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25 People Indicted for Involvement in Illegal Sports Betting Enterprise

Twenty-five people, including the three owners of online sports betting site PinnacleSports.com, have been indicted on charges of operating an illegal sports betting ring in multiple jurisdictions in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Nevada and California.

According to a press release issued by the district attorney in Queens County, N.Y., an 18-month investigation resulted in the arrests and seizure of real property and more than $7.6 million in cash and gambling chips across the country. The press release says that the operation involves 15 defendants involved with illegal bookmaking, and ten defendants who acted as agents, money collectors or banks.

According to the indictment, between April 13, 2011 and Oct. 18, 2012, the defendants conspired to acquire money illegally through the operation of an unlawful gambling enterprise involving the use of Internet web sites that accepted bets on sporting events. The operation, dubbed World Wide Wagers, is accused of illegally accepting more than $50 million in a year and a half, according to District Attorney Richard A. Brown of Queens County.

The indictment also alleges that the ring used nontraditional “wire rooms” in the form of off-shore, Internet-based gambling services – such as www.pinnaclesports.com, used by bettors and agents to actually place their wagers. Pinnacle Sports owners Stanley Tomchin, Brandt England and George Molsbarger were all included in the indictment.

“Illegal gambling is not a victimless crime," Brown said in the press release. "Those who participate in these criminal enterprises often use threats, intimidation and even physical force to collect debts and oftentimes charge usurious interest rates on outstanding debts. In addition to our NYPD and FBI partners, I want to thank our other law enforcement and governmental colleagues and authorities in other states for their cooperation and efforts in this investigation. So massive was the enterprise that only with their assistance could we bring these defendants to justice.”

The Nevada Gaming Control Board issued a press release Thursday which uncovered a joint investigation with the NYPD that led to multiple arrests on Wednesday, including eight in Las Vegas. Among them was Mike Colbert, the sports book director for Cantor Gaming and manager of the M Resort's race and sports book in Las Vegas. He faces eight counts of conspiracy, money laundering, and enterprise corruption.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Nevada Gaming Control Board will also be investigating Cantor Gaming for possible regulatory violations.

Charges as outlined by the press release from the Queens District Attorney:

DefendantAlleged JobCharges
Vincent Basciano JrBookmakerEnterprise Corruption, 1st-degree Money Laundering, 1st-degree Promoting Gambling, 5th-degree Conspiracy
George MolsbargerBookmakerEnterprise Corruption, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-degree Money Laundering, 5th-degree Conspiracy
Joseph PaulkBookmakerEnterprise Corruption, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-degree Money Laundering, 5th-degree Conspiracy
Jerald BrancaBookmakerEnterprise Corruption, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-degree Money Laundering, 5th-degree Conspiracy
Steven DianoBookmakerEnterprise Corruption, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-degree Money Laundering, 5th-degree Conspiracy
Daniel MonrealBookmakerEnterprise Corruption, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-degree Money Laundering, 1st-degree Promoting Gambling, 5th-degree Conspiracy
John TogninoBookmakerEnterprise Corruption, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-degree Money Laundering, 1st-degree Promoting Gambling, 5th-degree Conspiracy
Stanley TomchinBookmakerEnterprise Corruption, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-degree Money Laundering, 5th-degree Conspiracy
Andrew BelardinoBookmakerEnterprise Corruption, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-degree Money Laundering, 1st-degree Promoting Gambling, 5th-degree Conspiracy
Thomas LacerraBookmakerEnterprise Corruption, 1st, 3rd, and 4th-degree Money Laundering, 5th-degree Conspiracy
Gadoon KyrollosBookmakerEnterprise Corruption, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-degree Money Laundering, 1st-degree Promoting Gambling, 4th and 5th-degree Conspiracy
Michael DuongBookmakerEnterprise Corruption, 1st and 2nd-degree Money Laundering, 1st-degree Promoting Gambling, 5th-degree Conspiracy
Brandt EnglandBookmakerEnterprise Corruption, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-degree Money Laundering, 1st-degree Promoting Gambling, 4th and 5th-degree Conspiracy
Edward IazzettiBookmakerEnterprise Corruption, 1st and 4th-degree Money Laundering, 1st-degree Promoting Gambling, 5th-degree Conspiracy
Kelly BarselBookmakerEnterprise Corruption; 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-degree Money Laundering, 5th degree Conspiracy
Paul SextonMoney Collector/Distributor/BankEnterprise Corruption, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-degree Money Laundering, 5th degree Conspiracy
Daniel BornicoMoney Collector/Distributor/BankEnterprise Corruption, 1st, 3rd, and 4th-degree Money Laundering, 1st-degree Promoting Gambling, 5th-degree Conspiracy
Daniel BelardinoMoney Collector/Distributor/BankEnterprise Corruption, 1st and 4th-degree Money Laundering, 1st-degree Promoting Gambling, 5th-degree Conspiracy
Christian RodriguezMoney Collector/Distributor/BankEnterprise Corruption, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-degree Money Laundering, 5th-degree Conspiracy
Flora WuCollector/Distributor/BankEnterprise Corruption, 1st, 3rd, and 4th-degree Money Laundering, 5th degree Conspiracy
Joseph KornreichMoney Collector/AgentEnterprise Corruption, 1st and 3rd-degree Money Laundering, 1st-degree Promoting Gambling, 5th-degree Conspiracy
Edward CappucciMoney Collector/AgentEnterprise Corruption, 1st, 3rd, and 4th-degree Money Laundering, 5th degree Conspiracy
Thomas ChianteseMoney Collector/AgentEnterprise Corruption, 1st and 3rd-degree Money Laundering, 1st-degree Promoting Gambling, 5th-degree Conspiracy
Ian MandelMoney Collector/AgentEnterprise Corruption, 1st, 3rd, and 4th-degree Money Laundering, 5th degree Conspiracy
Michael ColbertMoney Collector/AgentEnterprise Corruption, 1st, 3rd, and 4th-degree Money Laundering, 5th degree Conspiracy

Update Oct. 25 14:10 PDT -- PokerNews received the following statement from Pinnacle Sports: "Regarding the recent allegations surrounding the individuals allegedly affiliated with Pinnacle Sports, please be reassured that no Pinnacle Sports employees have been arrested or charged, and Pinnacle Sports itself was not charged in the indictment. We expect no interruptions to our day to day business activities at this time, and will continue to provide our clients the excellent value and service Pinnacle Sports has been known for."

Update Oct. 26 08:15 PDT -- André Wilsenach, the executive director of the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC), released a statement Friday regarding the accusations against PinnacleSports.com, which is licensed by the AGCC:

The Alderney Gambling Control Commission notes reports that charges of illegal gambling activity have been commenced in the United States of America against individuals connected with Pinnacle Sports and pinnaclesports.com. AGCC licenses Pinnacle Sports Europe Limited, a Category 1 eGambling licensee solely accepting wagers from customers based in the United Kingdom, which commenced operations in May 2012.

As there is an association between Pinnacle Sports and Pinnacle Sports Europe Limited, AGCC has today commenced a Special Investigation into Pinnacle Sports Europe Limited to ensure that the licensee is operating in accordance with approved operating procedures.

PokerNews will bring you more on this story when details become available.

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