Thursday, November 16, 2006

They shoulda stuck to gas contracts

Unlike the guys betting on gas contracts, these guys were hedging unfavourable outcomes from certain sporting positions.

New York authorities bring down huge gambling ring, arrest poker player
The scheme involved placing sports bets through bookies, who would assign bettors a secret code to track their wagers and monitor point spreads and results through the restricted website. The bets were taken on all kinds of sports, including football, baseball, basketball, hockey, car racing and golf.

The defendants allegedly laundered and stashed away "untold millions of US dollars" using shell corporations and bank accounts in Central America, the Caribbean, Switzerland, Hong Kong and elsewhere [shock, horror], Brown said. The prosecutor called the $500 million (euro391 million) asset forfeiture case "among the largest such cases ever filed."

A total of 27 people in New York, New Jersey, Florida and Nevada were charged with enterprise corruption, money laundering, promoting gambling and other counts. [There were no charges of impersonating a merchant banker, according to a close reading of the report.]

Charges also were brought against three companies that allegedly helped Giordano develop and secure the website: Primary Development Inc. of Farmingdale, New York, Prolexic Technologies Inc. of Hollywood, Florida, and Digital Networks, S.A., Inc. of Davie, Florida.

[No bankers, lawyers, accountants, investment advisors or consultants were named in this report.]

More than two dozen people, including a former professional baseball scout and a high-stakes poker player, were charged in connection with a $1 billion (euro780 million)-a-year gambling ring that rivaled casino sports books.

The massive illegal betting scheme was orchestrated through a site called Playwithal.com, run by the poker player, James Giordano, 52, of Pine Crest, Florida, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Wednesday.

A break in the case came last year when New York Police Department investigators secretly hacked into a laptop computer that Giordano had left in a suburban New York City hotel while attending a wedding, police said. He was arrested early Wednesday by FBI agents who had to scale the walls of his fortess-like Florida compound.

Also arrested was Frank Falzarano, 52, of Seaford, on Long Island, a one-time scout for professional baseball teams the Washington Nationals and for the San Francisco Giants. He allegedly was a top earner in a network of 2,000 bookies who took more than $3.3 billion (euro2.6 billion) in cash wagers since 2004 from tens of thousands of customers nationwide.

"This is the largest illegal gambling operation we have ever encountered," Kelly said at a news conference. "It rivals casinos for the amount of betting." [But not LBOs or Private Equity.]

Though the gambling ring relied on a website, it was different from the online betting operations targeted by recent federal legislation, said Deputy Inspector Brian O'Neill, who supervised the investigation.

The scheme involved placing sports bets through bookies [brokers?], who would assign bettors [investors?] a secret code to track their wagers and monitor point spreads and results through the restricted website. The bets were taken on all kinds of sports, including football, baseball, basketball, hockey, car racing and golf. [They were working on bets on weather, creditworthiness, mad cow disease and mortality rates when caught.]

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