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Feds Let Online Gamblers Lay Claim to BETonSPORTS' Founder Gary Kaplan's $43 Million, Beginning Today

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Gary Kaplan, founder of the now-defunct online gambling business BETonSPORTS, delivered a big win to the U.S. Department of Justice last week when he pleaded guilty to racketeering and fraud. Part of the plea-bargain included Kaplan's forfeiture of more than $43.65 million in proceeds he acquired from running the billion-dollar betting operation in Costa Rica.

The feds have wasted no time in making available that $43.65 million to bettors and others who spent money with BETonSPORTS and Kaplan. Today marks the publication of the government's official notice that anyone who thinks they may have a legal claim to the money can file a written petition to the federal court in St. Louis. (The notice is filed on www.forfeiture.gov, but it's pretty well buried, so Daily RFT has provided all the relevant info at the end of this post.)

The feds' case against BETonSPORTS is the largest online gambling prosecution to date in the U.S., and it ensnared multiple co-conspirators, including Kaplan's brother, Neil Kaplan, and sister, Lori Kaplan Multz. They each pleaded guilty on June 22.

Gary Kaplan will be sentenced on October 27. Under a deal struck between prosecutors and his attorneys, he faces between 41 and 51 months in federal prison.

Kaplan has called the St. Louis County Justice Center home since his dramatic arrest two years ago. His wife and kids took up residence in a mansion on the ritzy Portland Place. Kaplan was the subject of a Riverfront Times feature story in 2007. 
    Following is the notice from the U.S. Department of Justice:

Notice is hereby given that on August 14, 2009, in the case of U.S. v. Gary Stephen Kaplan, Court Case Number S5-4:06CR337 CEJ, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri entered an Order condemning and forfeiting the following property to the United States of America:

Approximately $43,650,000.00 in U.S. Currency presently held by the United States District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, in Bank of America account number XXXXX5233 which was transferred on or about July 31, 2009, from Leecroft Investments Group's Swiss bank account at Banque Privee Edmond de Rothschild S.A., Account number XXXXX0347 (09-IRS-000847).

The United States hereby gives notice of its intent to dispose of the forfeited property in such manner as the United States Attorney General may direct. Any person, other than the defendant(s) in this case, claiming interest in the forfeited property must file a Petition within 60 days of the first date of publication (August 18, 2009) of this Notice on this official government internet web site, pursuant to Rule 32.2 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and 21 U.S.C. 853(n)(1). This petition must be filed with the Clerk of the Court, 111 South 10th St., Suite 3.300, St. Louis, MO 63102, and a copy served upon Assistant United States Attorney Charles S. Birmingham, Thomas F. Eagleton Courthouse, 11 South Tenth Street, 20th Floor, St. Louis, MO 63102. The petition shall be signed by the petitioner under penalty of perjury and shall set forth the nature and extent of the petitioner's right, title or interest in the forfeited property, the time and circumstances of the petitioner's acquisition of the right, title and interest in the forfeited property and any additional facts supporting the petitioner's claim and the relief sought, pursuant to 21 U.S.C. 853(n).

Following the Court's disposition of all petitions filed, or if no such petitions are filed, following the expiration of the period specified above for the filing of such petitions, the United States shall have clear title to the property and may warrant good title to any subsequent purchaser or transferee.



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