Crime Watch: Denver bookie sentenced, Adam Meyer pleads not guilty; Borgata chip forger awaits sentence

us-illegal-gamblingA new year brings new developments in a multitude of US illegal gambling cases. On Monday, the Denver bookie who catered to the city’s upper-crust gamblers was sentenced to 15 months in a federal prison for illegal gambling and money laundering. Kerwin Sande was also handed three years of supervised release, during which time he must enroll in a mental health treatment program. Sande previously agreed to forfeit over $2m in assets, including two luxury cars with hidden lock boxes to house bettors’ cash.

Sande caused a collective shiver to go through the ranks of Denver’s country club set after he reached a plea deal with prosecutors in August but everyone calmed down a few weeks later when prosecutors confirmed Sande’s client list would remain secret. Sande’s Play Fast Sports online credit betting site reportedly handled up to $7m in wagers per weekend during football season and paid out winnings by mailing punters golf magazines with $100 bills stuck between the pages.

Moving east, Monday saw sports betting tout Adam Meyer plead not guilty to fraud, extortion and weapons charges. Meyer was arrested in December after federal authorities alleged his involvement in a scam that extorted over $25m from a Wisconsin-based client of Meyer’s Real Money Sports prediction service. A federal judge in Milwaukee has set a trial date for March 16 and continued Meyer’s $1m signature bond. Meyer’s attorney Joel Hirschhorn told the Associated Press his client would be “vigorously defending” the case.

Swinging down south to Florida, the former chief of the Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police pled guilty on Tuesday for his role in the Allied Veterans internet sweepstakes café caper. Nelson Cuba was one of 57 individuals arrested in March 2013 as part of the crackdown, which ultimately led to the resignation of the state’s Lt. Gov Jennifer Carroll.

Cuba was accused of over 200 counts of racketeering, money laundering and keeping illegal gambling houses, while reportedly keeping other police away from the 50-odd internet cafés operating at strip malls across the state. The ring is believed to have generated over $40m for its principals in six years of operation.

Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester sentenced Cuba to one year of house arrest and four years probation. Cuba, who previously agreed to forfeit the contents of five bank accounts related to the sweepstakes operations, was also ordered to donate $45k to a homeless shelter for veterans. Cuba made no admission of guilt and said he copped a plea only because it was in his best interest to wrap this puppy up already.

Only one of the case’s defendants, Jacksonville attorney Kelly Mathis, has been sentenced to any prison time. Considered the operation’s mastermind, Mathis was given a six-year sentence, which he is appealing.

Finally, the poker player who introduced counterfeit chips into play at the Borgata Winter Poker Open in Atlantic City a year ago has a new date with destiny. Christian Lusardi was arrested last January after alert players spotted Lusardi’s bogus chips making the rounds, which led to Lusardi unsuccessfully attempting to flush the evidence down a Harrah’s hotel room toilet. PokerNews reported that Lusardi, who has been out on $300k bail since June, pled guilty to copyright infringement and trafficking in counterfeit labels. Lusardi will learn his fate on Feb. 17.