30th of October 2012 Author: Glo Wood
A report came this week that the US enforcement authorities acting under orders from the District Attorney for Manhattan, Cyrus R. Vance, Jr arrested and charged the owners of Extension Software Inc, an Arizona company, Robert Stuart (53), Susanne Stuart (50), Patrick Read (53).
In the indictment against the persons and the company itself, Vance says the company generated "at least $2.3 million in profits" and is accused of "...promoting and profiting from online gaming software that provides online sports books the infrastructure to run illegal bookmaking operations for a variety of sports, including professional and college football and basketball, as well as baseball, hockey, horse-racing, and soccer."
The single charge in question is that of Promoting Gambling in the First Degree. Explaining the one-count indictment, the DA said: 'These defendants abetted large-scale illegal gambling in the U.S. and abroad. In doing so, they gave bettors an easy way to place illegal wagers, and created an appetite for further unlawful activity.'
He claimed that the company's online gaming software platform branded Action Sportsbook International (ASI) enabled bookmakers to choose the sporting events they'd offer in allegedly illegal bookmaking operations managed from offshore locations such as Costa Rica, the Caribbean, and Canada, adding:
"In order to use ASI, bookmakers paid a quarterly licensing fee to Extension for an access key. For continued access, the bookmakers would make payments on the quarterly invoices they received from Extension."
In terms of the licensing fees, Vance said that "...the overwhelming majority of the approximately $1.1 million cash and $1.2 million in money orders deposited into Extension's bank accounts are alleged to be direct proceeds of illegal, U.S.-based bookmaking operations, including operations that conducted their activities in California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York State, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas."
This family-run company, Vance underlined, saw Robert Stuart develop the software, his wife Susanne run the company and its finances and her brother Patrick Read handle customer service relationships and marketing. The software was apparently pretty popular among operators, over a dozen of which used the product, including WagerWeb, Heritage Sports and 5Dimes.
The prosecution of the case is led by Assistant District Attorneys Michael Gates and Carey Ng of the Rackets Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Daniel D. Brownell, Chief of the Rackets Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Eric Seidel, Chief of the Organized Crime Unit.
It was also specified that the investigation, which is to be continued, was helped by Supervising Rackets Investigator Jeremy Rosenberg, Senior Rackets Investigators Ariela DaSilva, Daniel Frooks, and Joseph Lamendola of the Investigation Bureau, as well as Supervising Account Investigator Evelyn Serrano of the Forensic Accounting and Financial Investigations Unit.
Discussing the operation's earnings, Prosecutor Michael Gates told Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Bonnie Wittner that the defendants made at least $2.3 million in three years.
However, what may be used as a defending factor is that the money was earned by licensing the software only to operators in countries outside the United States, where online gambling is not regarded as illegal.
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