Bell couple charged with stealing bingo money

A Bell County couple has been charged with pocketing money from charitable bingo games, the state Department of Charitable Gaming announced Wednesday.

Jesse James Hall Sr., 64, and his wife Juanita Hall, 54, were arrested after a two-month investigation showed money was missing from games held at a bingo parlor in Middlesboro, according to a news release.

Jesse J. Hall was charged with five felony counts of diverting charitable-gaming funds and with one count of failing to make required disposition of funds, a misdemeanor, according to Marty Hammons, commissioner of the Department of Charitable Gaming.

Juanita Hall was charged with four felony counts of diverting charitable-gaming funds.

The Halls are listed as officers of the Bell County Fair and Exposition Board Inc., which owns the bingo hall, according to a news release.

Jesse J. Hall also is a constable, state officials said.

The Department of Charitable Gaming did not release the amount of money the two allegedly misappropriated. The investigation is continuing and could result in more charges, Hammons said.

State police assisted in the investigation.

"Anytime charities are cheated out of the dollars they expect to receive from the operation of charitable gaming, the people of Kentucky are the victims," Hammons said in a news release.