October 1, 2009 (CAP Newswire) — Just a few days before he was scheduled to be sentenced by the U.S. government, British online gambling exec David Carruthers of Betonsports fame has withdrawn the guilty plea he made months ago, surprising supporters and prosecutors alike.
Carruthers had raised eyebrows in April this year when he agreed to plea guilty to the United States’ racketeering charges for an alleged breach of internet gaming restrictions. He had been serving house arrest in the state of Missouri after being arrested in Dallas back in 2006 while changing planes during a trip from the U.K. to Costa Rica (where Betonsports was formally based).
His guilty plea had come shortly after the guilty pleas of other associates (and family members) also involved in Betonsports and charged with criminal activity under U.S. law.
So why the plea change? According to the Guardian UK, that’s unclear. “Neither Carruthers nor his lawyer, Scott Rosenblum, responded to requests for comment. A spokeswoman for the US attorney's office in St Louis said prosecutors would not discuss the case. Several other Betonsports executives are still pleading guilty, including the company's founder, Gary Kaplan.”
In a brief legal filing the U.S. court stated that "the motion to set aside defendant David Carruthers's guilty plea is granted". A "change of plea" hearing is now scheduled for October 14th.
“The development will come as a surprise to Carruthers's supporters who had hoped that he would be allowed to return home on Friday,” continues the Guardian article. “His lawyers were expected to argue that the 52-year-old businessman has effectively served his agreed sentence of 33 months through his hotel confinement on $1m bail since August 2006.”