United States Attorney
Southern District of New York
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEA5E
March 26, 1998
U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
MARVIN SMILON, HERBERT HADAD (212) 791—1937
THOMAS C. RUBIN (212) 792-1976
DANIEL C. BECKER (212) 791—1321
JOSEPH V. De MARCO (212) 791—1978
MARY JO WHITE, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and LEWIS D. SCHILIRO, Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Office of the FBI, announced today that seven additional owners, managers and employees of five Internet sports betting companies headquartered in the Caribbean have been charged in Manhattan federal court with conspiracy to transmit bets and wagers on sporting events via the Internet and telephones. These cases are in addition to charges filed against 14 owners and managers of six such companies earlier this month, which were the first federal prosecutions of sports betting over the Internet.
The five separate Complaints charge the defendants, all of whom are United States citizens, with owning and/or operating sports betting businesses that illegally accept wagers on sporting events over the Internet and telephones. All of the companies advertise and promote their sports betting operations to United States customers on web sites on the Internet, according to the Complaints.
According to Complaints, Worlds Sports Exchange and Galaxy Sports have continued to operate sports betting operations in violation of United States law following the arrests of owners and managers of those companies earlier this month. When an undercover agent posing as a better called World Sports Exchange, he spoke to a man identified as SPENCER HANSON, who refused to give his last name, and told the agent that he sounded like a "federal agent," it was charged.
In addition, owners or employees of three other sports betting operations, Global Sports Network (Dominican Republic), Grand Holiday Casino (Curacao) and World Wide Tele-sports (Antigua) have been charged. LAURENCE R. STOFAN, the owner of Global Sports Network, operated his business out of Cliffside Park, New Jersey.
Ms. WHITE stated: "Offshore sports betting operators who use the telephones, Internet, or other forms of wire communications to solicit bettors from the United States are acting in violation of federal law. We will continue to monitor and vigorously prosecute offshore sports betting operations that engage in this blatantly illegal activity."
Out of the 14 defendants named in the arrest warrants unsealed on March 4, 1994, 11 have been arrested or surrendered. The remaining three, Steve Shillinger, Gene O'Brien and Brian Janus, remain fugitives.
All the defendants are being notified that warrants have been issued for their arrests, and they will be placed in custody upon their return to the United States.
Each of the defendants faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Assistant United States Attorneys THOMAS C. RUBIN, DANIEL C. BECKER and JOSEPH V. De MARCO are in charge of the prosecution.
Ms. WHITE praised the efforts of the FBI, including its Computer Crimes Squad, for its investigation of this case. The investigation is continuing.
The charges contained in the Complaints are accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.