleased that the defendants pleaded guilty and were sentenced just seven months after their arrest," said Tarrant County Assistant District Attorney Lloyd Welchel. "Our office, along with the Sheriff's Department, assisted in the investigation of HEST's headquarters, which is located in Tarrant County."

Under the plea agreements, all parties are barred from engaging in any gambling operations in Texas for the life of their probation terms. Multiple agreed asset forfeiture orders will be filed next week in Tarrant County, resulting in the forfeiture of all HEST-owned equipment that was seized from two Tarrant County offices in August, as well as nearly $1.5 million in illegal gambling proceeds, the release said. The proceeds will be distributed among the law enforcement agencies that collaborated on the investigation.

"They were a very large and complex operation that expanded well beyond the borders of Tarrant County and Texas," said Terry Grisham, Tarrant County sheriff's spokesman.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752

Twitter: @mitchmitchel3

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