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RIP Brian
Feb 22, 2001

Lawyer forbidden by BetonSports to appear

The US government case against besieged betting group BetonSports took a serious turn Friday when Jeffrey Demerath, an attorney representing the company, did not pitch up at the arraignment hearing where BoS was to face charges under US gambling laws.

The apparent disregard for the authority of the court could open the UK gambling group to criminal sanctions.

Demerath had earlier messaged government officials that he had been instructed by his client not to appear in the St. Louis court reports the Bloomberg business news service.

Official reaction was immediate, with Michael Fagan, a lawyer for the prosecution telling Magistrate Judge Mary Ann Medler that he will ask next week that Betonsports be ordered to show why it shouldn't be punished.

"If they don't show up, they can be held in contempt of court and fined for every day they don't show up,'' said James Montana, a former federal prosecutor not involved in the case.

"I hope Mr. Demerath can talk sense to his client so we can work something out,'' Fagan, an assistant U.S. attorney, said in court.

Demerath confirmed in an interview that his client had instructed him not to appear. He declined to comment further.

A judge might order London-based Betonsports tried in absentia if it continues to avoid court, giving the company no chance to defend itself, and the company might be fined for violating laws against electronic betting across state lines, Montana said.

"They [BetonSports] seem to be putting themselves at risk,'' said Montana, of Vedder Price Kaufman & Kammholz in Chicago.

A 22-count indictment unsealed July 17 charged the company, its founder Gary Kaplan, former Chief Executive Officer David Carruthers and others with racketeering and demanded the forfeiture of $4.5 billion. Seven individual co-defendants, including Carruthers, pleaded not guilty. Carruthers, arrested as he changed planes at a Dallas area airport, has been under house arrest in St. Louis since Aug. 16 when he posted a $1 million bond. Kaplan and two other defendants are at large.

Betonsports signed an agreement in November consenting to the company's court-ordered ban from the U.S. market.

Carruthers, Kaplan's brother and sister and four people whose Miami direct-mail marketing business did work for Betonsports pleaded not guilty in a July court appearance before U.S. District Judge Carol E. Jackson in St. Louis.

The individual defendants asked Jackson to throw out the criminal case, arguing the indictment violates a World Trade Organisation treaty.

"The cross-border supply of gambling and betting services'' from Betonsports offices in Costa Rica is a service "which the United States committed to not prohibit'' when it joined the WTO, attorney Alan Ross said in court papers. Ross represents William Hernan Lenis, a direct-mail marketer.

The company maintained offices in Costa Rica and Antigua. In 2005, the World Trade Organisation ruled U.S. laws criminalising Internet-based remote-access gambling violated WTO treaty obligations, Ross, of the Miami law firm Robbins, Tunkey, Ross, Amsel, Raben & Waxman, said in court papers.

Prosecutors haven't filed papers opposing that motion.

Betonsports suspended trading of its shares on the London Stock Exchange a day after the indictment was unsealed. It fired Carruthers days later.

The company took in wagers in 2004 totaling $1.25 billion, 98 percent of which was sports bets placed by U.S. gamblers using Betonsports' Web sites and U.S. phone lines, Jackson said in an order making its U.S. ban permanent.

The order ended the government's civil (but not criminal) case against the company, filed the day the indictment was unsealed.

Betonsports has received nearly 5 000 requests for refunds, says Bloombergs. Demerath last week said the company will comply with Jackson's order that they be repaid, but revealed that an Antiguan court order over the companys assets was delaying payment (see previous InfoPowa reports).

The criminal case is U.S. v. Betonsports, 06-cr-337, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri (St. Louis).
Difficult to say, and you'll note that their (U.S.) lawyer refused to comment further on his instructions not to appear for the arraignment.

That indicates to me that he doesn't want to be dragged in to the consequences of their actions, and doesn't want to be caught out lying or exacerbating the situation so has just refused to comment to the media.

If the prosecution is successful in getting a court ruling that BoS explain their instructions to their US legal counsel not to appear, and they ignore that then things could get quite nasty, I believe - don't forget the US's "special relationship" extradition deal with the UK government; they might even try that route.

My own opinion is that they may be about to try the "You have no jurisdiction over us, therefore we don't recognise your charges" approach. I would have thought that was difficult to justify, given the fact that BoS has recognised the US Court's authority in the civil case (ie closing off US facing sites and agreeing to return deposits to US players)

I'd be surprised if Mr. Demerath was not in the picture on BoS's overall strategy.
Well, lawyers are known to drop their clients when the client takes action the lawyer considers harmful to the case. Happens all the time. Didn't happen (yet) here.

So Mr. Demerath can be assumed to be in agreement with the strategy...
What happened to the BetonSports database?


Non appearance for arraignment strongly criticised

Betonsports Plc, the British Internet sports book, should be cited for contempt of court after failing to appear for a scheduled arraignment in St. Louis federal court on January 5, federal prosecutors said this week.

Bloombergs business news reports that the London-based company was indicted last summer for violating U.S. interstate wire gambling laws and racketeering offences. Last week (see previous InfoPowa reports), Jeffrey Demerath, an attorney for the once-publicly traded company, told U.S. District Judge Carol Jackson in St. Louis that his clients had instructed him not to appear to answer the charges.

Betonsports' decision "suggests that corporate management is neither in a coma nor dead but, instead, contemptuous and defiant,'' prosecutor Michael Fagan said this week in court papers.

The London-based company took in wagers in 2004 totaling $1.25 billion, 98 percent of which were sports bets placed by U.S. gamblers using Betonsports' Web sites and U.S. phone lines, Jackson found in a previous ruling.

Company founder Gary Kaplan and now-former Chief Executive Officer David Carruthers were indicted on gambling and racketeering charges, along with nine other defendants. Prosecutors are seeking the forfeiture of $4.5 billion.

Carruthers and six other defendants appeared in court July 31 to plead not guilty. Kaplan and two other defendants are still at large.

Demerath didn't return a Bloomsberg call seeking comment. In November, he was one of two corporate attorneys who signed a consent agreement with federal prosecutors, paving the way for Jackson to issue an order permanently banning Betonsports from doing business in the U.S.

At that time Fagan and co-counsel Marty Woelfle asked Jackson to impose fines on the company or order that its officers and directors be arrested for their "willful disregard'' of the court's processes and proceedings.

Meanwhile, media reports claim that thousands of angry customers have been calling the prosecution's offices throughout the December holidays demanding to know why they have yet to be paid.

The information portal Gambling911 published a story that revealed that some customers who have been in contact are owed upwards of $35 000. The site also reported that one of the main board directors, Operations Manager Clive Archer, fled Costa Rica and is yet to return, and quotes an unidentified former employee as saying: "He took with him all the server information and customer details."
I still have friends that are yet to be paid out from this people , and by friends I mean employees.

If the arent even paying the people that work for them do YOU really think they are going to pay the players??

Mvpbets which is owned by betonsports own me money that I had in my account. How should I go about this to get my money.
The picture looks pretty grim, but Antigua (the licensing jurisdiction) is making a big deal out of this and has frozen the local assets of BetonSports, claiming they are looking out for the interests of the players.

I suspect they have another motive, but as long as they get you paid.....

I would submit a complaint to their director of gaming, Kaye MacDonald who's email is:

Kaye MacDonald
Antigua Gaming Authority
Phone: (268) 481 3300
You could also try iBAS if you made a sports bet.
IMO it's the US government's fault. Shutting down a business in the middle of operations involving foreign jurisdictions. They should have consulted with Antigua and made arrangements before deciding to cut off the flow of money owed to it's own US citizens.

And that would be the point Antigua is making.

Who is screwed? The player.

Does the US government care? No. They figure it will have a chilling effect on players.

The site also reported that one of the main board directors, Operations Manager Clive Archer, fled Costa Rica and is yet to return, and quotes an unidentified former employee as saying: "He took with him all the server information and customer details."

I am certainly glad that BOS didn't have copies of my bank statement, credit card, government issued ID card, phone bill, utility bill, fingerprints, cornea / retina scan, and a copy of my butt, in BOS files - when Operations Manager Clive Archer, fled Costa Rica.

Mr. Archer could possibly be selling that photocopy of my butt to internet porn sites the world over. ;)
Well, at least he would have my bank account / NETeller info. to EFT my cut of the profits to.

NG plea entered for BoS

Betonsports "Not Guilty" Plea entered into record by U.S. judge, with a February 2nd deadline

As we went to press this week news was coming in that Betonsports Plc., the British Internet bookmaker facing charges in St. Louis, Missouri, had a "not guilty'' plea entered for it by a federal judge five days after the company told its lawyer to skip an arraignment on illegal interstate wire gambling charges.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Ann Medler in St. Louis federal court entered the plea for Betonsports on Wednesday, according to court records. Her ruling subjects the company to the court's February 2 deadline for filing any pre-trial motions.

"There may be some rulings made along the way and some rights compromised,'' as a result of Medler's order, a Manhattan defense attorney who has worked on Internet gambling cases opined. "The company cannot be tried in absentia.''

The St. Louis U.S. Attorney's office did not respond to voicemail or e-mail messages seeking comment.

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