Friday January 15,2016 : BLAST FROM THE PAST AS WSEX FOUNDER RETURNS TO THE U.S.A.
After fourteen years of self-imposed exile in Antigua, Ware returns to face the music.
The names World Sports Exchange and Jay Cohen evoked thoughts of a blast from the past among online gambling industry veterans this week as the news broke in the New York Times that Haden Ware, the indicted co-founder of the now long-shuttered online sportsbook World Sports Exchange, has returned to the United States after fourteen years of self-imposed exile on Antigua.
In the pioneering days of online gambling, young entrepreneurs Ware, Jay Cohen and Steve Schillinger set up WSEX on Antigua and started making money from the mainly US sports betting market.
Inevitably, they came to the notice of US federal authorities, and in the latter part of the ‘nineties indictments were issued against the trio, who played it safe by remaining out of reach on Antigua.
In 2000 Cohen decided to challenge the indictment and returned to the States to face his accusers with much publicity and confidence. That didn’t end well for him with the imposition of a 17-month prison sentence and probably persuaded his colleagues to remain on Antigua.
The prison vacation did not appear to discourage Cohen, who resumed his WSEX activities offshore when he was released. However the glory days were gone and WSEX became the subject of slow-pay player complaints, leading to its demise in late 2013 and the alleged suicide of co-founder and fellow exile Schillinger.
Cohen dropped out of sight and his present whereabouts are unknown, but Ware reportedly remained on Antigua until this year, when he decided to turn himself in and returned to the United States Wednesday.
On the following day the now forty years old Ware appeared in a Manhattan federal court and entered a guilty plea in respect of the historical illegal gambling charges against him. Judge James C. Francis accepted the plea and released Ware on $150,000 bail pending sentencing on May 9.
The New York Times reports his plea bargain involves a prison sentence of under a year, but notes that his legal representatives are hoping to secure a non-custodial punishment.