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Feds Give Texas Police Department $5 Million For Helping Bust $5.4 Billion Sports Betting Ring In 2011

Announcement Comes Last Week Two Years After Crackdown On Ring

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Last week, the Plano Police Department in Texas was presented with a $4,753,841.40 check from the federal government for their joint efforts in dismantling an Internet gambling operation in 2011. The more than decade-long sports betting ring handled more than $5.4 billion.

“Taking away the assets from these illegal organizations hits criminals where it hurts the most – it deprives them of their profits,” Madie Branch, Acting Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation, said in a statement. “Today, we are transferring those seized profits from the criminals and giving them back to the communities.”

The operation was run over the Internet and based out of North Texas.

Financial transactions were run through servers and websites on the Caribbean island of Curacao, where gambling is legal, and then back to states within the U.S.

The investigation identified 18 individuals who conspired to accept wagers on college and pro sporting events through about 25 websites hosted overseas. They provided sports bettors with a personal login code and password to facilitate wages, helping to conceal their identities.

In March 2011, law enforcement officers executed search warrants at residences, offices and safe-deposit boxes belonging to defendants. During the the investigation, numerous bank and investment accounts, automobiles, businesses, and real properties were seized.

While the operation handled more than $5.4 billion over the years, it was alleged that $200 million in illegal earnings were reaped by the defendants from January 2007 to February 2011.

Over time, all 18 defendants pleaded guilty to misconduct related to the criminal enterprise.

Albert Sydney Reed, Jr., 57, of Southlake, Texas, was the ringleader and received a year in prison, in addition to hefty financial loss. Others received probation.

Recently, a massive sports betting ring with alleged links to the Russian mob was busted by the federal government in New York City. That case is still unfolding.

Gambling on the Internet is only legal on state-sanctioned sites in Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware, although none of them have yet taken a real-money sports bet over the Internet.

According to the American Gaming Association, the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act banned betting on sporting events except in those states where such betting was legal at the time the law was approved, or in any state that legalized sports betting within a year of that date. Four states—Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana—qualified.

Nevada is the only state where betting on sports is taking place, but two states—Delaware and New Jersey—have taken steps to legalize sports books similar to those in Nevada.

New Jersey is stuck in a confrontation with the feds about such an industry.

Back to Texas — the game of Texas hold’em isn’t even legal there, though some lawmakers have been trying for years to bring the game to the state in the form of commercial card rooms.