BUSINESS

Sports betting theft rocks Billy Walter’s Acme Group Trading

TAGs: Acme Trading Group, Billy Walters, Ezekiel Rubalcada

BillyWaltersThere’s breaking news that Ezekiel Rubalcada, a partner in ACME Group Trading, a Las Vegas multimillion-dollar sports betting operation started by gambler-developer Billy Walters, has been arrested on charges of stealing $482,883 from the group.

If the name Billy Walters sounds familiar, it’s because his prolific betting exploits were profiled on “60 Minutes” where he was given the title as the “the most dangerous bettor in the history of Nevada.”

The betting exploits of Billy Walters are legendary. The man once place a winning $3.5m bet on a Super Bowl, he’s won $1m on a single round of golf and if you choose not to believe the hype, money talks, seven homes and a $20m jet should be evidence enough.

This latest incident involving his multimillion-dollar sports betting operation has attracted attention from Nevada State gaming regulators.
The Las Vegas Review Journal reports that Jerry Markling, chief of enforcement for the Nevada Gaming Control Board, said agents are looking into whether Ezekiel Rubalcada, a Las Vegas man charged in the theft, violated state messenger betting laws when placing wagers for the group at sports books.

According to the report, agents are investigating whether Rubalcada was paid to place bets, which would be a misdemeanor violation of the state law.

The betting operation, ACME Group Trading, a company Walters incorporated in July 2005, considers Rubalcada a partner rather than a paid employee, according to a Henderson police affidavit filed in Rubalcada’s arrest.The affidavit said Rubalcada invested $2,500 in the company in return for a share of the profits.

“If it turned out that he was in fact an investor with the company, he probably wouldn’t meet the elements of messenger betting,” Markling said.- Las Vegas Review Journal.

Rubalcada, who police allege staged a phony carjacking to cover up the theft, was arrested last week on a 33-count felony complaint.
According to the 10-page complaint against Rubalcada, the money was stolen between Jan. 18 and April 14 from an M Resort betting account belonging to ACME Group Trading. Rubalcada placed wagers for ACME with money deposited into the M Resort account, the police affidavit said.

Between January and April, the affidavit alleged, Rubalcada withdrew money from the account in amounts ranging from $2,000 to $130,000 on 16 occasions without notifying the company’s manager, Robert Ward.

Police believe Rubalcada staged the carjacking and reported it to police to cover up the theft. According to the affidavit, Rubalcada story is like something out of movie. He told officers that as he pulled away from valet parking at M Resort, a black four-door sedan pulled in front of him and a man wearing a ski mask got out and pointed a gun at him. According to Rubalcada’s story, the gunman ordered him out of the pickup, then stole his ride and made off with nearly $360,000 in company sports betting money which was left in the vehicle.

Henderson police aren’t buying the hi-jack story and to date none of the missing money has been recovered. As the Las Vegas Review Journal reports, Rubalcada was freed from the Henderson Detention Center over the weekend on $131,000 bail and is currently in the process of his criminal arraignment.

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