Saturday August 8,2015 : ILLEGAL SPORTSBETTING RING LEADERS SENTENCED
Macho Sports operators Erik and Jan Harald Portocarrerro find that illegal activity can be expensive.
Erik and Jan Harald Portocarrerro, two brothers busted back in June 2013 on racketeering and illegal online sportsbetting charges in the Macho Sports federal sting operation were sentenced this week in a California federal court, paying a painful price for their illegal activity.
The Los Angeles Times reports that on Friday US District Judge Janis Sammartino sentenced Jan to 18 months in prison, while Erik received 22 months, with time served of 381 days deducted.
Financial penalties imposed on the duo include $50,000 fines and the forfeiture of $3 million in assets acquired by the brothers using their ill-gotten gains.
Earlier this year when entering their guilty pleas, the brothers agreed to forfeit nearly $12 million in cash, property and other valuables.
The Times reports that the 40-something siblings were among 16 other individuals pursued in the US, Peru and Norway following an extensive FBI sting operation which uncovered operations in Peru and the USA.
The court heard that threats of violence were used to extract payments from losing punters who had gambled on the illegal enterprise’s website, but defence attorney Jim Henderson tried to convince the court that their activities were simply “one of those stupid guy things that guys do sometimes” and conduct that did not merit racketeering charges.
For Erik Portocarrerro the sentence was the end of a long judicial struggle in which he spent 22 months fighting attempts to extradite him to the United States.
Two more members of the ring, Amir Mokayef in San Diego and Joseph Barrios in Los Angeles, have entered guilty pleas and will be sentenced soon.
The ring began operations in 1995, according to court papers. When authorities became aware of the gambling ring and started an investigation, the two brothers moved their headquarters to Lima, Peru.