Friday October 26,2012 : UPDATE ON PINNACLE SPORTS BUSTS
25 arrests across the USA include three men alleged to have Pinnacle Sports ownership interests
The arrests of 25 Americans across 5 different states on Wednesday on allegations associated with illegal sports betting were further detailed in widespread US media reports Thursday.
It has been claimed that three men among those arrested, Brandt England of Las Vegas; George Molsbarger of Santa Monica, California; and Stanley Tomchin of Montecito, California have ownership interests in the offshore online sports book Pinnacle Sports.
The trio were charged with enterprise corruption, money laundering and conspiracy, with England additionally charged with promoting gambling.
Federal prosecutors claimed that all those arrested were part of World Wide Wagers, which allegedly accepted bets on horse races, pro and college football, basketball, hockey and baseball. The betting ring had customers across the globe and took tens of millions of dollars from punters in the United States, it is claimed.
Those involved were the subjects of a broad investigation targeting bookmakers and money couriers connected to Internet and phone gambling, enforcement authorities said.
England's legal representative said the charges would be vigorously contested in the courts.
Pinnacle Sports also appeared to deny involvement, issuing a statement that claimed:
“Regarding the recent allegations surrounding the individuals allegedly affiliated with Pinnacle Sports, please be reassured that no Pinnacle Sports employees have been arrested or charged, and Pinnacle Sports itself was not charged in the indictment.” The company said that its [offshore] activities continued uninterrupted.
The probe was led by investigators from the New York Police Department, but multiple state, municipal and federal law enforcement agencies were involved, and arrests took place in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Nevada and California, enforcement officials revealed at a press conference Thursday.
The Queens district attorney’s office alleged that in one 18-month period alone the gambling operation took in $50 million in profit while using computer servers in gambling-friendly countries and complex financial structures to try to hide dealings with U.S. gamblers. Couriers were used to transport cash profits to and from countries like Panama and Costa Rica, they claimed.