In a surprise move that probably has more to do with his long detention without trial than an acceptance of wrongdoing, the former CEO of the now liquidated BetonSports.com, David Carruthers (51), entered a guilt plea on racketeering in St. Louis, Missouri on Wednesday.
Carruthers agreed with the Department of Justice not to appeal provided that the sentence does not exceed 33 months, Agence France Presse reported. He also promised not to engage in offshore gambling businesses during the time of supervised release or thereafter.
Following his plea before US District judge Carol Jackson, he was told to return for sentencing on Friday, October 2nd 2009.
US Attorney Catherine Hanaway, the federal official handling the case, said: "Illegal sports gambling across state and international borders by telephone or Internet is a crime. Misuse of the Internet to violate the law can ultimately only serve to harm legitimate businesses."
She said Carruthers' activities had resulted in the loss of between seven million dollars and 20 million dollars and involved more than 250 victims, perhaps neglecting to mention that BetonSports had collapsed as a result of the activities of the Department of Justice.
Carruthers was arrested at a Texas airport in July 2006 whilst in transit to his base in Costa Rica, and has been under house arrest without trial in St. Louis ever since. He could have faced a possible maximum penalty of 20 years in prison but due to his plea bargaining he should receive no more than 33 months jailtime, with the possibility that the judge will also take his almost three years of house arrest without trial into consideration.
Carruthers has consistently claimed that he is innocent of wrongdoing and intended to strongly dispute the DoJ case.
According to the Justice Department, Carruthers was hired in June 2000 by Gary Kaplan (50), an American who has also been detained for a prolonged period after being extradited back to the United States from Dominica by the FBI. It is understood he is to go on trial in September this year, along with 4 co-defendants.
The Justice Departmnent alleged that Carruthers developed the BetonSports sportsbetting business "through a pattern of racketeering acts" including mail fraud and money laundering and making false representations.
"They failed to disclose known material facts, namely that the US government and most state governments viewed such operations as illegal, and that they did not have a license to operate legally anywhere in the United States," it said.
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