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Illegal sportsbook operator sentenced in US District Court
Another US sportsbetting prosecution in a US District Court - this one in Wisconsin - has resulted in a man who operated a $400 million Caribbean-based bookmaking operation for Wisconsin and Nevada managers receiving a jail sentence, reports the Capital Times.
Rick McColley (56) formerly of Florida was sentenced this week to the four months he has been detained since his arrest. The convicted man was the general manager of Gold Medal Sports, a sport bookmaking firm located on Curacao and controlled largely by one Duane Pede of Amherst Junction, Wisconsin.
The court heard that Pede hired McColley in 1996 as Gold Medal's sales manager. Through 'unlawful' phone and Internet wagering, the business took in more than $400 million on sporting events until 2002.
"You can't pick up a phone and legally place a bet on a sporting event, except horseracing, unless you go to Curacao or you're in the state of Nevada," Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Graber told Capital Times reporters after the hearing. McColley had earlier told U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb that he didn't realise that was the case when he obtained the Curacao licenses that Gold Medal would need, but he admitted that he didn't check with U.S. officials.
McColley, Pede, and five others connected to Gold Medal were indicted in 2002 on several wire fraud counts (see previous InfoPowa reports). The others were Pede's nephew and Gold Medal's chief financial officer, Randy Moreau, Pede's attorney Bruce Meagher, Nevada accountant Francis Howard, Orlando, Fla., attorney David Tedder and Jeff D'Ambrosia of Nevada.
The Capital Times reports that FBI agents built the case against the sportsbook by placing $1 000 bets on football games in calls from Madison and Beloit to Curacao, where McColley was on the other end of the phone line, Graber said. E-mails recovered during the investigation showed Pede giving orders or approving of McColley's management of the island sportsbook, Graber said.
Pede, Tedder and D'Ambrosia were treated as "Tier I" defendants, most responsible for the illegal wagering operation, and each was initially sentenced to five years in prison and fined $100 000. Pede's and D'Ambrosia's sentences were later reduced after testifying at trial against Tedder.
McColley, Moreau, Meagher and Howard were considered less culpable defendants and served sentences of six months or less, with Moreau's served in home confinement. In McColley's case, his time already spent in detention and his poor health were taken into account in sentencing.
McColley was a professional gambler and a fugitive for several years until his arrest in May 2008 in Panama, whilst traveling to a poker tournament.
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