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25 INDIVIDUALS INDICTED IN MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR ILLEGAL NATIONWIDE SPORTS BETTING RING

25 INDIVIDUALS INDICTED IN MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR ILLEGAL NATIONWIDE SPORTS BETTING RING

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Published by: pokernews on Oct 25, 2012
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12/04/2012

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: DISTRICT ATTORNEY THURSDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2012 718-286-6315 NYPD/DCPI646-610-6700 FBI212-384-210025 INDIVIDUALS INDICTED IN MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR ILLEGAL NATIONWIDE SPORTS BETTING RINGCharged With Enterprise Corruption and Promoting Gambling;Search Warrants Executed In Multiple States Across The Country Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, joined by New York City PoliceDepartment Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, Acting Assistant Director in Chargeof the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Mary E. Galligan,and representatives of other law enforcement agencies from across the country,today announced the indictment of 25 individuals – including three owners of asports betting Internet website – in five states on charges of operating an illegalsports betting enterprise in Queens County and elsewhere that profited by morethan $50 million during an eighteen-month period by accepting wagers on varioussporting events – including horse-racing and professional and college football,basketball, hockey and baseball. In addition, dozens of search warrants and asset seizure warrants were executedin multiple jurisdictions in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Nevada andCalifornia, resulting, to date, in the seizure of real property and more than $7.6million in cash and gambling chips. The arrests and/or warrants were carried outby the New York City Police Department’s Organized Crime Investigation Division,the FBI’s Asset Forfeiture Section, the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the NewJersey State Commission of Investigation, the Monmouth County (NJ) Prosecutor’sOffice, the New Jersey State Attorney General’s Office, the Pennsylvania StatePolice and the Los Angeles Police Department. Furthermore, the Office of LorettaE. Lynch, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, has filedasset forfeiture warrants against the defendants’ assets.Eight defendants were arrested yesterday and arraigned in Queens CountySupreme Court in Kew Gardens. Seventeen additional defendants were arrestedyesterday in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Nevada and California. The defendantsare all charged with Enterprise Corruption – a violation of New York State’s
 
Organized Crime Control Act – as well as being variously charged with promotinggambling, money laundering and conspiracy. They each face up to 25 years inprison if convicted. District Attorney Brown said, “The defendants are accused of operating anincredibly lucrative illegal gambling operation – taking in more than $50 million ina year and a half. Such unlawfully earned profits are often – and easily – divertedto more insidious criminal enterprises. ”  The District Attorney continued, “Illegal gambling is not a victimless crime. Thosewho participate in these criminal enterprises often use threats, intimidation andeven physical force to collect debts and oftentimes charge usurious interest rateson outstanding debts. In addition to our NYPD and FBI partners, I want to thank our other law enforcement and governmental colleagues and authorities in otherstates for their cooperation and efforts in this investigation. So massive was theenterprise that only with their assistance could we bring these defendants to justice.”  Police Commissioner Kelly said, “The defendants in this case gambled and lostthat their illegal activities would fly under the radar. I want to commend the NYPDdetectives, federal agents and our out-of-state partners, who together with theQueens District Attorney’s prosecutors, brought these individuals to justice.”  Acting FBI Assistant Director in Charge Galligan said, “This action is an importantstep in policing illegal sports wagering, from hockey to horse racing. This is yetanother example of the collaboration between the FBI and our partners that isincreasingly necessary to combat evermore sophisticated crimes and the criminalswho commit them.”  District Attorney Brown said that the investigation leading to today’s indictmentbegan in February 2011 when NYPD Organized Crime Investigation Divisiondetectives developed information about an illegal sports betting operation andbegan a joint investigation with the District Attorney’s Organized Crime andRackets Bureau. The investigation included physical surveillance, intelligenceinformation and court-authorized electronic eavesdropping.  According to the indictment, between April 13, 2011 and October 18, 2012, thedefendants conspired to acquire money illegally through the operation of anunlawful gambling enterprise involving the use of Internet web sites that acceptedbets on sporting events. 
 
The indictment also alleges that the ring used non-traditional “wire rooms” in theform of off-shore, Internet-based gambling services – suchaswww.pinnaclesports.com,www.jazzsports.net/com,www.wager4you.comand www.playhera.ag– used by bettors and agents to actually place their wagers. Itis alleged that the members of the enterprise used the off-shore wire rooms tomaintain the gambling accounts of numerous agents through the Internet websitein an effort to evade law enforcement detection through traditional methods. Law enforcement crackdowns on traditional mob-run wire rooms have led to theuse by illegal gambling rings of off-shore gambling web sites where action isavailable around the clock. Bettors can click on an off-shore gambling websiteover the Internet and be assigned individual login codes and passwords. Theirwagers and win-loss amounts are recorded in “sub-accounts” maintained in theaccounts of “agents.” These gambling web sites typically store their informationon computer servers outside the United States – such as in Costa Rica andPanama – and “bounce” their data through a series of server nodes in an effort toevade law enforcement. The indictment charges that at least fifteen of the defendants were “bookmakers”– Daniel Monreal and Pinnacle Sports owners Stanley Tomchin andGeorge Molsbarger, in California; Steven Diano, Jerald Branca, Kelly Barsel, JosephPaulk and Pinnacle Sports owner Brandt England in Las Vegas; Andrew Belardino,Michael Duong and Gadoon Kyrollos in New Jersey; and Vincent Basciano, Jr.,Edward Cappucci, Edward Iazzetti and John Tognino, in New York. Thesebookmakers were allegedly responsible for overseeing “agents” – such as ThomasChiantese in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Joseph Kornreich in New York and IanMandell, and Michael Colbert in Las Vegas – whose jobs allegedly were to build aclientele of bettors who would regularly bet with the enterprise. It is alleged thatthe agents were the intermediaries between the bettor and the enterprise itself,and were responsible for “squaring up” or “settling up” with the bettors usuallyon a designated day each week – by collecting and paying out money owed. According to the indictment, the enterprise also employed “money collectors,”  “money distributors” and “banks” – such as Paul Sexton in Las Vegas, Flora Wuand Daniel Bornico in New York, and Danny Belardino and Christian Rodriguez inNew York and New Jersey – to handle the illegal flow of money between theparticipants of the enterprise. These individuals were allegedly responsible for thecollection and distribution of illegal gambling proceeds between the bookmakersand the agents. They also allegedly transported money throughout the UnitedStates and to and from Panama and/or Costa Rica via courier. It is additionallyalleged that the money collectors and distributors that acted as banks were

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