June 24, 2009 (CAP Newswire) — In a move that may have larger implications in the ongoing battle to fully legalize and regulate the online gambling industry in the U.S., three former executives of online betting company BetonSports plc (BetonSports.com) have pled guilty to U.S. federal racketeering charges, the Associated Press is reporting today.
A British company currently based in Costa Rica, BetonSports was one of the companies targeted by authorities for violating the United States’ online gambling laws. At its prime, it was among the largest online gambling sites, taking in almost $2 billion in bets each year.
The U.S. is charging that BetonSports falsely advertised to U.S. citizens that its services were fully legal. The U.S. also charges that the company misled gamblers into believing that the money they submitted to the company for gambling could be withdrawn at any time, when that money was actually being invested in an aggressive expansion of the company’s operations. “When BetOnSports ceased operation in 2006, customers lost more than $16 million,” writes Jim Salter in the AP article.
“Company founder Gary Kaplan's brother and sister — Neil Scott Kaplan, 43, and Lori Beth Kaplan-Multz, 48 — and former personal assistant, Penelope Ann Tucker, 64, pleaded guilty Monday to racketeering charges in U.S. District Court in St. Louis,” Salter continues.
Under the terms of the plea, all three have agreed to forfeit money they currently hold in Swiss Bank accounts, which is thought to amount to millions of dollars. The three will be formally sentenced on September 15; jail time is not expected.
Neil Kaplan and Kaplan-Multz both placed ads for BetOnSports. Tucker told the judge she helped Gary Kaplan with banking and payment operations.
Founder Gary Kaplan had already been indicted by the U.S. in 2007. He is currently being held in a jail in Missouri, awaiting a trial date scheduled for September.