A co-founder of online gambling site World Sports Exchange (WSEX) has been spared jail time for his role in the defunct sports betting operation.
On Monday, Haden Ware (pictured) appeared in a Manhattan federal court, where he was sentenced to six months of probation. Ware, who was indicted on multiple illegal gambling charges back in 2002, returned to US shores in January after striking a deal with prosecutors that saw him plead guilty to a single conspiracy charge.
The terms of Ware’s deal prevented him from contesting a custodial sentence of up to one year, but US District Judge William Pauley spared Ware the indignity of going to jail, saying the prosecution’s desire to see Ware wearing stripes represented a “wooden approach.”
Pauley justified his leniency by suggesting that Ware’s role in WSEX had been relatively minor compared to that of co-founders Jay Cohen and Steve Schillinger. Noting that Ware had avoided returning to the US for over a decade, Pauley said he sympathized with “the fact that this hung around your neck all these years.”
WSEX went belly up in 2013, leaving its customers with no ability to withdraw their deposits. The site had fallen hard from its late-1990s heyday and Schillinger was found dead within a week of the site’s shutdown, the apparent victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Cohen’s whereabouts remain unknown. The portly fugitive spent 17 months in a US federal prison after making the ill-advised decision to return to the US to fight the original indictment leveled against him in 1998. Following his release in 2004, Cohen violated the terms of his parole by not only resuming the online gambling activities that got him into trouble in the first place, but bragging about it to US cable news operators.
Suffice it to say, Cohen isn’t likely to receive the same favorable judicial treatment as Ware should Cohen decide to once again beach himself on US shores.