May 20th 2015, in Albany, New York the take-down of an international gambling ring that handled more than $1 billion in offshore wagers is paying for law enforcement in various regions.
The largest amount, $4.66 million will go to the Albany County Sheriff’s department. Their investigation started the case that led to one of the most significant internet gambling shutdowns to date.
Federal rules say that the money needs to be used for law enforcement purposes.
Richard S. Hartunian, US Attorney said on Wednesday that the case resulted in penalties of $9.6 million. This money will then be distributed to six law enforcement agencies that worked on the case. These agencies include the Albany County district attorney’s office that received $862,468 and the Saratoga County district attorney’s office which received $363,833.
The remaining funds will be distributed to the Internal Revenue Service who will receive $1.6 million, Broward county sheriff’s department, which is in south Florida, who will receive $104,946 and the FBI will receive $1.9 million.
Hartunian says that illegal gambling needs money in order to commit the crime and it is also the reason that the crime is committed. The illegal money will now be shared with law enforcement agencies that work with their federal counterparts and US attorneys that disassemble large scale enterprises.
In April of 2013, the investigation began when 40 people were arrested or were indicted on charges that range from money laundering to wire fraud. Ironically, the “found money” started as a small gambling investigation targeting Albany County jail officers that became a larger probe into a unit of shadier gambling figures that were behind dozens of online betting sites, many of them based in Panama.
With the Albany County sheriff, FBI officers from Miami, Boston and Oklahoma helped in the efforts. Search warrants were used so that they could listen in on tens of thousands calls and intercept emails and other types of online communications.
The over reaching case had its center in Oklahoma where the federal prosecutors targeted the top figures that are behind an international gambling ring which was part of the Legendz Sports. Hundreds of millions of dollars in funds were collected from the Caribbean to Texas.
In 2000’s, the gambling organisation came to life when bookmakers began to establish online bookmaking websites in places like Costa Rica, Panama and Jamaica. They then invested millions in telephone call centers and online betting services where players mostly from the US placed wagers.
In Albany a federal complaint was filed against two residents – one from Boca Raton, Philip Gurian and citizen of Panama, Michele Lasso. A wiretapped conversation heard them discuss the transfer of $4 million from a website account to a Panama bank account. Gurian and Lasso regularly made large wire transfers of money for up to 50 online gambling sites, which were under their control as well as various alleged shell companies.
In Albany, Gurian, Lasso, and Alan Gould another defendant made guilty pleas for charges of federal money laundering.
Legendz Sports along with 22 other companies were indicted in the case.