ST. LOUIS (CN) – The founder of BetonSports pleaded guilty to RICO charges and will forfeit $43.7 million, federal prosecutors said. Gary Stephen Kaplan, 50, will serve 41 to 51 months in prison if the court accepts the plea agreement.
Kaplan admitted he set up offshore businesses in Aruba, Antigua and Costa Rica to take bets from U.S. residents through Internet Web sites and toll-free telephone numbers. U.S. customers deposited funds on account and placed bets over U.S. toll-free telephone lines and via the Internet. U.S. Customers sent money to BetonSports outside the U.S. and BetonSports sent winnings from outside the U.S. to U.S. customers.
Kaplan pleaded guilty to RICO charges, conspiring to violate the Wire Wager Act and violating the Wire Wager Act.
Prosecutors say that by 2004, BetonSport’s principal base of operations in Costa Rica employed approximately 1,700 people and that during the year that ended on Jan. 31, 2004, BetOnSports had close to 1 million registered customers and had accepted more than 10 million sports bets that totaled more than $1 billion.
Kaplan has been in custody without bond set since his arrest in March 2007. He will be sentenced on Oct. 27.