Richard Lee Charged in San Antonio Bookmaking Investigation
Richard Lee, the sixth-place finisher in the 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event who was then subsequently made the lead suspect in a raid and investigation into a bookmaking operation in the San Antonio area, has now been charged in the matter. The raid on his house, one of several targeted, resulted in the seizure of millions in property believed by authorities to be either connected to the operation itself or the fruits of the alleged illicit operation.
Besides Lee, now 56, four others were named in the charges, each of whom will face a negotiated misdemeanor charge of "gambling promotion." The charges carry a maximum term of up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine, and the men will be arraigned on Nov. 7th. The charges are also connected to possible plea deals being worked on with prosecuting District Attorney Susan Reed; separately, Reed also filed papers in civil forfeiture proceedings in an attempt to permanently confiscate the extensive cash and property seized in the raid and subsequent investigation.
Reed's office hopes to retain 80% of the value of the seized cash and property, the vast majority of which was identified as Lee's. Among the seized items identified as Lee's which were confiscated during the raid were almost $2.7 million, plus a 2005 Lexus LX470, a 2005 Mercedes S430, a 2004 Toyota 4Runner, numerous high-end designer handbags, electronics, watches, jewelry, sports memorabilia and a currency counter. The source of the $2.7 million remains in dispute between Lee's lawyers and the District Attorney's office, with Lee pointing to his $2,803,851 payday from the 2006 WSOP as the origination of the funds, while the investigators maintained it was the fruits of his bookmaking operation.
The other three people named in the recent charges are Lee's son-in-law, Lawrence 'Larry' Joseph Davenport, 30; Matthew Colburn Winslow, 57; Marco de Carlo Hernandez, 31; and Daniel Ortiz, 30. The value of the cash and property attributed to these men and wrapped up in any potential plea deal is $221,407 for Ortiz, $113,893 for Winslow and $14,382 for Davenport; Hernandez did not have any seized assets identified as his during the investigation.
Part of the issue was an Internet bookmaking site, www.betbsbnow.com, which was registered in Costa Rica but was, according to authorities, operated by Lee, among others. Lee was referred to by multiple sources during the original investigation as the 'biggest bookie" in San Antonio, reportedly referred to as "The Chinaman" in local circles. Interestingly, Lee turned down the chance to do a deal during the 2006 WSOP and wear the apparel of any online site, instead choosing to wear a shirt to the final table upon which "San Antonio" was emblazoned. Following the raid, Lee quipped that he had gone from "hero to zero in a few hours," even as he defended himself against the charges.