GOVERNMENT CHARGES SIX PERSONS IN OFF-SHORE ILLEGAL GAMBLING OPERATION
ASHLEY PERRY, 33, of Metairie, LA, SHANE MUSCARELLO, 37 of Metairie, LA, WILLIAM BRYANT III, 39 of Kenner, LA, CRAIG GOODWIN, 49 of Kenner, LA, DAVID THERIOT, 45, of Covington, LA and DAVID CARAZO, 40, of Mandeville, LA have been charged in a criminal complaint in connection with an ongoing federal investigation into an offshore illegal gambling business, U. S. Attorney Jim Letten announced today.
The complaint charges the all six defendants with the Operation of an Illegal Gambling Business. If convicted, the defendants face a possible maximum sentence of five (5) years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.
The complaint alleges the defendants were involved in an illegal gambling business which employed the use of an offshore betting service based in Costa Rica. Bettors were provided with access to a Costa Rican website by the defendants which would allow the bettors to place bets on sporting events. According to the complaint, the defendants set betting limits for each bettor and the bettors would settle with the defendants locally. It is further alleged that money couriers would collect money to pay the off shore service as well as make payments to or collect money from other local and regional betting cells.
"ICE is pleased to have worked with the U. S. Attorney’s office and assist in bringing about today's developments, which highlights potential violations including money laundering and illegal gambling" said Raymond R. Parmer, Jr., Special Agent-in-charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in New Orleans. "ICE investigates financial crimes that exploit vulnerabilities within the U.S. financial, trade, and transportation sectors that can easily be used by criminal organizations. The New Orleans ICE Office of Investigations will continue to work to uncover illicit transactions involving financial crimes and together with the local law enforcement community remains resolved to disrupt criminal organizations that commit crimes against our society and our economy."
Special Agent Michael J. DePalma stated, "IRS-Criminal Investigations is united with the rest of the law enforcement community and the United States Attorney's Office in our resolve to investigate crimes that affect our society and the world economy. Special Agents of IRS CI are premier financial investigators and will continue to use those skills to protect the public's interest."
Illegal gambling is a crime we take seriously in Louisiana" said Colonel Michael Edmonson, State Police Superintendent. "Through an investigation initiated by our department and through a cooperative effort with our federal partners at Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Internal Revenue Service, we have been able to identify a complex, organized criminal enterprise. The Louisiana State Police will continue to work in conjunction with our federal partners to expose these complex criminal networks and put a stop to them."
Letten also indicated that this investigation is related to an ongoing investigation by the Organized Crime and Rackets Division of the Queens County, New York District Attorney’s Office which today announced the indictment of 49 defendants for illegal off-shore gambling.
U. S. Attorney Letten reiterated that an indictment is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case was investigated jointly by Special Agents of the Department of Homeland Security-Immigration Customs Enforcement, the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division and the Louisiana State Police.
This case is being prosecuted by the Chief of the Organized Crime Strike Force Unit, Mark A. Miller.
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud from a person or an organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of storm victims or have knowledge of waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud toll free at: (866) 720-5721. You can also fax information to: (225) 334-4707 or e-mail it to: email@example.com