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Jerome García December 12, 2023 2 min read
FL Man Gets 71 Months in Prison for Running Offshore Sportsbook
Interest in offshore sports betting has remained high even in the face of rapid legalization across the United States
Although the law states that people found to participate in online gambling may face fines and prison sentences, few if any players have ever been indicted on similar charges. Running an offshore sportsbook, though, is a whole other matter, as Dion De Cesare, a former Florida nightclub owner, has come to learn the hard way.
Operating Illegal Gambling Sites Is No-Go
De Cesare has been handed down a 71-month prison sentence as he was found guilty of running an illegal sportsbook out of Costa Rica in the past seven years. De Cesare, 54, who is also the former owner of the Renegades nightclub, is said to have operated his sports betting website from May 2015 through October 2022.
The sentence comes at a time when Florida is legalizing sports gambling in a slightly unorthodox way through a tribal gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. De Cesare has admitted fault in the matter, as he already pled guilty and sought a lighter sentence. He was brought on multiple charges, including conspiracy to commit money laundering, illegal sports business operations, prostitution, and tax evasion.
He ran the Whispers All Girls Staff and NXT clubs from 2008 through 2022, and it’s where the alleged prostitution happened, although the properties were not openly advertised as such. He was arrested earlier.
Each of these charges is serious on its own, so De Cesare’s sentence length is partly a reflection of his willingness to work with the court and admit fault in the matter. US District Court Judge Robin L. Rosenberg has also ordered De Cesare to pay $1 million in back taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.
Government Comes After De Cesare’s Assets
This though is nothing compared to the government’s attempt to seize De Cesare’s assets which are worth $10 million, and include various properties, storage facilities, luxury goods, and vehicles.
De Cesare was finally arrested at the Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport in 2019, following anonymous tips into his alleged illegal businesses and operations. The man was investigated by several law enforcement agencies, including the IRS, Homeland Security, and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
De Cesare pled guilty to all aforementioned charges in January this year, and his sentencing only happened now. He could have ultimately got a cumulative sentence of 35 years, which has now been reduced to six years.