Breaking News: 27 Busted in NY

15 November 2006

Criminal charges have been brought against 27 individuals from three corporations in four states in connection with a billion-dollar-a-year gambling Web site, authorities said Wednesday.

Meris Campbell, a spokesperson for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, named Florida-based Web server providers Prolexic Technologies Inc. and Digital Solutions Inc., as well as New York-based Primary Development Inc., as defendants in the case.

One of the corporations is an offshore Internet company with an American counterpart, said Kevin Ryan, also a spokesperson for Brown.

The DA's office also named Maurice Friedman, CEO of Primary Development, as one of the 27 defendants.

Ryan said the case is "… one of the first times that a Web designer corporation and the companies that maintain the Web sites have been charged."

He said the arrests by the DA's office and the New York Police Department represent the first time that Internet gambling charges have been brought since the enactment of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) on Oct. 13, 2006.

Campbell said that the myriad charges resembled a "laundry list of things."

She also said arrests had been made in four states, and that New York authorities have initiated a $500 million asset forfeiture case, reportedly one of the largest in state history.

The charges come after a two-year international investigation that focused on Internet gambling.

"Our office—you know, everyone was involved," she said. "I can't just say who made the arrests. I mean, the F.B.I., special agents from Miami, special agents from New Jersey, The U.S. Attorney's office in Florida, special agents of the Nevada Gaming Control Board Control Division, the Miami-Dade police department, the Las Vegas metro police department, New Jersey state police and the Connecticut state police. It was a very coordinated effort."

Brown and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly scheduled a midday news conference, at which seized cash and assets—including artwork, jewelry, gold coins and sports memorabilia—were to be displayed.

Chris Krafcik is the editor of IGamingNews. He lives in St. Louis, Mo.