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5/18/2006
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Feds Indict Fugitive Online Betting Operators

The Department of Justice has filed a dozen money-laundering charges against the fugitive owners of an online gambling Web site.

The Department of Justice on Wednesday announced a dozen money-laundering charges against the fugitive owners of an online gambling Web site who walked away with a quarter of a billion dollars.

"This indictment underscores the Justice Department's commitment to attacking illegal Internet gambling concerns by using federal anti-money laundering laws," the DoJ said in its statement.

William Scott and Jessica Davis laundered some $250 million raked in by their Internet betting site, which they sold in 2003 to an Australian company, Betcorp.

The pair, who have been on the lam since a separate 1998 criminal indictment in New York, walked off with their site's $250 million in profits. The government has attempted to freeze numerous bank accounts, but has been only partially successful; according to the DoJ, in 2003 it seized some $7 million out of $10 million Scott had in an account in Guernsey, a small island off the coast of France.

Scott and Davis have been charged with 12 counts of conspiracy, money laundering, and failure to disclose foreign financial accounts. The IRS is involved in the investigation because of the latter charge.

Scott, 65, remains in Antigua and Barbuda, a two-island Caribbean country east of Puerto Rico. Scott previously served time in federal prison for convictions on extortion, conspiracy, and racketeering charges.

Although Congress has considered legislation to ban online gambling, it has failed to move a bill. Opponents have argued that laws cannot stop Internet betting, since it can easily jump national borders.

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