Science and Technology News

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Illegal Internet Gambling

Harrisonville Man Pleads Guilty to Illegal Gambling Sports Bookmaking Operation Used Website, Computer Server in Costa Rica

February 25, 2010 - KANSAS CITY, MO—Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Harrisonville, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to conducting an illegal gambling business that relied on a website with a computer server located in Costa Rica.

William D. Cammisano, Jr., also known as “Willie,” 60, of Harrisonville, waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge John T. Maughmer this morning to a federal information that charges him with conducting an illegal gambling business.

By pleading guilty today, Cammisano also agreed to forfeit $60,368 to the government, which represents his share of the profits from the gross wagers of the illegal gambling business. The money was seized by FBI agents while executing a search warrant at Cammisano’s residence on March 31, 2009.

Cammisano admitted that, from March 1, 2006 to March 31, 2009, he conducted an illegal sports bookmaking business in the Kansas City, Mo., metropolitan area. Cammisano was responsible for multiple bettors, primarily located in Kansas City, Mo., area who wagered more than $1,137,632 during the course of this illegal sports bookmaking business. Bookmakers received a percentage of the winnings at the end of each sports season.

Cammisano and other bookmakers provided their bettors with a 1-800 toll-free telephone number and a website. In order to place a wager on a sporting event, the bettor would call the number or access the website, then provide their account number and password. Cammisano and other bookmakers used a separate 1-800 toll-free telephone number, or the website, to track their bettors’ activities and account balances.

Both of the 1-800 numbers routed to a company located in Costa Rica that employed more than five people in the operation of this illegal sports bookmaking business. Under this scheme, the Costa Rican company acted as a virtual wire room for the illegal sports bookmaking operation—taking wagers and keeping electronic records of bettors’ activities and results on a computer server located in Costa Rica. The Costa Rican company did not have an interest in the outcome of the wagers, but charged the illegal sports bookmaking business a fee for managing each bettor’s account.

Cammisano and other bookmakers paid out or collected cash in person from their bettors, usually on a weekly basis.

In separate but related cases involving the same gambling operation, Charles J. Simone, 25, of Liberty, Mo., pleaded guilty on Feb. 18, 2010, to the same charge of conducting an illegal gambling business; Michael V. Badalucco, 26, Michael C. Sansone, 30, and Anthony V. Sansone, 27, all of Kansas City, have pleaded guilty to being bookmakers in the gambling operation.

Under federal statutes, Cammisano is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jess E. Michaelsen. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.

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