Former Toledoan, convicted gambler dies in Fla. home


PORT SAINT LUCIE, Fla. - Former Toledoan Paul Lester "Butch" Wilson, Jr., 72, who was convicted in a series of gambling-related crimes in the 1980s and 1990s, died Saturday at his home in Port Saint Lucie, Fla.

Wilson was reputed at one time to have headed one of the country's largest sports bookmaking organizations, until he was arrested in February, 1986. He was convicted in 1987 on nine felony counts, including violating the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, and was sentenced in 1988 to 14 years in prison, though he was paroled in 1991.

Wilson fled to Mexico after his indictment on gambling and extortion charges. He was arrested after about a year and returned to the United States. Less than a year after his parole, Wilson found himself in trouble again. He was convicted in July, 1992, on two federal counts after being accused of a form of money laundering and making false reports to the federal government.

He received a 10-month sentence for those convictions.

Wilson is survived by his wife, Sherry Wilson, of Port Saint Lucie; daughter Terry Wilson, of Toledo; sisters Joan Ward, Laura Wilson, and Linda Wilson, all of Toledo, and grandson, Christopher Wilson. Services, which are expected to be held in Toledo, have not yet been announced.