|According to The Washington Post newspaper, authorities in America have arrested eight people involved in a Costa Rica-based online sports gambling operation.|
The arrests were made in the states of New York, Massachusetts and Maryland by the organised crime unit of the US Attorney’s Office on a warrant issued by the US Attorney for the Southern District Of New York. Prosecutors allege that the sportsbetting websites operated by the ring brought in millions of dollars every year from hundreds of bookies since at least 2005.
It is alleged that Carmen ‘Buddy’ Cicalese headed an operation based in Costa Rica that charged several hundred American bookies weekly fees of $15 to $30 for each gambler they registered. Also arrested were Patrick Cicalese and Francis ‘Butch’ Pugliese who have pleaded not guilty to charges that include gambling and conspiracy.
Also named in the indictment are Louis ‘Lou The Shoe’ Santos, Marc ‘Box’ Group and Carl ‘Sheepshead’ Muraco. Reports suggest that prosecutor have taped conversations of the men talking about payments of bets being made online in addition to claims that the ring used a Pakistan-based cash processor to transfer money between the United States and offshore accounts.
In total, twelve men are named in an indictment and face charges in Manhattan Federal Court including conspiracy and illegal gambling.
It is alleged that the men ran a call centre and sportsbetting websites that serviced US-based bookies. Bookmakers would contact the call centre to make bets or arrange them through websites including DataWager.com and BetWestSports.com.
While the operation set the odds for the bets, payouts were left to the bookies with US-based ‘runners’ collecting fees and transferring money to Costa Rica through couriers, credit cards and electronic bank transfers.