Ten Search Warrants Executed
SAN FRANCISCO – LAWFUEL – Law News Network – United States Attorney Kevin V. Ryan announced that eight individuals were arrested yesterday for their roles in an illegal gambling and money laundering scheme. According to the criminal complaint, which was unsealed yesterday morning, defendants face charges of conducting an illegal gambling business, money laundering conspiracy, and conspiracy to conduct an illegal gambling business.
The following individuals were charged in the criminal complaint:
Jenaro R. Mejias, aka Bob Mejias, of Carson City, Nevada
Tony Ferretti, of Pacifica
Dallas Affolter, of Pacifica
Houshang Pourmohamad, aka “Hoosh,”of Richmond
Ed Attanasio, of San Francisco
David Volkman, of Belmont
Norm Foisy, of Lafayette
Ray Vargas, of Fremont
These charges are the result of an investigation by IRS-Criminal Investigation.
According to the criminal complaint, players placed bets and wagers via the Internet, at “www.bettheduck.com,”or through a toll-free number with one or more individuals in Costa Rica who were paid to operate the illegal gambling business outside the United States. “Agents” within the United States collected the bets and wagers, in the form of checks and currency, from the players and then delivered them to “runners,” who delivered the funds to the gambling business. According to the complaint, the eight individuals charged allegedly worked as “agents” and received a commission based on a percentage of their players’ losses. The betting funds were allegedly transmitted and transferred to a designated beneficiary in Costa Rica, with the intent to promote the carrying on of the illegal gambling business.
The defendants, with the exception of Mr. Mejias and Mr. Foisy, were arrested at their residences. Mr. Mejias was arrested in San Jose, and Mr. Foisy was arrested in Del Mar, in the San Diego area. Six of the defendants made their initial appearance in federal court in Oakland before Magistrate Judge Wayne D. Brazil yesterday and were released on $100,000 bond. Mejias appeared in federal court in San Francisco before Judge Brazil this morning, and Foisy appeared before the duty magistrate judge in San Diego this morning. The defendants’ next scheduled appearance is at 10:00 a.m. on July 28, 2006, in Oakland before Magistrate Judge Brazil for identification of counsel.
The complaint charges the defendants with conspiracy to conduct, finance, manage, and supervise an illegal gambling business in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 and conducting, financing, managing, and supervising an illegal gambling business in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1955. Each count carries a maximum statutory penalty of five years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, three years supervised release, and a $100 special assessment. The complaint also charges the defendants with conspiracy to launder money in violation of 18 U.S.C § 1956. Each count carries a maximum statutory penalty of twenty years imprisonment, a $500,000 fine, five years supervised release, and a $100 special assessment.
A criminal complaint contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Jenaro R. Mejias, Tony Ferretti, Dallas Affolter, Houshang Pourmohamad, Ed Attanasio, David Volkman, Norm Folsy, and Ray Vargas must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
George Bevan Jr. is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of legal technician Kathleen Glynn.
A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.
Electronic court filings and further procedural and docket information are available at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.
Judges’ calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court’s website at http://www.cand.uscourts.govwww.cand.uscourts.gov.
All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Luke Macaulay at (415) 436-6757 or by email at [email protected]