WSEX Co-Founder Pleads Guilty Following 17 Years of Being a Fugitive

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:

A co-founder of now defunct World Sports Exchange (WSEX) has pleaded guilty to gambling-related charges after remaining a fugitive for over 17 years. 

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Hayden Ware was among 21 individuals indicted in March of 1998 (three more of whom were tied to World Sports Exchange).  One of the co-founders, Jay Cohen, would ultimately return to the US to stand trial.  He was convicted and sent to prison for 18 months.  Another of the co-founders, Steve Schillinger, committed suicide two years ago.  Another, Spencer Hanson, was caught on tape accepting a phone bet from an FBI agent.  Hanson was not an owner in World Sports Exchange.

The Associated Press agency reports that Ware pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in a Manhattan federal court, just one day after arriving in New York from Antigua.

“I took wagers over the internet and over interstate lines,” Ware admitted in court on Thursday.

Ware could serve between 6 months and a year behind bars.

This is a far cry from Ware’s appearance a decade ago on the CBS news magazine “60 Minutes” in which he touted his fugitive status.

Ware left WSEX a number of years ago, relocating to Berlin, Germany where he paid around 655,000 euros (about $890,000) for a 3,230-square-foot space converted brewery he and his wife were utilizing as living quarters. 

Two years ago, Schillinger shot himself in the head leaving World Sports Exchange owing millions of dollars to gamblers.  The Company subsequently shut down. 

Unconfirmed reports suggest that World Sports Exchange held money in a bank owned by ponzi schemer Allen Stanford.  That Antigua-based financial institute was shuttered after charges were leveled against Stanford by US officials in 2009.

At the time of the bank’s closure, Cohen told Gambling911.com that Stanford would not allow WSEX to hold an account at his bank due to “moral issues” as it related to gambling and his conflicting religious views.

- Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com

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