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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Defendant Pleads Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court To Being An Organizer And Leader Of An Illegal Sports Gambling Business

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that HILLEL NAHMAD, a/k/a “Helly,” pled guilty today in Manhattan federal court in connection with his leadership role in the operation of a high-stakes illegal sports gambling business. NAHMAD was charged in April 2013 in a 34-defendant indictment charging members and associates of two Russian-American organized crime enterprises with various crimes including racketeering, money laundering, extortion, and gambling offenses. He pled guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Jesse M. Furman.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Helly Nahmad headed an illegal sports gambling business with ties to a Russian-American organized crime ring. Nahmad bet that he would never get caught and he lost. His guilty plea today has dealt a substantial blow to this international enterprise.”

According to the Indictment, other documents filed in this case and statements made at various conferences in this case, including today’s guilty plea:

NAHMAD is the son of a billionaire art dealer from Europe, and he operates the Helly Nahmad Gallery out of the Carlyle Hotel in New York, New York. NAHMAD and defendant Illya Trincher ran a high-stakes illegal gambling business that catered primarily to millionaire and billionaire clients. Their business utilized several online gambling websites that operated illegally in the United States to generate tens of millions of dollars of sports bets each year. The gambling operation was financed through a host of American and international bank accounts, including accounts associated with NAHMAD, defendants John Hanson and Noah Siegel, a/k/a “The Oracle,” and a plumbing company in the Bronx that was acquired in repayment of a $2 million gambling debt. As part of his guilty plea, NAHMAD acknowledged that he was a leader and organizer of the illegal sports gambling business, that he was the primary source of financing for that business, and that he was entitled to a substantial share of its profits.

NAHMAD, 35, of New York, New York, faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and three years of supervised release. As part of his plea agreement, NAHMAD agreed to forfeit $6,427,000.00 and all right, title and interest of the defendant in the painting Carnaval à Nice, 1937 by Raoul Dufy to the United States. NAHMAD is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Furman on March 19, 2014 at 3:00 p.m.

NAHMAD is the 14th defendant in this case to plead guilty. The following defendants previously pled guilty and await sentencing:

  • Bryan Zuriff pled guilty to gambling charges on July 26, 2013;
  • William Barbalat pled guilty to gambling charges on August 14, 2013;
  • Kirill Rapoport pled guilty to gambling charges on August 16, 2013;
  • Edwin Ting and Justin Smith pled guilty to gambling charges on September 4, 2013;
  • Dmitry Druzhinsky and David Aaron pled guilty to gambling charges on October 4, 2013;
  • Alexander Zaverukha pled guilty to gambling charges on October 10, 2013;
  • Nicholas Hirsch pled guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud on October 16, 2013;
  • Anatoly Shteyngrob pled guilty to conspiring to commit money laundering on October 17, 2013;
  • Yugeshwar Rajkumar pled guilty to gambling charges on October 18, 2013;
  • Stan Greenberg pled guilty to conspiring to commit racketeering on October 22, 2013; and
  • Arthur Azen pled guilty to conspiring to commit money laundering and conspiring to collect extensions of credit by extortionate means on November 5, 2013.

Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the New York City Police Department, and the Internal Revenue Service.

The case is being prosecuted by the Office=s Organized Crime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Harris M. Fischman, Joshua A. Naftalis, Peter Skinner, and Kristy J. Greenberg of the Organized Crime Unit are in charge of the prosecution. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alexander Wilson and Christine Magdo of the Office=s Asset Forfeiture Unit are responsible for the forfeiture aspects of the case.

U.S. v. Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, et al. Indictment

Press Release Number: 
Updated May 18, 2015