U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
September 2, 2010
Former North Providence Councilman Indicted for
Extorting Gambling Payments
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Former North Providence Town Councilman Raymond L. Douglas III was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury on one count of using extortion as a means to collect gambling debts owed him. The indictment alleges that Douglas operated an illegal gambling business in North Providence which accepted illegal sports wagers over the telephone on various college and professional sports, including football, basketball and baseball, and that he used extortion to collect gambling debts owed his business.
The indictment, announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha, is based on information obtained and investigated by the FBI in the ongoing investigation into public corruption in North Providence. U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha continued to urge anyone with information relating to public corruption and related criminal activity in North Providence to contact the FBI.
The indictment returned Thursday alleges that Douglas extended credit to a bettor who accumulated approximately $6,000 to $8,000 in gambling debts between the fall of 2008 and the spring of 2009. The indictment alleges that Douglas made numerous attempts to collect the debt from the bettor by telephoning him, by sending approximately sixteen text messages, and by sending a person to the bettor’s home to collect the debt on his behalf.
According to the indictment, a telephone voicemail left by Douglas on the bettor’s phone in early June 2009 stated, in part, “One more, one more time. I’m hoping you come to your senses. You call me by tomorrow, and, uh, we try to work something out I guess.” Douglas allegedly went on to say, “I know where you live, I know where you play golf. I mean I can find you...... I guess if you don’t want to call me then it’s out of my hands and then someone else will knock on your door I guess or whatever.” The indictment alleges that later that month, Douglas sent a person to the bettor’s home on his behalf to collect the gambling debt. The person spoke with the bettor’s wife while the bettor’s children played nearby. The bettor was not home at the time.
The indictment also alleges that in August 2009, Douglas offered to damage the bettor’s vehicle which would permit him to file a fraudulent insurance claim to pay for the repairs, and allow him to use the proceeds to repay the gambling debt to Douglas.
An indictment is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
An arraignment date on this indictment has not been scheduled. Douglas is currently free on $50,000 unsecured bond on unrelated public corruption charges.
If convicted on the charge of collection of extensions of credit by extortionate means, Douglas faces a potential maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison; 5 years supervised release; and a $250,000 fine.
The criminal cases brought against the defendant are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John P. McAdams and Terrence P. Donnelly.