June 17, 2015

Monmouth County, New Jersey Man Sentenced to 21 Months in Prison in Racketeering Conspiracy/Illegal Online Gambling Enterprise

NEWARK, NJ—A Monmouth County, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to 21 months in prison for his role in a racketeering conspiracy, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Michael O’Donnell, 51, Wall Township, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi, to an information charging him with conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO, statute by participating in the activities of Beteagle, an overseas Website that facilitated online sports betting. Judge Cecchi imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in this and other cases and statements made in court:

Joseph Graziano, 78, of Springfield, was the principal owner of Beteagle.com, a website located in Costa Rica and used to facilitate illegal online sports betting. Dominick Barone, 45, of Springfield, New Jersey, worked with Graziano in carrying out the daily activities of the website.

O’Donnell was given access to Beteagle and was considered an “agent” of the website. Before the advent of computerized betting, these agents would have been referred to as “bookmakers” or “bookies.” The agents had the ability to track the “sub-agents,” under them and the wagers placed by their bettors. The agent or sub-agent maintained a group of bettors (the “package”) and were responsible for those bettors.

O’Donnell was an agent who assisted in the illegal gambling business conducted through the website. To place bets online, the agent or sub-agent issued the bettor a username and password to access Beteagle. This access was not given online and no money or credits were made or transferred through the website. O’Donnell and his conspirators paid out winnings or collected losses in person. The agent or sub-agent paid a fee to the website for each bettor added to a package. O’Donnell collected money from bettors and then passed a portion of the proceeds to Barone in furtherance of the racketeering scheme.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Cecchi ordered O’Donnell to serve three years of supervised release and pay a $5,000 fine.

Graziano has pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme and is currently scheduled for sentencing on June 25, 2015. Barone was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel in Newark; the Bayonne Police Department, Special Investigations Unit, under the direction of Chief Drew Niekrasz; IRS-Criminal Investigation under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen; the N.J. State Police, under the direction of Superintendent Rick Fuentes; and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Moscato of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.