Arrests Made in Internet Gambling Investigation
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 10, 2013|
ALBANY, NY—United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian announced the filing of criminal complaints in the Northern District of New York in Albany that charge four individuals with federal money laundering and gambling felonies arising from a multi-agency investigation of an international Internet gambling operation. Four additional defendants were charged with New York State gambling offenses.
Philip Gurian, of Boca Raton, Florida, and Michele Lasso, of Delray Beach, Florida, are charged by federal complaint with the crime of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. If convicted, Gurian and Lasso each face a maximum of 20 years in prison. Jay Goldman, of Lake Worth, Florida, and Alan Gould, of Plantation, Florida, are each charged by federal complaint with transmission of wagering information. If convicted, Goldman and Gould face a maximum of two years in prison. All four individuals charged with federal felonies were arrested at their homes in Florida and appeared before United States Magistrate Judge William Matthewman in the Southern District of Florida. Gurian has been detained pending a detention hearing in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Monday, April 15. Lasso, Gould, and Goldman were ordered released on bond and other pretrial conditions and were directed to appear in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of New York before United States Magistrate Judge Randolph F. Treece on April 22, 2013, at 2:00 p.m.
Craig Hayner, Christopher Socola, Timothy Robillard, James Cerniglia, all of Clifton Park, and Joseph Carucci of Latham, are charged in Albany County by felony complaints alleging enterprise corruption. Robillard and Cerniglia are correction officers with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office. These charges are the result of a joint investigation initiated by the Albany County Sheriff’s Office and joined by the Albany County District Attorney’s Office, the Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, the Broward County Money Laundering Task Force, and the Office of the United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York. The federal case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert L. Sharpe and Jeffrey Coffman.
As a part of the ongoing investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service applied for and obtained a total of 15 search warrants in Florida, New Hampshire, and California and a seizure warrant for numerous bank accounts in the Northern District of New York. The Albany County Sheriff’s Office applied for and obtained two search warrants for locations in Albany County. Seizures so far seized have included more than $1 million in U.S. currency.
U.S. Attorney Hartunian said, “Gambling on sporting events is strictly regulated and, in most cases, prohibited outright under federal and state law. Internet gambling operations may be perceived as offering privacy and anonymity to bookmakers and bettors, but the outstanding cooperative efforts of the federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies who participated in this investigation are shining a spotlight through the electronic mist onto the alleged conduct of these defendants.”
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple stated, “Today’s arrests end one phase of a multi-year investigation. We will continue to work with the District Attorney, U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the FBI to combat illegal gambling and seek out other officers that may have been involved in this bookmaking ring.”
Albany County District Attorney P. David Soare sstated,“While interstate investigations can be very lengthy and resource-intensive, when partnerships between local, state, and federal authorities are leveraged, we are all able to hold individuals accountable to the fullest extent of the laws available to each agency. The success of this investigation was due to cooperation between several law enforcement partners, and I thank United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian, Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple and his staff of investigators, and the FBI and the IRS for their respective roles in this long-term case. I would also like to recognize the efforts of Saratoga County District Attorney Jim Murphy and his staff for their assistance throughout this investigation.”
Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy, III said, “We are very fortunate to have so many law enforcement agencies and prosecutorial offices in the area that work so well together. This investigation exemplifies such a collaborative effort because this particular criminal enterprise extended well beyond one jurisdiction and required the endeavors of many law enforcement agencies to bring about the common goal of holding these individuals responsible for their actions.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge Andrew W. Vale stated, “I commend the long-term collaborative efforts of our law enforcement partners throughout this complex investigation.”
IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Toni Weirauch stated, “IRS-Criminal Investigation is always eager to work with our law enforcement partners on complex financial investigations. The investigation of money laundering and the underlying crime that laundering seeks to conceal remains a top priority for us.”
A criminal complaint is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.