Score one for the U.S Government’s persecution of its citizens. On Friday, Gary Kaplan, founder of BetOnSports.com pled guilty to racketeering conspiracy, violating the Wire Wager Act, and conspiring to violate the Wire Wager Act. With his guilty plea, all other charges were dropped. As part of the deal, he forfeits $43.6 million in illegally obtained monies from his illegal operations. The defense and prosecuting attorneys are recommending 41 to 51 months in prison, but the judge can sentence him to more or less time. He has already served 29 months in prison since his March 2007 arrest in Puerto Rico.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Holtshouser stated that Kaplan had been on the run for a year before his arrest, fleeing all over the world, looking for a place where he would not be extradited to the U.S.
Kaplan founded BetOnSports.com in 1995 with sites in Aruba, Antigua and eventually in Costa Rica. U.S. citizens could place bets by phone or over the internet directly from their bank accounts. Kaplan stated in court on Friday that BetOnSports.com had a million registered customers in 2004 and had accepted more than 10 million sports bets with total wagers of over a billion dollars. Also in 2004, he took BetOnSports.com public with an offering on the London StockExchange’s Alternative Investment Market, netting over $100 million.