Attorneys for Hillel ‘Helly’ Nahmad (pictured) say the New York art dealer should be allowed to teach children about art rather than go to jail for illegal gambling. In November, Nahmad pled guilty to operating an illegal gambling business after the Department of Justice broke up the Russian-American Taiwanchik-Trincher Organization, which ran sports betting and poker operations catering to Wall Street fat cats and Hollywood movers and shakers. Nahmad, the son of billionaire art dealer David Nahmad, has already agreed to forfeit nearly $6.5m in cash plus some painting he no longer wanted.
In a pre-sentencing memo filed by his attorneys and viewed by DNAinfo New York, the 35-year-old Nahmad claims that “gambling was part of my family’s recreational life.” In a letter accompanying the memo, Nahmad’s father admitted he’d exposed his son to card games and backgammon gambling at an early age and “it became part of his life too.” By the age of 14, the younger Nahmad was betting on NBA games via a local bookie and lost his watch – a Bar Mitzvah gift – betting on a ping pong match.
Despite his history, Helly claims he “never thought that gambling would lead me to a possible prison sentence and create a permanent black mark on my family’s name.” Helly suggested that Judge Jesse M. Furman give him community service so that Helly can school homeless kids on the beauties of the art world. (Beauties like the runway models Helly used to date, including Ana Beatriz Barros and Gisele Bundchen?) To sweeten the offer, Helly volunteered to pay $100k per year to fund such a program. Nahmad will learn whether Furman bought his pitch on April 30 in Manhattan Federal Court.
Nahmad isn’t the only one awaiting his fate. In Colorado, Larry Kyle Richardson has reached a plea deal with state prosecutors over his illegal sports betting activities. Richardson was arrested in January after a grand jury indicted him on racketeering charges for running an online credit betting operation between 2010 and 2013. On Wednesday, the 62-year-old Richardson pled guilty to a single felony count of knowingly transmitting gambling information via digital means. Richardson, who shared portions of his gambling proceeds with Richard Hancock and had ties to Teddy Mitchell, is looking at up to two-years in stripes when he’s sentenced on June 10.
In Ohio, federal authorities have charged 70-year-old Joseph Udeck with transmission of wagering information and conspiring to launder the proceeds of an illegal bookmaking operation. Udeck’s illegal sportsbook activities date back to 2000 and involved processing wagers over the phone and (later) via online gambling sites. The US Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio is seeking a forfeiture of $120k in cash from Udeck, who is believed to be cooperating with authorities.
Finally, Hawaii News Now reported further details on the May 2012 takedown of a Hawaii-based sports betting operation that processed wagers via Costa Rica-based online sites. Most of the 26 arrested individuals have since pled guilty, including Thomas Ky, who copped to laundering over $1m through his local restaurant chain and Terence Ching, who received three years probation and forfeited $600k for his role as a betting agent. The gang’s purported ringleaders, Felix Tom and Allen Yamada, are to be sentenced next month.