Tuesday November 19 ,2013 : COPS HELPED FOOL ONLINE BETTING FIRMS
New South Wales Police Integrity Commission investigates two officers.
Two New South Wales police officers are under investigation by the New South Wales Police Integrity Commission for using ID documents bought from fellow officers to disguise the identities of professional gamblers playing at a number of online betting sites.
ABC News reports that the Commission is enquiring into the affairs of Senior Constable Marc James Smith, from the Tactical Operations Unit, and Detective Senior Constable Anthony Paul Williams, from the Homicide Squad.
Counsel assisting the commission Peter Hamill SC told a hearing in Sydney Monday that between May 2012 and March 2013 the two officers paid past and present policemen for their identification documents and bank account details.
The personal information was then used to open online gambling accounts in those names.
"The scheme involved establishing and using accounts with a number of different internet gambling agencies," Hamill told the PIC.
"Some professional gamblers are so successful that the gambling agencies elect not to take their bets.
"The evidence gathered to date suggests that Williams and Smith were associated with at least two such lucky and professional gamblers."
The gamblers named were Darren Azzopardi and Stephen Fletcher.
"The gambling agencies were tricked into accepting the bets from people they would otherwise refuse to accept bets from," Hamill told the hearing. He used the term "bowler" in reference to the activities of the two officers at the centre of the PIC hearing.
"A ‘bowler' is a person who is a front for a gambler," he said.
Hamill revealed that the police officers and other people were paid amounts generally amounting to about $500 to pass on their information and allow their accounts to be used for betting proceeds.
Smith admitted to the hearing that his actions could in hindsight have been seen as deceptive. He described the enterprise as a "punter's club" and said his only intention was to make life easier for his friends. He acknowledged that he had a gambling problem when he started the scheme.
The hearing was told that up to six mobile phone SIM cards were used to operate the scheme and three separate email accounts were used to communicate between Smith and Williams. Smith admitted the different email addresses were used to avoid exposing the scheme.
Phone intercepts were used in the investigation, with one call played back to the hearing in which Smith indicated an intention to perpetuate the scheme through sports bets on a series of upcoming football matches
Hamill suggested to Smith that Williams had used him "as a front for money" to help his professional gambler friends, and that the scheme was designed to deliberately deceive betting agencies.
"Looking back on it now, I can definitely see that," Smith said.