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Crime/Courts

April 11, 2013

Several Oklahomans face an illegal gambling charge

NORMAN — Thirty-four individuals and 23 entities were indicted and accused of operating an illegal sports bookmaking business that solicited more than $1 billion in illegal bets.

United States Attorney Sanford C. Coats for the Western District of Oklahoma and Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Criminal Division made the announcement Wednesday after the indictment was unsealed.

Of those 34 individuals, there were four listed from Moore and one listed from Norman. Those listed included Todd William Hoss of Norman and James Franklin Acker III, James Lester Acker, Robert C. Vanetten Jr., and Robert Anthony Lay, all of Moore.

There were a total of eight listed from Oklahoma. The other three Oklahomans charged were from Oklahoma City, Edmond and Choctaw.

“The defendants cannot hide the allegedly illegal sports gambling operation behind corporate veils or state and international boundaries,” said U.S. Attorney Sanford C. Coats.  “I thank the IRS and FBI for their diligent work over several years to investigate this billion dollar international gambling enterprise.”

“These defendants allegedly participated in an illegal sports gambling business, lining their pockets with profits from over a billion dollars in illegal gambling proceeds,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Raman. “Today’s charges demonstrate that we are as determined as ever to hold accountable those involved in facilitating illegal online gambling by U.S. citizens, regardless of where the business operates, or where the defendants reside.”

According to the indictment, Bartice Alan King, aka “Luke” and “Cool,” 42, of Spring, Texas, conspired with others to operate internet and telephone gambling services first from San Jose, Costa Rica, and then from Panama City, Panama, which took wagers almost exclusively from gamblers in the United States.

Known since 2003 as Legendz Sports, the enterprise allegedly used bookies located in the United States to illegally solicit and accept sports wagers as well as settle gambling debts.

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