U.S. Targets Another Gambling Company Here

August 25, 2006

A week after charges in the United States prompted online gaming giant BetonSports to close its operations in Costa Rica and lay off 1,200 workers, U.S. authorities set their scopes on another online gambling enterprise operating in Costa Rica.

Four suspects, two of them Costa Rica residents, are being indicted for their connection to betheduck.com, an online gaming enterprise operating out of Costa Rica that allegedly is an illegal gambling and money laundering scheme. The 12-count indictment unsealed last week charges defendants with conspiracy and conducting an illegal gambling business, conspiracy to launder funds from the business, and conspiracy to use phone, e-mail and Internet to promote the allegedly illegal business, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Two suspects – Darwin Mobley and Jorge Esteban Hall – are San José residents at large. The other two – Richard Anderson  and Houshang Pourmohamad – are California residents. If convicted, each defendant could face up to 25 years in prison.

The charges came after an IRS criminal investigation in which 10 search warrants were issued and eight suspects were arrested in the United States in July in relation to the case. The suspects are accused of collecting bets for the betheduck.com enterprise.

Pourmohamad was arrested in California on July 26 on the earlier criminal complaint. Anderson remains at large. Pourmohamad made his initial appearance on the indictment in federal court in Oakland last week and is scheduled to appear before District Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong on these charges on Sept. 12.

The daily La República reported last week that the International Police (Interpol) have received no warrant or instructions to launch an investigation into the whereabouts of the residents in Costa Rica.

Last week the sportsbook BetonSports closed its offices in the San Pedro mall, leaving 1,200 unemployed, after a federal district court in Missouri ordered the business to stop taking bets from U.S. gamblers (TT, Aug. 18)

In that case, too, U.S. authorities had arrested one of the company’s heads. BetonSports.com Chief Executive Officer David Carruthers was arrested in Dallas, Texas, when he stopped in the country on a layover during a trip to Costa Rica (TT, July 21)

 

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