On Wednesday, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Mike Colbert, 32, sports book director for Cantor Gaming and manager of the M Resort's race and sports book, was arrested in Las Vegas. He was arrested on a warrant by the Queens, New York, District Attorney's office and was booked into the Clark County Detention Center. He faces eight counts of conspiracy, money laundering, and enterprise corruption.
According to Jerry Markling, the Gaming Control Board's chief of enforcement, a total of eight people were arrested in Las Vegas on the Queens, New York charges. that included "over 110 counts related to illegal bookmaking activity associated with an Operation dubbed 'World Wide Wagers' by the NYPD’s Organized Crime Control Bureau."
In a press release from the State of Nevada Gaming Control Board, the following people were named: "Those individuals indicted and living in the Las Vegas area include: Brandt England age 49 of Las Vegas, Paul Sexton age 29 of Henderson, Jerald M. Branca age 67 of Las Vegas, Joseph Paulk age 35 of Las Vegas, Michael Colbert age 32 of Las Vegas, Steven Diano age 48 of Las Vegas, Ian W. Mandel age 43 of Las Vegas, and Kelly Barsel age 42 of Las Vegas. Charges in the indictment include: Enterprise Corruption, Promoting Gambling, Money Laundering and Conspiracy."
"The GCB’s Enforcement Division has been working with the NYPD on this case for the past 15 months," the press release went on to say. "In their investigation, which began in 2011, the NYPD discovered a large scale bookmaking operation, with ties to traditional organized crime, operating in several states as well as at off shore locations. They also determined that there was a significant Las Vegas connection and, having worked together on several previous bookmaking cases, contacted the GCB for assistance. The Enforcement Division’s Special Investigation Section’s primary responsibility in the investigation was to conduct surveillance on known suspects, identify unknown subjects, observe money drops and exchanges, and identify accounts and safe deposit boxes being utilized by the suspects."
Gaming and legal sources confirmed to the Las Vegas Journal-Review that the charges involve PinnacleSports.com, one of the largest offshore online gambling websites. Pinnacle Sports was established in 1998 and is licensed by the government of Curacao and the Alderney Gambling Control Commission.
Pinnacle Sports announced in January 2007 that it was exiting the U.S. in accordance with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2006. At the time, approximately 60 percent of Pinnacle's online wagers came from the U.S.
Gaming sources said agents for PinnacleSports.com were arrested in several cities Wednesday.
PokerNews will bring you more on this story when details become available.
Both Cantor Gaming officials and M Resort president Anthony Marnell III declined to comment on Wednesday. The Queens District Attorney's office also declined comment when contacted by PokerNews.
*Photo by Anthony Mair & courtesy of vegasseven.com.