A 54-year-old Boca Raton, FL, resident has been sentenced to 48 months in prison. Randy Craig Levine used three websites to defraud victims with promises of opening gambling accounts, but he used the money for personal expenditures. Although the fraud occurred between 1999 and 2004, Levine was on the run for 15 years before being captured in Austria in June 2020.
Fugitive Receives 48 Months in Prison for Wire Fraud, Perjury
Last Friday, a federal district judge in West Palm Beach, FL, sentenced a Boca Raton resident to 48 months in prison. The resident, who had been evading the law for the last 15 years, is going to prison for wire fraud and perjury. He was accused of convincing his victims to send him money to open casino gambling accounts in Las Vegas or offshore, but then used that money for personal expenditures.
This past May, the defendant, Randy Craig Levine, 54, pled guilty to federal wire fraud and perjury charges in federal district court in West Palm Beach. Levine’s case was investigated by the FBI West Palm Beach, while the prosecution was done by assistant US attorneys Robin Waugh and Stephanie Evans.
The recent sentence was announced by acting US attorney for the Southern District of Florida Juan Antonio Gonzalez and FBI’s Miami Field Office special agent in charge, George L. Piro. Besides 48 months in prison, Levine was also ordered by the judge to pay more than $600,000 in restitution to his victims, of which there are reportedly more than 25.
Levine Used Tipster Website to Defraud Victims
Levine was active from 1999 through July 2004, and has been evading the law for some 15 years. Back in his active period, he purchased and operated three online websites, www.baseballpicks.net, www.nflfootballpicks.tv and www.nbabasket-ballpicks.net. He was operating those websites from his home in Highland Beach, FL. According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), the sites’ domains and web hosting were paid via Pacific Oriental, which was a shell corporation.
Using the websites, Levine provided sports betting tips for registered users or users who had contacted him via a phone number listed online. Using aliases, fake accents and even playing sounds of casino floors, he lured the people who contacted him to send him money so that he can open an offshore or Las Vegas casino gambling account. Overall, he received money from more than 25 victims, but never opened an account for them, and used that money for personal expenditures.
15 Years on the Lam
It was in 2005 when the investigation against Levine was launched, which led to his passport being seized. However, he then applied for a new passport and, once he received it, he fled the US. Several years later, in 2008, he was arrested in Poland. At that time, Levine was using an alias. Although he was captured and was waiting for extradition, he managed to flee Polish authorities.
More than a decade passed without any sign from Levine after that. However, in May 2020, he was located in Austria. Local authorities identified him using facial recognition when Levine was using another alias to open a bank account. Consequently, he was arrested in June of last year in Austria and surrendered to the US in October.