Problem Gambling After Shootout Led To Tax Issues, But Cincy Man Gets Probation

Posted on: March 13, 2022, 01:40h. 

Last updated on: March 13, 2022, 06:21h.

The former owner of a Cincinnati nightclub who turned to gambling after a deadly shootout led to his bar’s closure will serve three years of probation. That’s after he pled guilty on Friday to filing a false tax return.

Cameo Nightclub
The Cameo Nightclub in Cincinnati was the scene of a deadly shootout five years ago. After it closed, its owner, Julian Rodgers, turned to casino gambling to cope, which led to financial issues. On Friday, Rodgers received a three-year probation sentence for filing a false federal tax form. (Image: WCPO)

US District Judge Matthew W. McFarland sentenced Julian Rodgers to probation, which also includes a six-month home incarceration period. Last year, Rodgers pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return and a gun possession charge.

The sentencing took place nearly five years after an altercation between several men at Rogers’ Cameo nightclub in the Ohio city turned violent. The men exchanged gunfire in the crowded club that left two people dead and 15 injured.

According to the sentencing memo from Richard J. Goldberg, Rodgers’ attorney, the nightclub that served as his client’s main income source immediately closed. Then came less-than-flattering media reports.

Julian was devastated,” the memorandum stated. “Instead of immediately coping with his feelings, he started casino gambling, and after some initial winnings, he lost a considerable amount of money gambling.”

Going to the casino only “intensified” Rodgers issues, Goldberg said.

With his finances and records in shambles, Rodgers filed a false return for 2017. Authorities say that Rodgers stated his 2017 income at slightly more than $90,000, which underreported his actual income by more than half.

Factoring in penalties and interest, the amount lost to the federal government totaled more than $62,000.

Rodgers Rebuilding His Life

Prior to the Cameo shooting, Rodgers was a successful businessman in the Cincinnati area, according to Goldberg’s memo. He held events for such groups as the local Urban League and the area’s NAACP chapter. He was invited to an inaugural ball for President Obama and got to attend an Easter Egg Hunt at the White House as well. Rodgers was involved in local charities and helped start a local food festival.

After realizing he had a problem gambling issue, Rodgers turned to mental health counseling. He also brought in a certified public accountant to handle his finances.

Since the Cameo shooting, Rodgers has opened several businesses that continue to do well in the Cincinnati area. In addition, he has plans to open two more restaurants and has continued working with nonprofits, including serving as a mentor for teenagers and young adults.

Goldberg said that his client remains confident he’ll pay the back taxes “as quickly as possible” to the federal government. As such, given Rodgers business background and the mental health issues he faced, the lawyer urged the federal government to not put his client in jail.

“Julian’s tax problems, at least in part, resulted in his ventures into casino gambling and losing large sums of money,” Goldberg argued. “Sixth Circuit precedent allows this Court to consider a downward departure based upon addictive gambling behavior.”

McFarland agreed with the prosecutor’s recommendation for probation and home detention.

Help Available for Problem Gambling Issues

March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month. In the US, help for those with addiction and other gambling issues is available on an around-the-clock basis.

The National Council on Problem Gambling operates a nationwide network that allows people to seek help confidentially by calling, chatting, or texting. The toll-free call and text line is 1-800-522-4700. The online chat feature is available at