Twenty-Two Charged with Racketeering Conspiracy and Related Crimes Involving Drug Trafficking, Illegal Gambling and Money Laundering
Assistant U. S. Attorneys Andrew Young (619) 546-7981, Mark W. Pletcher (619) 546-9714 or Benjamin Katz (619) 546-9604
NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – January 27, 2015
SAN DIEGO – A federal grand jury sitting in the Southern District of California has charged 22 people with participating in an international narcotics trafficking and illegal gambling ring led by former University of Southern California athlete Owen Hanson.
Early today, authorities arrested 19 people at locations around San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles counties, as well as in Sacramento, Phoenix, Louisiana, and Virginia. Owen Hanson and Giovanni “Tank” Brandolino were previously arrested; Kenny Hilinski remains a fugitive.
According to court documents, Hanson and his associates conspired to operate “ODOG,” an enterprise engaged in international and domestic drug trafficking, illegal sports gambling and international money laundering. The organization used threats and violence against its gambling and drug customers to force compliance. For example, the organization sent a DVD of a beheading and a photo of an individual’s family gravestone in an effort to collect an alleged $2 million debt.
“Transnational criminal organizations pose a significant threat to our country and our allies throughout the world,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. “Such criminal organizations are unhindered by national boundaries, and unrestricted in the types of crimes they will commit in the pursuit of illegal profits. Here, we allege that the ODOG enterprise employed illegal gambling, drug trafficking and money laundering to expand its tentacles throughout the world, and its operators regularly used complicated financial transactions and encrypted communications to conceal their criminal activities. Those who mistakenly underestimate the dangers of illegal gambling should take note of the extreme threats of violence employed by the ODOG enterprise to extort payment from their ‘customers.’”
“Today's indictment will begin the process of dismantling a sophisticated international criminal enterprise that used violence and intimidation to advance their criminal objectives," commented FBI Special Agent in Charge, Eric S. Birnbaum. “The FBI is appreciative of the assistance from our domestic and international law enforcement partners in this investigation especially the Australian Crime Commission, the New South Wales Police Force and the New South Wales Crime Commission.”
“Utilizing the professional services of a Certified Public Account, the ODOG Enterprise laundered illicit funds through shell companies, phony bank accounts and structured bank deposits in an attempt to avoid detection by law enforcement,” said Erick Martinez, Special Agent in Charge for IRS Criminal Investigation. “This joint investigation continues to demonstrate our efforts to ensure that financial institutions will not be abused by narcotics traffickers and illegal gambling businesses attempting to conceal their ill-gotten gains.”
Here’s how the enterprise operated, according to the indictment:
ODOG’s network of bookies and runners extended nationally from Virginia to California where various bookies accepted wagers on professional and collegiate football and baseball games. Hanson, who allegedly oversaw the organization, delegated a portion of the responsibility to operate the gambling network to Kenny Hilinksi, an expatriate living in Peru. From Peru, Hilinski maintained various websites used by gamblers to place bets, coordinated the collection of payments from various bookies and gamblers, and directed the organization’s runners to distribute the proceeds through shell companies and cash deliveries.
As indicated above, the ODOG gambling network employed violence and threats of violence to ensure that delinquent bettors paid their gambling debts. Daniel Portley-Hanks, a Los Angeles private investigator also charged in the indictment, allegedly assisted with the collection of debts from gamblers by obtaining personal identification information, locating the individuals, and coordinating the attacks.
The ODOG Enterprise distributed narcotics – including cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and ecstasy – both domestically and internationally in wholesale and retail quantities. Hanson, who oversaw the organization, shared domestic operations with Giovanni “Tank” Brandolino. Brandolino was arrested in October 2015 by DEA agents in Brooklyn, New York in a separate narcotics trafficking case. Derek Loville, a former professional football player, also distributed drugs for the ODOG Enterprise in Arizona.
The ODOG Enterprise used sophisticated techniques and employed financial professionals to launder the proceeds of both the gambling and drug trafficking networks. Luke Fairfield, a Certified Public Accountant based in San Diego, set up shell corporations and advised members of the organization on methods to structure bank transactions to avoid detection by bank security and law enforcement. The ODOG Enterprise also used “runners” who collected and distributed the Enterprise’s illegal proceeds in a manner designed to evade detection by law enforcement.
The case stems from of a prior international sports gambling case against the Macho Sports Enterprise (13CR2196-JLS). In Macho Sports, a June 2013 federal grand jury charged 19 defendants with various crimes, including a racketeering conspiracy and running an illegal gambling business. Following the international criminal web identified in the Macho Sports case, the FBI began working with Australia’s New South Wales Police Force (in conjunction with the New South Wales Crime Commission) to uncover this second international sports betting—and drug—conspiracy.
Hanson was initially indicted and arrested on September 9, 2015 after arranging the delivery of five kilograms of cocaine and five kilograms of methamphetamine. This indictment adds additional charges relating to Hanson’s organization. Hanson and co-defendants Luke Fairfield, Kenny Hilinski, Giovanni Brandolino, Daniel Portley-Hanks, Jack Rissell, and Derek Loville are charged with a racketeering conspiracy related to illegal gambling and narcotics trafficking.
The indictment also charges Hanson, Fairfield, Hilinski, Brandolino, Portley-Hanks, Rissell, and fifteen others with operating an illegal gambling business. Of these additional fifteen defendants, thirteen (Charlie D’agostino, Marlyn Villareal, Dylan Anderson, Jim Muse, Jeff Bellandi, Curtis Chen, James Duley, Dee Foxx, Khalid Petras, Rahul Bhagat, David Kipper, Todd Oldham, and Daniel Ortega) were bookies working for Hanson, and two, Marlyn Villareal and Tim Bryan, were runners responsible for transporting gambling and drug trafficking proceeds funds on Hanson’s behalf.
Finally, Hanson, Fairfield, Hilinski, Brandolino, D’Agostino, Villareal, Anderson, Bryan, and Bellandi are charged with laundering the proceeds of the organizations drug and gambling businesses. This money laundering was done by depositing funds into bank accounts opened in the names of fictitious companies but controlled by Hanson and Hilinski. Villareal alone was responsible for the laundering of hundreds of thousands of dollars in drug and gambling proceeds.
In a related matter, Rufus Leon Rhone was also indicted and pled guilty on January 19, 2016 to charges of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine. His sentencing is set for April 11, 2016.
DEFENDANT Case Number: 15CR2310-WQH
Owen Hanson Age: 33
Luke Fairfield Age: 39
*Kenny Hilinski Age: 38
Giovanni Brandolino Age: 41
Daniel Portley-Hanks Age: 69
Jack Rissell Age: 49
Derek Loville Age: 47
Chalie D’Agostino Age: 51
Marlyn Villareal Age: 31
Dylan Anderson Age: 33
Tim Bryan Age: 47
Jim Muse Age: 52
Jeff Bellandi aka “Jazzy” Age: 49
Curtis Chen Age: 32
James Duley Age: 40
Dee Foxx Age: 34
Khalid Petras Age: 54
Rahul Bhagat Age: 30
David Kipper Age: 34
Todd Oldham Age: 31
Daniel Ortega Age: 41
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
Racketeering Conspiracy to Conduct Enterprise Affairs, 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)
Maximum penalty: Life
Illegal Gambling Business, 18 U.S.C. § 1955
Maximum penalty: Five years
Money Laundering Conspiracy, 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h)
Maximum penalty: Twenty years
Conspiracy to Distribute Narcotics, 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and 846
Maximum penalty: Life
Federal Bureau of Investigation – San Diego Field Office
Internal Revenue Service – San Diego
Australian Crime Commission
New South Wales Police Force
New South Wales Crime Commission
*The charges and allegations contained in an indictment or complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.