Internet Gambling Operators Indicted
Ben Ames, IDG News ServiceThu May 18, 9:00 AM ET
The fugitive owners of a gambling Web site based on the Caribbean
island of Antigua have laundered $250 million in profits, according to
charges brought by the U.S. Department of Justice.
WorldWide Telesports (WWTS) and its former owner, William Scott, and
employee Jessica Davis have been charged with 12 counts of conspiracy,
money laundering, and failure to disclose foreign financial accounts,
according to an indictment unsealed this week by the U.S. District
Court for the District of Columbia.
Justice Department investigators said Scott and Davis are fugitives
who have been on the run since being charged in a separate federal
money laundering case in New York in March 1998.
In January 2003, Scott sold WWTS to Betcorp, in Melbourne, Australia,
a publicly-traded company. Betcorp did not respond to requests for
comment in time for this article.
According to Betcorp, WWTS still offers Internet, telephone, and
wireless wagering to customers worldwide. In 2003, it accepted more
than $800 million in wagers and reporting earnings of $12.5
million. Over the company's lifetime, WWTS has paid out $6 billion to
winning bettors, according to Betcorp.
According to the Justice Department charges, American sports fans used
the WWTS Web site and toll-free numbers to bet on baseball,
basketball, football, hockey, and other sports. Between April 1998 and
October 2004, WWTS made $250 million from those wagers.
Scott and Davis are charged with laundering that money through a
series of shell corporations and foreign banks, and with violating the
Wager Wire Act, which prohibits using the Internet, telephone, and
U.S. mail for interstate and foreign gambling.
Since filing the case on April 7, 2005, Justice Department
investigators have been able to freeze $7 million of those funds after
seizing an account at a bank in Guernsey, located off the coast of
According to the indictment, Scott founded WWTS in Antigua and Barbuda
in 1995. He immediately began depositing the company's profits in
foreign bank accounts, for $37 million in 1999 and $49 million in
He renounced his U.S. citizenship in 2004 and moved from Ohio to his
homes on the Caribbean islands of Antigua and St. Maarten in the
Netherlands Antilles. Davis was a WWTS employee.
They kept the money in 11 accounts at banks scattered through Antigua,
St. Kitts, St. Maarten, Singapore, Canada, Australia, and the Channel
Islands. The indictment seeks to seize those accounts, as well as
WWTS property, computers and control of the Web site.
Copyright 2006 PC World Communications, Inc.