Defendant Charged in 2010 for Operating Offshore Sportsbook Captured at US Airport

Written by:
Press Release
Published on:
Aug/25/2023

BOSTON – An Antigua man has been arrested more than a decade after being charged in connection with his participation in a large-scale illegal gambling business which utilized an Antiguan Internet site but operated in the continental United States. 

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Richard Sullivan, 73, of St. John’s, Antigua, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Boston in August 2010 with racketeering (RICO), operating an illegal gambling business, transmission of wagering information, money laundering and interstate travel in aid of racketeering. Sullivan was arrested on Aug. 20, 2023 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York while proceeding through customs upon his return to the United States from Antigua. Sullivan was arraigned in the Eastern District of New York on Aug. 21, 2023 and will appear in federal court in Boston at a later date. 

This prosecution marked one of the first times that individuals were charged with violating the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), and the first in Massachusetts. The UIGEA statute was enacted in 2006 to deter the use of the U.S. banking system to pay Internet gambling debts incurred by U.S. citizens. Sullivan and his co-defendants are charged with over 75 counts of engaging in U.S. banking transactions involving U.S.-based gamblers to pay gambling debts owed to Sports Offshore.

According to the indictment, Sullivan and his three co-conspirators – Todd Lyons, Robert Eremian and Daniel Eremian – operated Sports Offshore, an online gambling site licensed in Antigua that was actually operating in the United States, conducting an illegal gambling business that stretched from Massachusetts to Florida. It is alleged that Sports Offshore used an Internet site and toll-free telephone line registered in Antigua to service United States customers. The ring also allegedly employed approximately 50 gambling agents in the United States, who solicited hundreds of customers and collected gambling debts, forwarding the illegal gambling proceeds to Antigua.

To conceal the conspiracy, Sullivan and his co-conspirators allegedly created numerous fictitious entities with no legitimate business purpose to launder the proceeds of their illegal gambling business so that authorities could not detect U.S.-based financial transactions involving Sports Offshore. 

Sullivan allegedly managed the daily activities of Sports Offshore at its gambling office in St. John’s, Antigua. In that capacity, Sullivan allegedly supervised approximately 30-50 employees who accepted wagers from customers in the United States that were placed over the telephone and the Internet. It is alleged that Sullivan directed collection activities regarding customers and agents located in the United States who owed money to Sports Offshore. Sullivan also allegedly served as an agent for Sports Offshore, in that he was responsible for a group of Massachusetts customers who gambled with Sports Offshore and he earned commissions on gambling losses incurred by those customers. It is further alleged that Sullivan utilized individuals who resided in Massachusetts to collect money from his Massachusetts customers which he had shipped directly to Antigua via the mail.  

In total, Sullivan and his co-conspirators allegedly collected over $22 million for Sports Offshore through the illegal gambling operation and laundered more than $10 million in checks and wire transfers.

In December 2011, Lyons and Daniel Eremian were convicted following a five-week jury for their roles in the conspiracy. Lyons was sentenced to four years in prison, one year of supervised release and was ordered to forfeit $24.6 million. Daniel Eremian was sentenced to three years in prison, one year of supervised release and was ordered to forfeit $7.7 million. 

The charge of racketeering provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of operating an illegal gambling business provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, and up to two years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of transmission of wagering information provides for a sentence of up to two years in prison, and up to one year of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of money laundering provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $500,000. The charge of interstate travel in aid of racketeering provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, and up to two years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy; Harry Chavis, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Boston Field Office; Brian Kyes, United States Marshal for the District of Massachusetts; and John E. Mawn, Jr., Interim Colonel of the Massachusetts State Police made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was provided by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and the Essex County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Dustin Chao, Chief of the Public Corruption & Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting the case.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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