ST. LOUIS (CN) – The founder of BetonSports was sentenced to 51 months in prison and will forfeit more than $50 million as part of a federal plea agreement. Gary Stephen Kaplan, 50, pleaded guilty in August to RICO conspiracy and violating the Wire Wager Act.
As part of a complex plea agreement, Kaplan will forfeit $43.65 million to the United States. He already had forfeited $7 million in related proceedings.
Kaplan started BetonSports in the mid-1990s and it quickly became one of the world’s largest online sports gambling sites. In 2004, BetOnSports had close to 1 million registered customers and accepted more than 10 million sports bets for more than $1 billion.
In mid-2004, Kaplan made more than $100 million from a public offering of the stock of BetonSports on the London Alternative Investment Market. That money eventually found its way into various Isle of Jersey trusts and Swiss bank accounts.
Technologically, Kaplan’s toll-free telephone lines terminated in the U.S. and were forwarded to Costa Rica by satellite transmitter or fiber-optic cable. Some of Kaplan’s Web servers were in Miami and were remotely controlled from Costa Rica.
U.S. residents became customers of BetonSports by depositing money on account and placing wagers over U.S. toll-free telephone lines and the Internet. Funds were sent from U.S. customers to BetonSports operations outside the United States and BetonSports sent winnings from outside the U.S. to its U.S. customers.
“Kaplan was unique in the scope and scale of his illegal operation,” acting U.S. Attorney Michael W. Reap said in a statement. “Despite his immense profits, he is living in federal custody. … Kaplan’s business model itself was built on a wager that the U.S. could not and would not enforce its anti-sports book laws to reach Kaplan. Today, Kaplan lost that wager.”