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Press Release

Eleven people indicted for their roles in a bookmaking and money laundering conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Ohio

Eleven people were indicted in federal court for their roles in a conspiracy to operate an illegal gambling business and a conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.

Stephen Bellipario, aka Tony, 36, of Long Island, New York; Joseph Fowles, aka Matt, 36, of Seaford, New York; Amir Hugh Robinson, 47, of Sunny Isles Beach, Florida; Anthony Pinialis, 64 of Las Vegas, Nevada; Clinton Reider, 41, of Mentor on the Lake; Thomas Reed, 48 of Kirtland Hills, James Ovens, 50 of Willoughby; Michael Tutolo, 53 of Mentor; Maurey Presser, 61 of South Euclid; Alan Bambic, 44 of Painesville; and Ralph Robertson 57 of Chagrin Falls are all charged with conspiracy to operate an illegal gambling business and operating an illegal gambling business.  Bellipario, Fowles, Robinson, Pinialis, Ovens, and Tutolo are also charged with conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.

“Identifying fraudulent schemes, including alleged gambling and money laundering enterprises, remains a priority of the Department of Justice and this U.S. Attorney’s Office,” said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman.  “Our partner agencies share in this commitment, which is certainly reflected in the work performed by the Internal Revenue Service and the United States Secret Service that led to these charges.” 

“One of the U.S. Secret Service’s priorities is to safeguard the country’s financial system,” stated Jonathan Schuck, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service, Cleveland Field Office.  “The U.S. Secret Service, IRS and United States Attorney’s Office were able to successfully collaborate to identify a large complex money laundering scheme that reaches not only domestically but internationally as well.” 

“IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to unraveling complex financial transactions and money laundering schemes where individuals attempt to conceal the true source of their money," stated Bryant Jackson, Special Agent in Charge of IRS-Criminal Investigations’ Cincinnati Field Office. “Working collaboratively with the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Attorney’s Office, IRS-CI will continue our efforts to ensure all those who participated in these schemes are brought to justice.”

The indictment alleges that the conspiracy was made up of bookmakers, more commonly known as bookies, operators of a bookmaking website, and money launderers. Bellipario and Fowles allegedly operated (“PPH”), a gambling website based in Costa Rica. PPH allowed bookmakers to pay a weekly fee per active client account, known as a “pay per head” fee, and provided bookmakers in the Northern District of Ohio and elsewhere with access to an online gambling platform that their clients could use to place and track bets.  Specifically, PPH is alleged to have allowed gambling clients to make bets on sporting events and other wagers via the website or by phone.  PPH also allegedly tracked clients’ winnings and losses and maintained a dollar balance of the bookmakers’ client accounts.

The indictment alleges that Reider, Ovens, Tutolo, Reed, Presser, Bambic, and Robertson, along with others, operated as bookmakers in the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division and utilized the PPH website. The indictment further alleges that the pay per head fees were paid to the PPH website through a variety of payment methods, including money orders, prepaid gift cards, MoneyGram, Western Union, PayPal, Bitcoin and cash payments.

According to the indictment, Robinson and Pinialis assisted in the laundering of proceeds from PPH.  Pinialis allegedly collected money orders sent to an address in Las Vegas, Nevada by bookmakers for payment of PPH fees and deposited the money orders into a bank account in his name.  Robinson allegedly processed prepaid gift cards sent by bookmakers as payment for PPH fees, which resulted in deposits into his business bank account. Robinson later converted the deposits into Bitcoin in order to transfer the funds to the operators of the PPH website.

The indictment also alleges numerous payments of thousands of dollars from the bookmakers to the operators of PPH. Additionally, the indictment alleges that thousands of dollars of cash was seized from the homes of some of the bookmakers.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Defendants are entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

If convicted, the defendants’ sentences will be determined by the Court after reviewing factors unique to this case, including the defendants’ prior criminal records, if any, the defendants’ roles in the offense and the characteristics of the violations. In all cases the sentences will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases sentences will be less than the maximum.

This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carmen Henderson and Alejandro Abreu and Criminal Division Chief Robert Bulford.



Bridget M. Brennan
(216) 622-3810

Updated December 19, 2019