Saturday June 22,2013 : ONLINE SPORTS BETTING OPERATOR PLEADS GUILTY TO R.I.C.O. OFFENCES
 
Case originates from federal action against those involved in the 44Wager.com investigation
 
Douglas Corbin, an American implicated in Connecticut federal investigations against the Costa Rica-based online sports betting site 44Wager.com, pleaded guilty this week to offences under federal racketeering laws.
 
Corbin also agreed to forfeit $100,000, and now awaits sentencing.
 
The cases of other persons accused in the case remain in progress, with Richard Uva in particular electing to plead not guilty to racketeering charges.
 
The man alleged to have headed the operation, Dean DePreta, pleaded guilty before Connecticut Judge Vanessa L. Bryant to racketeering on June 5, and will be sentenced on August 28.
 
Federal prosecutors have alleged that DePreta ran the Gambino crime family's gambling rackets in southern Connecticut.
 
On the west side of the United States, and in related news, several of the 18 people arrested in the Macho Sports.com online sports betting raids in California have entered pleas.
 
Howard Blum (51) pleaded guilty to operating an illegal sports betting business before Magistrate Judge William McCurine Jr. Thursday and will be sentenced later.
 
However fellow defendant Hee Kow (36), a Peruvian citizen, pleaded not guilty.
 
Federal agents claim that the eighteen people arrested in sweeps in La Jolla earlier this week made millions of dollars over the past decade from the illegal online sports betting enterprise, which was operated from Panama and Peru
 
FBI Special Agent in Charge Daphne Hearn said: "This case highlights the connection between illegal Internet gambling operations and the violence associated with this type of racketeering activity.
 
"Criminal enterprises like Macho Sports and their U.S.-based ‘bookmakers' prey on the gambling addictions of their betting customers, wreaking havoc on people's lives and the lives of family members."
 
In addition to the Californian arrests, authorities arrested Erik Portocarrero, who is believed to be the ringleader, in Norway.
 
The FBI also executed warrants seeking the forfeiture of at least $5 million in property, including homes and a car purchased for nearly $150,000. Investigators believe the property was paid for from the illegal operation.
 
The raids took place after a 2-year long investigation by the FBI, which included wiretapping and undercover agents.