BetonSports, controversial founder and fugitive from US justice, Stephen Gary Kaplan, after over eight months on the run, was arrested today at a hotel in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. The arrest was made by the country's national police, accompanied by US State Department and FBI officials.
All of this was triggered by the arrest on July seventeenth of last year, while in United States transit of its CEO, David Carruthers, BetOnSports plc officials and others were indicted in July 2006 by a federal grand jury on various charges of conspiracy, fraud and racketeering. According to the indictment, BetOnSports.com, which is based in Costa Rica, misleadingly advertised itself as the "World's Largest Legal and Licensed Sportsbook."
BetonSports plc was a publicly traded holding company that owns a number of Internet sportsbooks and casinos.
Carruthers, who was dismissed shortly after being arrested, remains on bail and confined to St. Louis pending trial, with no date yet set. In November, BetOnSports said it would permanently stop accepting bets from U.S.-based customers, as part of the company's settlement deal with US authorities. "Mr. Kaplan was arrested at a hotel in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, without incident by the Dominican National Police, the U.S. State Department and the FBI," Roland Covington, Special Agent in Charge, FBI St. Louis Office, said in a statement Friday.
"The U.S. State Department, specifically in Costa Rica, has provided and will continue to provide, vital assistance in relation to all aspects of this investigation including the apprehension and deportation of fugitives such as Gary Kaplan."
In July, Lawyers for online betting and gambling company BetOnSports PLC failed to appear in federal court in St. Louis.
Kaplan is personally charged with twenty felony violations of federal laws including: the Wire Act, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Conspiracy, interstate transportation of gambling paraphernalia, interference with the administration of Internal Revenue laws and tax evasion.
After Kaplan's arrest in the Dominican Republic, he was sent by Dominican authorities to Puerto Rico for an initial appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge, according to a release from US officials in St. Louis. The Magistrate Judge will be asked to order that Kaplan be sent to St. Louis immediately or be held in custody pending a removal hearing to transfer him to St. Louis and for a detention hearing to hold him without bond. Currently, the exact date of Kaplan's return to St. Louis is unknown.
BetOnSports co-owner Norman Steinberg, according to the DoJ release, is still at large, as is co-defendant Peter Wilson.
The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Carol Jackson and no trial date has been set, as pretrial motion proceedings continue.