St. Louis Business Journal - 12:48 PM CDT Friday, March 30, 2007
BetOnSports.com founder Gary Stephen Kaplan was arrested late Wednesday in the Dominican Republic, U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway said Friday.
BetOnSports plc officials were indicted in July 2006 by a federal grand jury on various charges of racketeering, conspiracy and fraud. According to the indictment, BetOnSports.com, based in Costa Rica, misleadingly advertised itself as the "World's Largest Legal and Licensed Sportsbook."
BetonSports plc was a publicly traded holding company that owns a number of Internet sportsbooks and casinos.
In November, BetOnSports said it would permanently stop accepting bets from U.S.-based customers, as part of the company's settlement deal with Hanaway.
"Mr. Kaplan was arrested at a hotel in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, without incident by the Dominican National Police, the U.S. State Department and the FBI," Roland Corvington, Special Agent in Charge, FBI St. Louis Office, said in a statement Friday. "The U.S. State Department, specifically in Costa Rica, has provided and will continue to provide, vital assistance in relation to all aspects of this investigation including the apprehension and deportation of fugitives such as Gary Kaplan."
In July, Lawyers for online betting and gambling company BetOnSports PLC failed to appear in federal court in St. Louis.
Kaplan, 48, is personally charged with 20 felony violations of federal laws including: the Wire Act, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Conspiracy, interstate transportation of gambling paraphernalia, interference with the administration of Internal Revenue laws and tax evasion.
After Kaplan's arrest in the Dominican Republic, he was sent by Dominican authorities to Puerto Rico for an initial appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge, according to a release from Hanaway's office. The Magistrate Judge will be asked to order that Kaplan be sent to St. Louis immediately or be held in custody pending a removal hearing to remove him to St. Louis and for a detention hearing to hold him without bond. Currently, the exact date of Kaplan's return to St. Louis is unknown.
According to Hanaway's release, BetOnSports co-owner Norman Steinberg is still at large, as is co-defendant Peter Wilson. Other defendants, including former BetonSports director, David Carruthers, were arrested in 2006, after the July 17, 2006, apprehension of Carruthers in Texas.
The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Carol Jackson and no trial date has been set, as pretrial motion proceedings continue.