MASSACHUSETTS BASED RING CHARGED WITH RACKETEERING IN CONNECTION WITH INTERNET GAMBLING SCHEME
Boston, Mass. - A Superseding Indictment was issued today charging four men with racketeering and related offenses in connection with their participation in a large scale illegal gambling business which utilized an Antiguan Internet site, but operated in the continental United States.
U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Susan Dukes, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation - Boston Field Office and Colonel Marian McGovern, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police announced the unsealing of a 442 count Indictment charging ROBERT EREMIAN, 57, of St. John’s, Antigua and Lynnfield; DANIEL EREMIAN, 60, of Boca Raton, Florida; RICHARD SULLIVAN, 61, of St. John’s, Antigua and Marblehead; and TODD LYONS, 36, of Beverly, with racketeering, money laundering, operating an illegal gambling business, use of wire communication facilities to transmit wagering information, interstate travel in aid of racketeering, false tax returns, witness tampering, and acceptance of financial instruments for unlawful Internet gambling.
U.S. Attorney Ortiz stated, “The alleged conduct in ths case used Antigua as a haven to commit crimes in the United States. Today’s charges should send a strong message that we will follow investigative leads and prosecute crimes conducted over the Internet from offshore locations. Criminals cannot evade U.S. laws by hiding behind the veil of the Internet or the laws of another nation.”
The Indictment alleges that the defendant ROBERT EREMIAN moved the headquarters for his illegal gambling business from Massachusetts to Antigua during the late 1990's where he operated Sports Offshore, an internet site and toll free telephone line, to service his U.S. customers. EREMIAN allegedly employed dozens of “agents” in the United States who recruited customers and collected gambling debts, forwarding the proceeds to EREMIAN in Antigua.
The Indictment also alleges that EREMIAN engaged in a number of money laundering schemes to disguise the fact that the money coming from the United States was for the payment of gambling debts owed to Sports Offshore. It is further alleged that EREMIAN created numerous fictitious entities to launder the proceeds of his illegal gambling activities, including Antiguan shell companies named Benevolence Funding, Ltd. and DeSoto, Ltd. The Indictment also alleges that EREMIAN funneled millions of dollars that constituted illegal gambling proceeds to family members in the United States.
The Indictment alleges that the defendants used carriers in interstate commerce such as FEDEX to ship cash and checks from the United States to Sports Offshore in Antigua. The defendants also used a mail drop in Belize to receive proceeds of illegal gambling activities destined for Sports Offshore in Antigua.
According to the Indictment, the defendant DANIEL EREMIAN is ROBERT EREMIAN’s brother and is charged with acting as an agent for Sports Offshore in Florida and managing other Florida agents; the defendant TODD LYONS acted as the primary agent in Massachusetts for Sports Offshore; and the defendant RICHARD SULLIVAN managed the offices of Sports Offshore in Antigua. The Indictment charges that SULLIVAN also acted as an agent for a group of Massachusetts customers, and that SULLIVAN utilized individuals in Massachusetts to collect gambling proceeds from those customers.
The defendant LYONS was indicted in May 2010. The current indictment includes the original charges as well as additional charges against LYONS.
This prosecution marks one of the first times that individuals have been charged with violating the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), and the first in Massachusetts. The UIGEA statute was enacted in 2006 to deter the use of the U.S. banking system to pay Internet gambling debts incurred by U.S. citizens. The defendants are charged with over 75 counts of engaging in U.S. banking transactions involving US-based gamblers to pay gambling debts owed to Sports Offshore.
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on the racketeering, money laundering and witness tampering charges; three years in prison on the tax charges; five years in prison on the interstate travel in aid of racketeering, illegal gambling and UIGEA charges; and two years in prison on the wire act charges. Additionally each count also carries a three year term of supervised release and fines up to $250,000.
The case is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service and the Massachusetts State Police. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Fred M. Wyshak, Jr. and Robert Fisher of Ortiz’s Public Corruption & Special Prosecutions Unit.
The details in the indictment are allegations. The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.