Texas authorities have spent the past 10 years investigation an illegal gambling operation that spanned several continents. In the end, the authorities busted the major players in the multibillion operation.
Albert Reed Jr. was the mastermind behind the gambling operation that brought in upwards of $1 million in a single bet. Overall, the operation is said to have processed more than $1 billion in bets from states all across the US.
“Six or seven figures,” said US Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, John Bales, when speaking about the amount of money being placed on single wagers. “…obviously we are in the big time here.”
The bust, which was made in North Texas, brought in 18 defendants. All of the defendants pleaded guilty to the various gambling-related charges, yet only one, Reed Jr., will spend any time behind bars. Reed Jr. received a sentence of one year and a day, while the other 17 people convicted received various forms of probation or house arrest.
“They are receiving what I would consider lenient sentences,” said Bates. “But sentencing guidelines for a gambling case are quite low and actually provide for first time offenders to get probation.”
In many cases where gambling is involved, prosecutors go after larger charges such as money laundering, but in this case, most of the defendants pleaded out to charges of prohibition of illegal gambling business.
Several of the defendants are still awaiting their sentences, but none are expected to get jail time.
The investigation began back in 2006 when an anonymous letter was written to authorities, alerting them of the gambling operation. Investigators and undercover agents then began infiltrating the operation, learning that hundreds of people were being used as agents for the betting scheme.
The bets were placed on the Internet, through a site that was operated out of Curacao. Gambling is legal in Curacao, however, the operation became illegal when funds were being transferred in the US, where sports betting is illegal outside of Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada.