Bookie Sentenced to 4.5 Years Had Enforcer Willing to ‘Bite Your Face Off’

Written by:
Nagesh Rath
Published on:
May/15/2015
Bookie Sentenced to 4.5 Years Had Enforcer Willing to ‘Bite Your Face Off’

A Naples area bookie claiming ties to offshore sportsbook owner Spiros “The Greek” Athanas and a $100,000 per month nationwide network of enforcers to collect debt was in reality “small time” according to his lawyer.

Thomas Welch, 49, was sentenced to 4 ½ years behind bars after pleading guilty to single counts of racketeering and money laundering in connection to his local and Internet-based sports betting business.

“He understands that what he did was wrong, but I think he would like it known that he wasn’t this big deal,” said Welch’s lawyer, Spencer Cordell. “He wasn’t this major operator that it sounded like he was. He was really just a small-time operation that unfortunately made some bad choices.”

Welch did have one real enforcer on his payroll, Tony Ross, who employed Hannibal Lecter-type tactics in order to scare those owing money.  He would threaten to bite their faces off.

Despite the threats, Welch’s attorney proclaimed “There was no evidence that Mr. Welch had ever been involved in any violence, or (prosecutors) would have been a lot more concerned about him.”

- Nagesh Rath, Gambling911.com

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