More US internet gambling busts


RIP Brian
Feb 22, 2001

Search warrants and arrests in Senator Kyl's home state as Costa Rican online betting site agents are prosecuted

Reports coming in from Phoenix, Arizona indicate that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office served 44 search warrants on Tuesday in the culmination of a two-year-long undercover operation targeting an international gambling ring based in Phoenix but using Internet betting sites.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio told KPHO that "Operation High Stakes," had involved undercover deputies who successfully penetrated four separate but loosely connected groups working out of various homes and businesses in the Valley that used unidentified Internet-based betting sites to take illegal gambling bets online or via toll free telephone numbers.

Arpaio said that while most bets were made online through Costa Rica-based betting sites, the payouts and collections occurred in local Phoenix bars and restaurants throughout the Valley.

"Millions of dollars were being collected, sometimes extorted from people here who placed bets through these illegal gambling operations," Arpaio said. "If someone couldn't pay their debts, interest rates as high as 51 percent were levied."

Arpaio said that large amounts of cocaine were also flowing through the gambling syndicates. "Some people were even forced to give up their homes and their retirements to pay off the organizations' loan sharks," Arpaio said.

In a news conference, Arpaio told reporters that 44 search warrants were simultaneously executed Tuesday morning, including a number of private residences, businesses and even private vaults. At the same time, search warrants were being actioned in Las Vegas and Los Angeles he revealed.

The investigation, conducted with the assistance of Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard's Office, will freeze 120 local bank accounts, as well as place racketeering liens on several homes and businesses. 40 suspects who were responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organisations, including bookies, collectors, loan sharks and Web site owners, have been identified.

Without giving any specific details, the Sheriff told reporters that numerous arrests have been made and more are anticipated. Hundreds of Arizona bettors had also been identified, presumably from confiscated records of the gambling ring, and these would likely be contacted, the enforcement officer advised.
and that's a really bad place to do time. that crazy sheriff has the inmates wear pink jump-suits and live in giant tent barracks in the desert heat. he also brags about feeding them for under $1 a day.
Man, if these guys were just placing the bets through a regular internet sportsbook, but taking on money collection and loan sharking, that would make them even bigger sleaze than regular bookies.
Nothing surprising here - taking sports bets over the telephone is illegal - has been for ages. The internet is peripheral and has nothing to do with it. Just suits the DOJ to make it look like it's a main factor.
...interest rates as high as 51 percent were levied.

Now that is funny bit of propaganda... Any one of the 'legal' loansharks (Car Title loans and payday loans) legally charge over 1200% interest in AZ... And no one says a word about that...

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