A New York art gallery owner has been sentenced to one year in prison and ordered to forfeit more than $6.4m in connection with his leadership role in the operation of a high stakes illegal online sports gambling business.

Two other men were also sentenced yesterday to five years in prison for participating in a racketeering conspiracy related to the same case.

Preet Bharara, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said that Hillel Nahmad was sentenced yesterday by District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan federal court to one year and one day in prison, and also ordered to forfeit $6.4m and all his right, title, and interest in the painting Carnaval à Nice, 1937 by Raoul Dufy to the US government.

“For art gallery owner Helly Nahmad, running a multimillion-dollar illegal sports gambling business came with a steep price, forfeiture of over $6m and time behind bars – a punishment he likely never pictured,” said Bharara.

According to the indictment, Nahmad operated the Helly Nahmad Gallery out of the Carlyle Hotel in New York. He and defendant Illya Trincher operated and led a nationwide illegal gambling business in New York City and Los Angeles that catered primarily to multi-millionaire and billionaire clients.

As part of the business, the organization ran a high stakes illegal sportsbook that utilized several online gambling websites operating illegally in the US. The organization booked bets that were often in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and at times a million dollars, on a single sporting event, according to authorities.

The organization also made millions of dollars of sports bets each year. Nahmad was the primary source of financing for the illegal gambling business, and he was entitled to a substantial share of its profits.

Yesterday, two other defendants were sentenced for participating in a racketeering conspiracy with Russian-American organized crime enterprises, operating an international sportsbook that laundered over $100m.

Anatoly Golubchik and Vadim Trincher were sentenced by District Judge Furman to five years in prison and each ordered to forfeit more than $20m in cash, investments, and real property.

They were charged in April 2013 along with 32 other alleged members and associates of two Russian-American organized crime enterprises in an indictment that included racketeering, money laundering, extortion, and various gambling offenses.

“The sentences meted out to Anatoly Golubchik and Vadim Trincher are just and appropriate penalties for the roles the defendants played in this far-reaching, Russian-American organized crime ring,” said Bharara.

The Taiwanchik-Trincher Organization was a criminal enterprise with strong ties to Russia and Ukraine, operating a high-stakes illegal sports gambling business out of New York City that catered primarily to Russian oligarchs living in Ukraine and Russia.

Golubchik and Trincher were US-based participants in the enterprise, booking sports bets that reached into the millions of dollars and laundered the proceeds of the organization’s international sportsbook.

Between 2006 and April 2012, the enterprise laundered approximately $100m in proceeds from their gambling operation in Russia and Ukraine through shell companies and bank accounts in Cyprus. Of this, approximately $50m was subsequently sent from Cyprus into the US where it was laundered through additional shell companies or invested in legitimate investments, such as hedge funds and real estate.

The Taiwanchik-Trincher Organization operated under the protection of Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, who is known as a “Vor” - a term translated as “Thief-in-Law” that refers to a member of a select group of high-level criminals from the former Soviet Union.

Tokhtakhounov used his status as a Vor to resolve disputes with clients of the high-stakes illegal gambling operation with implicit and sometimes explicit threats of violence and economic harm.

Between December 2011 and February 2013, Tokhtakhounov was paid at least $12mfor his services by the Taiwanchik-Trincher Organization. Tokhtakhounov is also under indictment in the Southern District of New York for his alleged involvement in bribing officials at the 2002 Winter Olympics held in Salt Lake City, Utah. Tokhtakhounov is a fugitive and is still being sought.


Twenty-eight defendants in this case have pled guilty, and two have entered into deferred prosecution agreements. The defendants who have pled to date have agreed to forfeit, in total, more than $68m.

The following defendants have pled guilty, and have been sentenced or await sentencing:

  • Bryan Zuriff pled guilty to gambling charges on July 26, 2013, and was sentenced on November 25, 2013.
  • William Barbalat pled guilty to gambling charges on August 14, 2013, and was sentenced on December 16, 2013.
  • Kirill Rapoport pled guilty to gambling charges on August 16, 2013, and was sentenced on December 19, 2014.
  • Edwin Ting and Justin Smith pled guilty to gambling charges on September 4, 2013, and were sentenced on January 21, 2014, and January 6, 2014, respectively.
  • Dmitry Druzhinsky and David Aaron pled guilty to gambling charges on October 4, 2013, and were sentenced on April 18, 2014, and February 14, 2014, respectively.
  • Alexander Zaverukha pled guilty to gambling charges on October 10, 2013, and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 1, 2014.
  • Nicholas Hirsch pled guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud on October 16, 2013, and was sentenced on February 25, 2014.
  • Anatoly Shteyngrob pled guilty to conspiring to commit money laundering on October 17, 2013, and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 10, 2014.
  • Yugeshwar Rajkumar pled guilty to gambling charges on October 18, 2013, and was sentenced on March 25, 2014.
  • Stan Greenberg pled guilty to conspiring to commit racketeering on October 22, 2013, and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 2, 2014.
  • Arthur Azen pled guilty to conspiring to commit money laundering and conspiring to collect extensions of credit by extortionate means on November 5, 2013, and was sentenced on April 9, 2014.
  • Hillel Nahmad pled guilty to gambling charges on November 12, 2013, and was sentenced on April 30, 2014.
  • Vadim Trincher pled guilty to conspiring to commit racketeering on November 14, 2013, and was sentenced on April 30, 2014.
  • Eugene Trincher pled guilty to gambling charges on November 14, 2013, and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 9, 2014.
  • Anatoly Golubchik pled guilty to conspiring to commit racketeering on November 15, 2013, and was sentenced on April 29, 2014.
  • Illya Trincher pled guilty to gambling charges on November 15, 2013, and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 8, 2014.
  • Ronald Uy pled guilty to structuring financial transactions on November 25, 2013, and was sentenced on March 27, 2014.
  • Moshe Oratz pled guilty to gambling charges on December 3, 2013, and was sentenced on April 9, 2014.
  • Michael Sall pled guilty to interstate travel in aid of an unlawful activity (illegal gambling) and Jonathan Hirsch pled guilty to gambling charges on December 4, 2013. Sall was sentenced on April 18, 2014, and Hirsch is scheduled to be sentenced on May 9, 2014.
  • Noah Siegel pled guilty to gambling charges on December 5, 2013, and was sentenced on April 10, 2014.
  • Molly Bloom pled guilty to gambling charges on December 12, 2013, and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 2, 2014.
  • Alexander Katchaloff pled guilty to gambling charges on January 16, 2014, and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 20, 2014.
  • Donald McCalmont, John Jarekci, a/k/a “John Hanson,” and Abraham Mosseri pled guilty to making a fraudulent tax statement, failing to file a tax return, and causing a financial institution to participate in a lottery related matter, respectively, on January 24, 2014, and are scheduled to be sentenced on May 29, 2014, May 28, 2014, and May 21, 2014, respectively.
  • William Edler and Peter Feldman entered into deferred prosecution agreements on April 11, 2014.

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