Government breaks up $2.5 billion gambling ring

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WASHINGTON (AP) – The government dismantled a $2.5 billion offshore Internet gambling operation, the Justice Department said Wednesday, charging two fugitives and their companies with laundering gambling proceeds from Internet casino games and sporting events.

A newly unsealed 12-count indictment filed April 7 accuses William Scott and Jessica Davis of illegally enticing gamblers to send funds from the United States to the Caribbean island of Antigua for wagers over the past eight years.

Gamblers placed the bets by toll-free telephone numbers and through Internet sites run by WorldWide Telesports Inc.

The indictment alleges the defendants violated the Wire and Travel Acts and engaged in a money laundering conspiracy.

Scott is charged with failing to report foreign bank accounts to the Internal Revenue Service.

The indictment says Scott used a shell company called Soulbury Limited to hide personal profits.

The U.S. government obtained the assistance of the government of the independent state of Guernsey off the coast of France to locate $7 million in gambling proceeds, the department said.

The indictment says the defendants obtained $2.5 billion in unlawful proceeds from telephone and internet gambling.

The government is seeking $250 million through forfeiture in hopes it can collect the fees kept by the defendants.

Scott and Davis were charged in a 1998 criminal complaint in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, stemming from an FBI investigation into alleged wire act violations for operating WorldWide Telesports.

AP-ES-05-17-06 1741EDT


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