OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106
MARCH 3, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
KC MAN IS SIXTH TO PLEAD GUILTY TO ILLEGAL GAMBLING
SPORTS BOOKMAKING OPERATION USED WEB SITE,
COMPUTER SERVER IN COSTA RICA
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Kansas City, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to conducting an illegal gambling business that relied on a Web site with a computer server located in Costa Rica.
Vincent F. Civella, 53, of Kansas City, waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Greg Kays this morning to a federal information that charges him with conducting an illegal gambling business.
By pleading guilty today, Civella also agreed to forfeit $40,000 to the government, which represents his share of the profits from the gross wagers of the illegal gambling business. The forfeiture includes $8,750 that was seized by FBI agents while executing a search warrant at Civella’s residence on March 31, 2009, as well as additional payments to the government.
Civella admitted that, from March 1, 2006 to March 31, 2009, he conducted an illegal sports bookmaking business in the Kansas City, Mo., metropolitan area. Civella was responsible for multiple bettors, primarily located in the Kansas City, Mo., area who wagered more than $300,957 during the course of this illegal sports bookmaking business. Bookmakers received a percentage of the winnings at the end of each sports season.
Civella and other bookmakers provided their bettors with a 1-800 toll-free telephone number and a Web site. In order to place a wager on a sporting event, the bettor would call the number or access the Web site, then provide their account number and password. Civella and other bookmakers used a separate 1-800 toll-free telephone number, or the Web site, to track their bettors’ activities and account balances.
Both of the 1-800 numbers routed to a company located in Costa Rica that employed more than five people in the operation of this illegal sports bookmaking business. Under this scheme, the Costa Rican company acted as a virtual wire room for the illegal sports bookmaking operation – taking wagers and keeping electronic records of bettors’ activities and results on a computer server located in Costa Rica. The Costa Rican company did not have an interest in the outcome of the wagers, but charged the illegal sports bookmaking business a fee for managing each bettor’s account.
Civella and other bookmakers paid out or collected cash in person from their bettors, usually on a weekly basis.
In separate but related cases involving the same gambling operation, William D. Cammisano, Jr., 60, of Harrisonville, Mo., and Charles J. Simone, 25, of Liberty, Mo., have pleaded guilty to the same charge of conducting an illegal gambling business; Michael V. Badalucco, 26, Michael C. Sansone, 30, and Anthony V. Sansone, 27, all of Kansas City, have pleaded guilty to being bookmakers in the gambling operation.
Under federal statutes, Civella is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jess E. Michaelsen. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.
This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at