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BetonSports Gary Kaplan Gets 51 Months in Prison

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Published on:
Nov/02/2009

Nov. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Gary S. Kaplan, founder of the Betonsports Plc Internet gambling site, was sentenced to 51 months in prison for his role in the company's violation of U.S. laws banning the placement of bets by wire.      At the request of prosecutors, he may get credit for 31 months he has been in federal custody, leaving him a year and eight months to serve. Whether he gets the credit will be decided by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, U.S. District Judge Carol E. Jackson in St. Louis said today at the sentencing.      Kaplan, 50, pleaded guilty in August to conspiring to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and forfeited $43.7 million. He was indicted with 11 other people, nine of whom admitted guilt. Two are at large.

At the sentencing, Kaplan apologized for the pain he caused his family. "I realize I should have acted more responsibly," he told Jackson.

Betonsports took in $1.25 billion in 2004, with 98 percent of that revenue coming from U.S.-based clients through its Web sites, Jackson said in a 2006 order barring the London-based company from doing business in the U.S.      The company suspended trading of its shares on the London Stock Exchange in July 2006 after prosecutors unsealed the federal indictment demanding it forfeit $4.5 billion.      Kaplan's plea agreement called for him to receive a sentence of 41 months to 51 months.      He remained at large for nine months after being indicted before being apprehended in a hotel room in the Dominican Republic.

Time Enough

Defense lawyer Chris Flood told the judge the 31 months Kaplan served in jail was time enough.

In 90 percent of similar cases, "defendants received a sentence of probation or a fine," Flood said. "Of the 10 percent who were sentenced to prison, the 31 months Mr. Kaplan has served in prison far exceeds the sentences received."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Holtshouser told the court a longer sentence was warranted for Kaplan, "in terms of the scope and scale and his ability to make millions of dollars from illegal gambling."

The prosecutor cited Kaplan's "decision to evade prosecution, to live under an assumed identity and his to hide his assets. There were efforts move those assets further away from the reach of the government."

Jackson agreed with Holtshouser.

‘Evade the Law'

"I'm particularly concerned that Mr. Kaplan knew he was violating the law and continued to violate the law to make money and continued to make efforts to evade the law," she said.

The judge cited Kaplan's two prior felony and single misdemeanor convictions.

"These were very long ago, and the punishment was very light," she said. "It didn't seem to affect your respect for the law."      When he was arrested in March 2007, Kaplan was carrying currency from Israel, Venezuela, Argentina, Switzerland and other countries, a prosecutor said in court while arguing against Kaplan's request for bail.      Kaplan also had passports from the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Israel and two from Peru, prosecutors said in court papers.      While he remained in jail awaiting trial, co-defendants including Chief Executive Officer David Carruthers and his sister and brother, Lori Beth Kaplan Multz and Neil Scott Kaplan, entered pleas of guilty.      Carruthers, who also admitted to a racketeering-related charge, is to be sentenced Jan. 8.      Kaplan's forfeited money was paid to the clerk of the court on July 31, according to court records.      The case is U.S. v. Betonsports, 06-cr-00337, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri (St. Louis). 

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