Hollywood producer pleads guilty to operating illegal online sportsbook

30th July 2013 8:06 am GMT

Hollywood producer Bryan Zuriff faces up to five years in prison after pleading guilty in Manhattan federal court for his involvement in the operation of an illegal high-stakes online sportsbook which was run by an organized crime enterprise.

Zuriff was charged in April earlier this year in a 34-defendant indictment charging members and associates of two Russian-American organized crime enterprises with various crimes, including racketeering, money laundering, extortion, and various gambling offenses.

According to the indictment, Zuriff operated his own illegal gambling business that catered to gamblers seeking to bet on the outcome of various sporting events in Los Angeles, California.

He also assisted others in operating their own high-stakes sportsbook in New York that catered to millionaires and billionaires, with clients typically placing bets online through various accounts maintained on gambling websites that were operating illegally in the US.

Authorities estimate that tens of millions of dollars in bets were placed through those online accounts each year.

Preet Bharara, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York said: “Bryan Zuriff spanned the coasts with his crimes, by operating his own illegal gambling enterprise in Los Angeles, and helping to operate a vast illegal gambling enterprise in New York. With his plea, he becomes the first defendant, but not the last, to be convicted in this sprawling script of criminal conduct.”

Zuriff pled guilty before US District Court Judge Jesse M Furman to accepting a financial instrument in connection with unlawful internet gambling.

He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and three years of supervised release. As part of his guilty plea, he agreed to forfeit $500,000 to the US government. Zuriff is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Furman on November 25th.

Zuriff is best known for his work as executive producer of Showtime’s Ray Donovan, as well as several movies including The Details and The Messenger.

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