Head of Online Sports Betting Ring Arrested in Naples

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
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Head of Online Sports Betting Ring Arrested in Naples

The head of an online sports betting ring with ties to Costa Rica and the Mob was arrested last week according to court documents.

Thomas Welch, 48, of Poinciana Village, near Naples, Florida, was charged with multiple racketeering, extortion and money laundering for his role in running the online website Alydar653.com.

That website is a mashup of Welch's dog and the number of the submarine he served on during his time with the U.S. Navy, according to the affidavit.

From the News-Press out of Naples:

FDLE launched the investigation in June when agents, looking into a sports betting ring out of Costa Rica, connected with a confidential informant, according to the affidavit.

The informant owed Welch $18,000 after another bookie refused to pay winnings and agreed to cooperate with the investigation, according to the affidavit.

FDLE agents initially bolstered their case by digging through Welch's trash where they found handwritten ledgers and wire transfer slips, according to the affidavit.

Recorded conversations with an undercover agent and informant revealed how Welsh would recruit gamblers then convert them into "agents" who solicited even more gamblers.  Those gamblers would then go on to collect unpaid debts.

Welsh also revealed in the affidavit how he first got involved in Boston area gambling rings with ties to the Greek and Italian mafia.  At the time he racked up $2 million in gambling debts and was forced to flee to Southwest Florida.

- Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com

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