Sulphur man pleads guilty to racketeering charge

<p class="indent">A 56-year-old Sulphur man pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering Thursday in state district court.</p><p class="indent">James Douglas Runte was the last of four defendants in a racketeering prosecution that resulted from the fraudulent use of customer credit cards at Club Vixen and Club Cabaret, gentlemen’s clubs in Sulphur.</p><p class="indent">Judge Mike Canaday sentenced Runte to 12 years with the Department of Corrections, stipulating that he should serve nine years in prison followed by three years of supervised prison upon his release.</p><p class="indent">An investigation revealed more than $250,000 in fraudulent transactions from customer credit cards over a two-year period.</p><p class="indent">The other three defendants, Chris Runte, 29, of Sulphur; John Runte, 33, Sulphur; and Krystal Amber Gaudet, 33, Zwolle, all pleaded guilty earlier this year.</p><p class="indent">They received varying sentences – 23 years combined for the three of them – and are currently serving time on their charges.</p><p class="indent">Prosecutors earlier said that all four defendants were cooperating with the ongoing investigation.</p><p class="indent">A racketeering charge can carry up to a 50-year sentence, which prosecutor Hugo Holland discussed during one of Gaudet’s hearings. Because of her cooperation, prosecutors asked that her sentence be capped at 10 years and she was ultimately sentenced to eight years.</p><p class="indent">Calcasieu Parish District Attorney John DeRosier said this was a “joint investigative effort” that involved the Louisiana State Police and investigators with the District Attorney’s office.</p><p class="indent">“These cases require a tenacity and willingness to sort through thousands of documents and transactions,” DeRosier said.</p>””Guilty