Individuals, Four Corporations Indicted on Racketeering, Conspiracy and Fraud Charges

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BetonSports PLC, a publicly traded holding company that owns several Internet sportsbooks and casinos, was among 11 individuals and four companies charged in a federal grand jury indictment.

The Eastern District of Missouri returned a 22-count indictment charging the group on various charges of racketeering, conspiracy and fraud, the Department of Justice said. The indictment was returned on June 1 and unsealed on July 17.

The founder of BetonSports.com, Gary Stephen Kaplan, was charged with 20 felony violations of federal laws including: the Wire Act, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Conspiracy, interstate transportation of gambling paraphernalia, interference with the administration of Internal Revenue laws and tax evasion, the DOJ said.

Other defendants in the racketeering conspiracy include: Kaplan's siblings, Neil Scott Kaplan and Lori Kaplan Multz; Norman Steinberg; David Carruthers, chief executive officer of BetonSports.com; Peter Wilson, media director for BetonSports.com; and Tim Brown, Steinberg's son-in-law. The three other charged companies, all Florida-based, were Direct Mail Expertise Inc., DME Global Marketing and Fulfillment Inc. and Mobile Promotions Inc. Also charged are William Hernan Lenis; Monica Lenis and Manny Gustavo Lenis, owners and operators of the Florida companies; and William Hernan Lenis' son, William Luis Lenis.

The indictment alleges that Gary Kaplan started his gambling enterprise via operation of a sports book in New York City in the early 1990s. After Kaplan was arrested on New York state gambling charges in May 1993, Kaplan moved his betting operation to Florida and eventually offshore to Costa Rica. According to the indictment, BetonSports.com, the most visible outgrowth of Kaplan's sports bookmaking enterprise, misleadingly advertised itself as the "World's Largest Legal and Licensed Sportsbook." The indictment also alleges that Kaplan failed to pay federal wagering excise taxes on more than $3.3 billion in wagers taken from the United States and seeks forfeiture of $4.5 billion from Kaplan and his co-defendants, as well as various properties.

The indictment also alleges that Gary Kaplan and Norman Steinberg, as the owners and operators of Millennium Sportsbook, Gibraltar Sportsbook, and North American Sports Association, took or caused their employees to take bets from undercover federal agents in St. Louis who used undercover identities to open wagering accounts.

Finally, the indictment alleges that Kaplan and Mobile Promotions illegally transported equipment used to place bets and transmit wagering information across state lines and that DME Global Marketing and Fulfillment shipped equipment to Costa Rica from Florida for BetonSports.com.

The DOJ alleges that the defendants agreed to conduct an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering acts, including repeated mail fraud, wire fraud, operation of an illegal gambling business and money laundering.

In conjunction with the indictment, the United States has filed a civil complaint in federal court to obtain an order requiring BetonSports PLC to stop taking sports bets from the United States and to return money held in wagering accounts to account holders in the United States. U.S. District Judge Catherine D. Perry issued the temporary restraining order today. A hearing in the civil case has been requested within 10 days. As authorized by federal statute, the FBI is issuing letters to four telephone companies, instructing them to stop providing phone service to the Internet sports books and casinos operated by BetonSports PLC.

The charges are the result of a joint investigation by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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