Friday January 31,2014 : VIRGINIA PROSECUTIONS FOR ONLINE GAMBLING
Busted internet sports betting ring took $5 million in wagers, prosecutors allege.
Prosecutors in Roanoke, Virginia are working up a case against at least nine people alleged to have operated an online sports betting ring that took over $5 million in wagers before it was shut down mid-2013 by federal law enforcement officials.
The Roanoke Times reports that the nine defendants include a local restaurant owner, and are suspected of operating a now defunct website titled Playweewa.com.
Two men, including the Central American creator of the website, appeared in a Roanoke federal court briefly this week to enter guilty pleas, with prosecutors revealing that they had agreed to forfeit large sums of cash.
Max Alexander Krinberg, a 42-year-old programmer in San Jose, Costa Rica pleaded guilty to the federal felony of running a gambling business that violated Virginia state laws.
Evidence was led that Krinberg built and ran the illegal sports betting website, while George Raymond Frederick of North Carolina, who also pleaded guilty, was described as belonging to a group of bookmakers in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Texas and Massachusetts dubbed “the Roanoke Sports Book Organization” which managed bettors.
Prosecutors recommended that Krinberg and Frederick each receive a sentence of probation but forfeit cash: $100,000 by Krinberg and $43,000 by Frederick, according to court papers.
Seven others, including the restaurant owner, await the conclusion of the federal investigation and have yet to be charged. Prosecutors declined to comment on their situation.
Court documents suggest that a local restaurant owner teamed with a programmer in Central America to establish a web-based gambling franchise that took bets and declared winners and losers for three and a half years before being shut down in April 2013.
Krinberg and Frederick agreed with evidence that the former was paid $22,000 a year plus 10 percent of losing bets for the site, which accepted bets on college and professional games in football, baseball, basketball, golf and NASCAR.
Bettors were granted credit, but were subject to single bet limits, based on their finances and trustworthiness.
Court documents reveal that during the investigation, authorities used confidential informants and undercover police officers to place bets and glean information about the enterprise, with officials seizing large amounts of money when the enterprise was shuttered.
The site took in an average of $5 million a year during its existence, with its final year recording $6.4 million in wagers.