Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Shot through the heart and you're to blame

You give sports a bad name.

From today's WSJ:

U.S. authorities said an arrest warrant was issued for Gary Stephen Kaplan, the founder of the company, who was charged with 20 felonies. The indictment seeks forfeiture of $4.5 billion and various properties from Mr. Kaplan and the co-defendants. His brother, Neil Scott Kaplan, was arrested in Fort Pierce, Fla., U.S. officials said.

The 22-count indictment was unsealed Monday in St. Louis, where a federal judge also ordered BetOnSports to stop accepting bets placed from within the U.S.

Several of the defendants live outside the U.S., which will make them hard to catch, said U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway in St. Louis. "This is a tough crime to prosecute,'' she said.

Mr. Kaplan is a former New York area bookie who moved his operations to the Caribbean after being arrested on gambling charges in New York in 1993. Despite the move, the U.S. has remained Mr. Kaplan's main market, officials said. He is now living in Costa Rica and owns 15% of the company, according to the indictment.

The indictment charges Mr. Kaplan with failing to pay federal wagering excise taxes on more than $3.3 billion on U.S. wagers. It also says undercover agents took bets from some of the defendants' companies, which allegedly transported equipment used in transmitting betting information across state lines and from Florida to Costa Rica.

Authorities also charged that Mr. Kaplan's group fraudulently claimed that Internet and phone wagering on sporting events was legal and licensed.

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