Operator of Illegal Sports Betting Business in Las VegasPleads Guilty in Federal Court
Las Vegas, Nev. - Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada, announces that MAN KIT YAU, age 55, a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada, pleaded guilty on Monday, October 27, 2003, before U.S. District Court Judge Larry R. Hicks to operating an illegal sports betting business out of Las Vegas. The defendant, who waived Indictment by a Grand Jury and agreed to plead guilty to a Criminal Information, also pleaded guilty to a criminal forfeiture count which requires him to forfeit the property involved in his illegal gambling business, specifically, $50,817 in U.S. currency and $14,175 in U.S. currency money orders seized from his Las Vegas residence at 8411 Montana Stream Avenue and from a safety deposit box at Nevada State Bank.
According to the court records, from approximately May 2001 through April 7, 2003, MAN KIT YAU and at least five other partners, assistants, and runners who operated primarily in Las Vegas, received sports bet requests over the telephone from persons in Nevada and other states. YAU and his partners and assistants also attempted to place "layoff bets" over the telephone with bookmakers outside Nevada. "Layoff bets" are wagers made by one bookmaker with another to help balance action and reduce risk. To operate the business, YAU maintained large amounts of currency and money orders at his residence and in a bank safety deposit box in Las Vegas, including the $64,992 which YAU admitted was proceeds of the illegal gambling business and which he agreed to forfeit to the United States.
In order to convict a defendant under federal law of conducting an illegal gambling business, the United States has to prove that a person transmitted and relayed wagers from within the State of Nevada to another person or establishment within or outside Nevada; that the transmissions constituted illegal gambling in Las Vegas; that the business involved five or more persons; and that the business had been in continual operation by five or more persons for more than 30 days. State of Nevada laws prohibit persons or their agents in Nevada from knowingly placing, sending, accepting, or receiving wagers through any medium of communication to or from other persons in or outside Nevada.
MAN KIT YAU is released on bond pending sentencing, which is scheduled for January 19, 2004, at 11:00 a.m. before Judge Hicks. He is facing up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence will be dictated by the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of factors and will be imposed in the discretion of the Court.
The prosecution is the result of an investigation by Special Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Las Vegas and the Nevada Gaming Control Board. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kathleen Bliss of the U.S. Attorney's Office Organized Crime Strike Force.