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NHL’er Thomas Vanek cooperating with feds in illegal sports betting investigation

TAGs: Department of Justice, National Hockey League, Nevada, NHL, sports betting, thomas vanek

thomas-vanek-doj-sports-bettingNational Hockey League player Thomas Vanek (pictured) is reportedly cooperating with an investigation by US federal authorities into an illegal sports betting operation recently broken up in New York state. In late June, the US Attorney for the Western District of New York indicted three individuals for their roles in what appeared to be a classic online credit betting ring operating out of a restaurant in Charlotte, New York.

On Monday, Rochester TV station WHEC reported that current Minnesota Wild player Vanek – who previously played for the Buffalo Sabres and the team’s American Hockey League affiliate Rochester Americans – appeared in a Rochester court in an unexplained capacity.

Vanek subsequently released a statement through his agent saying federal authorities had “asked for my cooperation in an investigation” but Vanek insisted that he was “not the subject of any investigation or prosecution.” ProHockeyTalk reported that Vanek’s former Rochester and Buffalo teammate Nathan Paetsch was a part owner of the Marina Restaurant and Bar at the center of the allegations. Paetsch is not one of the three individuals named in the original indictment.

Meanwhile, Nevada courts have handed down sentences related to two separate illegal sports betting operations. In the first, Mitchell Garshofsky has been sentenced to three years probation after being arrested last March for conducting transactions via his CG Technology sportsbook account to cover wagers made via internationally licensed online betting sites. Garshhofsky and co-accused Aaron Virchis pled guilty this April to structuring these transactions in an unsuccessful bid to avoid financial reporting requirements. Garshofsky’s sentence includes six months of house arrest monitored by an ankle bracelet. Virchis is scheduled to learn his own fate on Aug. 11.

In the second case, former Palms sportsbook supervisor Michael Albanese has been given one year and one day in federal prison after pleading guilty to a charge of wire fraud. Albanese and three other individuals were indicted in July 2012 over their involvement in a bet-rigging conspiracy federal authorities had uncovered while investigating an illegal betting operation run by Michael and Jeffrey Jelinsky, who were convicted back in 2009. Albanese pled guilty in November to accepting illegal quinella horseracing wagers placed by the Jelinsky’s in which winning bets were paid out and losing wagers were refunded. Two other individuals charged in the case – fellow Palms employee Matthew Kidle and bettor Charles Pecchio – have also pled guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

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