Two Las Vegas men have been arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit 13 counts of wire fraud, defrauding 600 investors out of $29 million in a sports betting scheme.
Las Vegas Conspirators Defraud 600 Individuals on Sports Betting
Two individuals based in Las Vegas have reportedly run a sports betting pyramid that defrauded over 600 individuals, 8NewsNow reported. The duo, one John Frank Thomas III, 75, and one Thomas Joseph Becker, 72, were charged with one count of conspiracy each to commit 13 counts of wire fraud.
According to the prosecutor, the pair incentivized sports bettors who wanted to bet on the black market and accepted wagers varying from $10,000 to $500,000. Thomas and Becker reportedly stole $29 million in what they advertised as an “investment fund.”
The pair claimed that by investing in pre-select companies, to name Sports Psychometrics; Vegas Basketball Club; Vegas Football Club; Einstein Sports Advisory; Quantum Sports Advisory; Wellington Sports Club; and Welscorp, Inc as per 8NewsNow’s report, investors could have received a solid return on their bid.
Thomas and Becker told investors that the potential return on $100 would amount to 140% – 180% return on the wagered amount. Once submitted to the pair, the investors’ funds were locked out with the victims unable to withdraw them as Thomas and Becker would refuse to release any funds.
Preserving the Good Name of Nevada’s Gambling Industry
The money accumulated in the scheme was then spent on personal items, dining, home improvement, housing, transportation, and other. Looking into the case, U.S. Attorney Trutanich reacted quickly and said that Nevada is a benchmark for gambling standards, and that authorities would continue to eradicate any attempts to undermine that reputation.
Thomas and Becker will appear in front of a judge on January 2, 2021 and if they are convicted, they could go to prison for at least 20 years, as well as pay a $250,000 fine each. Betting fraud has been commonplace in Nevada, despite the state enjoying a legal status.
Earlier this year, one Robert Gorotdetsky, 27, pleaded guilty to defrauding a single victim out of $9.6 million. Gorotdetsky convinced his victim to invest an initial $953,000 and then forged documents to prove that their investment had grown from that sum in 2014 to over $2 million in 2017.
Later, the victim agreed to hand Gorotdetsky another $8.74 million that he claimed he would use on sports betting contests and drive return.