Three Florida men were raking in the money from 2003 to 2013 by operating an Internet and telephone gambling service from Panama City, Panama, through an enterprise known as Legendz Sports.
The international gambling enterprise took in more than $1 billon in illegal wagers, almost entirely from gamblers in the United States betting on American sporting events.
Two of the men worked as bookies in Florida, and illegally solicited and accepted sports wagers and settled gambling debts. They used a business called Zapt Electrical Sales and its bank account to launder gambling proceeds collected from losing bettors.
Picking up cash profits
The third man worked as a runner for the enterprise, delivering cash to Legendz Sports bookies to make payouts and picking up cash profits from the bookies.
According to the evidence at trial, bookies and runners for Legendz Sports transported millions of dollars of gambling proceeds in cash and checks from the United States to Panama. The checks were made out to various shell companies created by Legendz Sports all over Central America to launder gambling proceeds.
The operation was looked into by the FBI and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, with the assistance of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Marshals Service.
The case is being prosecuted by trial attorney John S. Han and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Susan Dickerson Cox and Travis D. Smith of the Western District of Oklahoma.
A Florida corporation
Paul Francis Tucker, 50, Luis Robles, 50, and Zapt Electrical Sales Inc., a corporation registered in Florida and owned by Tucker, were found guilty of engaging in a racketeering conspiracy, conducting an illegal gambling business and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Christopher Lee Tanner, 58, was found guilty of conducting an illegal gambling ring.
A sentencing date is coming up.
“In the age of the Internet, what used to be a crime conducted by bookies on street corners is now an international criminal enterprise,” said Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell. “Operating online but offshore, the individuals convicted in this case raked in more than a billion dollars in illegal gambling proceeds. But as these convictions demonstrate, no matter where or how organized criminals operate, the Criminal Division will bring them to justice.”