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|BetOnSports.com founder gets 4-plus years
Nov 02, Technology/Internet
(AP) -- The founder of the online gambling site BetOnSports.com was sentenced Monday to more than four years in prison, ending a lengthy investigation and prosecution into one of the world's largest offshore sports gambling companies.
Gary Kaplan, 50, must also forfeit $43.6 million in illegally obtained revenue as part of a plea agreement. Prosecutors have said that amounts to more than half of Kaplan's total worth.
Kaplan pleaded guilty in August to racketeering conspiracy, violating the Wire Wager Act and conspiring to violate it. Prosecutors had been investigating offshore sports gambling since 1997, and BetOnSports since 2001.
Kaplan, sentenced to four years and three months, could end up spending another year behind bars. He has been jailed for two years and seven months since his March 2007 arrest in Puerto Rico. U.S. District Judge Carol Jackson said it will be up to the Bureau of Prisons to determine if he is given credit for time served. Attorneys in the case noted that federal rules call for him serving 85 percent of the 51-month sentence, minus whatever credit he may be given for time served.
Online gaming is illegal in the U.S., and in 2006, a federal grand jury indicted Kaplan, his company and several associates. Three other former executives, including two of Kaplan's siblings, have pleaded guilty and will be sentenced Tuesday. A fourth will be sentenced later.
Kaplan, a high-school dropout who started out as a New York bookie, founded the offshore betting company in 1995, setting up entities in Aruba, Antigua and eventually Costa Rica. The firm solicited U.S. citizens to place sports wagers by phone and over the Internet directly from their accounts.
In his guilty plea in August, Kaplan said BetOnSports had 1 million registered customers and accepted more than 10 million sports bets worth more than $1 billion in 2004 alone. His company, by then based in Costa Rica, employed 1,700 people.
Kaplan took BetOnSports public on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market in 2004, which netted him more than $100 million that was deposited in Swiss bank accounts. For the next two years, he served as a BetOnSports consultant.
Prosecutors said the company falsely advertised that its gambling operations were legal, and misled gamblers into believing that money transferred to BetOnSports was safe and available to withdraw at any time. Instead, investigators said, the money was used to expand operations, including purchase of a rival betting firm.
When BetOnSports ceased operation in 2006, customers lost more than $16 million.
Kaplan told Jackson in August that he initially believed that adhering to the laws in Aruba, Antigua, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and the United Kingdom kept him in good stead with U.S. laws. But he said he became aware as early as 2000 that such dealings violated U.S. law, and got confirmation in a legal opinion in 2002. Yet, he kept operating.
Kaplan apologized to the judge Monday for the "pain and embarrassment" he caused to his family, and said he'd "paid a monumental price for poor decisions." His attorneys said that Kaplan, from his jail cell, has made six-figure contributions to St. Louis-area charities in recent months.
Jackson said while recognizing Kaplan's generosity, she was "a little put off" by letters she's received from those charities on his behalf.
"When I make a charitable contribution, I don't expect credit," she said. "I hope you will continue to support worthy charitable organizations even when it doesn't further any personal interest you may have."
The case could have been filed anywhere in the U.S., but the Eastern District of Missouri's former U.S. Attorney, Catherine Hanaway, was aggressive in going after online gambling operations.
©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.|
|Where's my money, main?|
|Not now after todays news|
|Some interesting news today re Bail of ex CEO and arrest of founder.Does the WTO| decision make any difference?|
|This is ridiculous. What about us shareholders? Will these shares ever trade again?|
|frame the share certificate alongside your enron and Bre-x ones|
cornelious billy bee
|"Judging by the reaction to BetonSports's US closure, you'd have thought that no one had ever warned investors that gambling in the US might be a problem. The Observer reports that shareholders in BetonSports are "considering taking legal action against the company's advisers - Evolution Securities and Baker Tilly...institutional investors are unhappy that the history of Betonsports founder Gary Kaplan was not made clear in the company's offer document."
Mr Kaplan, who has reportedly fled to Israel, is also wanted by the US authorities. He previously had gambling-related run-ins with the US in 1993 and has a somewhat colourful past.
But it's not difficult to understand why investors are panicking. Given that the BetonSports still has to settle up with betting account holders in the US, it may find its Asian businesses under threat. Greg Feehely at Altium told The Independent: "This is pretty much a worst-case scenario for shareholders. The group's Asian-facing businesses may need to be sold to settle all outstanding liabilities leaving little or nothing for equity investors."|
|Other companies are closing down their telephone services but are not overly affected so long as online business remains untouched. BetCorp for example (click on relevant piece in this site):
|what happens to shareholders now?|
|Looks like US gaming companies will take a pasting today. Watch out party gaming (80%) us facing|
|Will the dividend still be paid even if the shares are suspended?|
|Interested in a gambling play in smaller caps then check out Playwize - up 8.8% today. [PLW]. Imminent launch of pokerwize.com in Sept, a 3D immersive online Real-Money Poker game with VOIP [Voice over IP - world first for poker] for online chat! Aimed at the UK and European Market where legislation is unlikely to effect online gambling like in the US although that looks unlikely PartyGaming Statement. Significant revenue sharing deals in place - Microgaming and Fairground. New broker/nomad Westhouse Securities and PR Bishopsgate Communications in place, all ready for go live. Potential for 10 bags full.
Advfn Thread http://www.advfn.com/cmn/fbb/thread.php3?id=12328002
http://www.growthcompany.co.uk - Peter Shealock of Growth Company Investor has BIT as one of his 2 top tips for 2006
Comment from 3D Poker Reviews
"We anticipate that the arrival of Pokerwize will signal the beginning of the end for 2D poker."|
|Post removed by ADVFN|
|why the anti-igaming bill wont go thrue ever, take a lough on that. nice weekend, roho
|Nice piece on Uk-analyst tonight worth a read for a laugh.
Their campaign to reinstate the BetonSports One.
The Stock Market Report for Tuesday July 25th from UK-Analyst.com|
|CEO Dismissed, Media rebuffed|
|Clarity - 16 Jul'04 - 14:19 - 1 of 373
There's a lot of rumour in the US Bulletin Boards about the integrity of these guys ? If the US Boards are to be believed they pay customers poorly, they have a "Gentlemans Club" in the office and the lead man a Mr Kiplan isnt even mentioned in the Prospectus (which I havent seen). Alledgedly he is linked to dodgy people. Usually there's no smoke without fire so I'd urge initial caution.
rather prescient eh?|
|Hookers and high rollers: Why British web chief faces 50 years|
|how to kick a man while he's down...no loyalty there i see|