On January 31, a Keyport, New Jersey man pled guilty to playing a role in a gambling conspiracy. He was forced to forfeit $80,000 as part of his plea.
According to documents filed by U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito, from January 2011 to October 2017, John Dougherty conspired with an unnamed New Jersey resident to carry out a business enterprise that violated state gambling laws. Sports betting did not become legal in New Jersey until June 2018.
According to the complaint, while working with the unnamed man, Dougherty also had formed his own group of bettors. The two offered a website where sports betting was conducted, allowing individuals being able to establish their own usernames and passwords.
Carpenito explained that Dougherty, 55, used money he received from the unknown resident to pay winning bettors. He also collected money from users, and the two would meet regularly to divide up the revenue.
Where the two found themselves in trouble is using interstate commerce means to carry on the business. This included the use of the internet and cell phones, which drew the attention of federal authorities. Not only did they make betting-related calls and text messages, violating federal communication laws, but they also used overnight delivery services.
According to the filing, the two were quite successful in their endeavors. Communicating using codenames and code words, the two texted about a “35K” wager that one of Dougherty’s clients had placed. Their communication addressed waiting on the payoff. The money was sent using UPS, at which time Dougherty wrote back to his accomplice, declaring, “Eagle has landed. Gonna count now.”
Dougherty pled guilty in Trenton Federal Court to one count of conspiracy to use facilities in interstate commerce to carry on a business enterprise involving gambling. He has already forfeited $80,000 from the venture, but still faces an additional fine of up to $250,000. He also could be sentenced to as much as five years in jail.
Dougherty is set to be sentenced on May 6. No word on any charges related to his accomplice, or if he or she faces any charges at this point.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito gave credit to the FBI special agents who investigated and helped to bring Dougherty to justice. This included Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark; and special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge John R. Tafur.