01 August 2006


    Associated Press

    ST. LOUIS – The former chief executive of one of the world’s largest online gambling companies, BetOnSports, will remain in federal custody after pleading not guilty Monday to charges of mail and wire fraud and racketeering.

    David Carruthers, 48, was one of several BetOnSports PLC employees and associates named in a federal 22-count indictment who pleaded not guilty.

    Neil Kaplan and Lori Kaplan Multz, the brother and sister of BetOnSports founder Gary Kaplan, were among those pleading not guilty.

    The government claims BetOnSports and its employees fraudulently took billions of dollars in wagers from U.S. residents by phone and over the Internet without paying excise taxes.

    No one appeared on behalf of BetOnSports PLC, a British online gambling company. U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway wasn’t surprised.

    “They have not had any regard for the law,” Hanaway said. “And to not appear would be a further step along that same path.”

    Gary Kaplan is a former New York-area bookie now living in Costa Rica, authorities said. He remained at large despite the indictment.

    Carruthers was transported to St. Louis from Dallas, according to court officials. He was arrested July 16 by federal agents at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport en route to Costa Rica, where the company has an office.

    The Justice Department is seeking the forfeiture of $4.5 billion, cars and computers from the defendants.

    BetOnSports fired Carruthers, who is a citizen of the United Kingdom, last week and the company has agreed to a judge’s order to stop accepting U.S. bets. The company has also asked the London Stock Exchange to suspend trading of its shares.

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