Ringleader Pleads Guilty in Missouri Online Gambling Case

29th April 2010 8:15 am GMT

With six men having already pleaded guilty earlier this year for their part in conducting an illegal online gambling business targeting the US market, the US Attorney's Office for the Western District of Missouri has announced that the organiser and leader of the gambling operation has also pleaded guilty in a federal court and now faces up to five years in federal prison.

Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, said that Gerlarmo Cammisano of Kansas City pleaded guilty before US Magistrate Judge Robert E. Larsen yesterday to the charge contained in a March 9th federal indictment.

Cammisano admitted that he was the organiser or leader of an illegal online sports bookmaking business from March 1st 2006 to March 31st 2009, overseeing six bookmakers in an illegal operation in which bettors, primarily located in the Kansas City area wagered more than $3.5 million. Cammissano paid bookmakers a percentage of the winnings at the end of each sports season.

The bookmakers provided bettors with a 1-800 toll-free telephone number and two websites. In order to place a bet on a sporting event, the bettor would call the number or access the website, then provide their account number and password. Bookmakers used a separate 1-800 toll-free telephone number or the website, to track their bettors' activities and account balances. Bookmakers paid out or collected cash in person from their bettors, usually on a weekly basis.

Both of the 1-800 numbers routed to a company located in Costa Rica that acted as a virtual wire room for the illegal sports bookmaking operation, taking bets and keeping electronic records of bettors' activities and results on a computer server located in Costa Rica. The Costa Rican company did not have an interest in the outcome of the wagers, but charged the illegal sports bookmaking business a price-per-head fee for managing each bettor's account. Cammissano was responsible for collecting this fee from the bookmakers.

By pleading guilty, Cammisano also agreed to forfeit to the government $201,137 and two laptop computers that were seized from his residence on March 31st.

Under federal statutes, Cammisano is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

In separate but related cases involving the same gambling operation, Vincent F Civella, William D Cammisano Jr, and Charles J Simone, have each pleaded guilty to the same charge of conducting an illegal gambling business, while Michael V Badalucco, Michael C Sansone, and Anthony V Sansone, have pleaded guilty to being bookmakers in the gambling operation.

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