Ex-PMLers target of gambling probe

Written by Craig Cassidy, The Union Democrat April 15, 2013 12:53 pm

A federal grand jury in Oklahoma has indicted two people with Groveland ties on allegations they operated an illegal online sports bookmaking operation that took in more than $1 billion in bets.

Bartice “Bart” A. King, 42, and King’s ex-wife Serena M. King, 43, are among 34 people and 23 businesses named in the 95-page March indictment, unsealed last week.

 

It accuses all of the defendants of conspiracy and violating federal racketeering, money laundering and anti-gambling laws. The defendants are also accused of violating illegal-gambling statutes in California, Colorado, Florida, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma and Texas.

The indictment says Bart King, who also went by “Luke,” in 2002 helped launch illegal Internet gambling and sports-betting websites through a company called “MVP Sports,” based in San Jose, Costa Rica. 

King a year later renamed the firm “Legendz Sports” and moved it to Panama City, Panama, the indictment says.

MVP and Legendz, though mostly hosting websites on servers outside the United States, offered sports betting to a mainly U.S. clientele, in violation of federal anti-gambling statutes, the indictment says.

The indictment names King as the founder and primary operator of Legendz and several sub-companies involved in collecting and paying out money, and laundering funds. His ex-wife, Serena King, was involved in two businesses that handled Legendz’ transactions, the indictment says.

Others named include King’s alleged Legendz businesses partners Spiros “The Greek” Athanas, 53, of Gilford, N.H., and Robert “Bob” Rolly, 79, of Key West, Fla.; plus about 30 “executive officers,” “agents” and “bookies.”

The Kings now reside in Spring, Texas, according to the indictment. However, they once listed their residence as a home on Breckenridge Drive, in Pine Mountain Lake, between 2001 and 2008, pubic records show.

A few PML area residents said federal agents visited the Kings’ former neighborhood Wednesday, the day the indictment was unsealed.

The FBI’s Sacramento field office Sunday referred calls to the Justice Department office in Oklahoma City, where many of the alleged illegal gambling transactions took place.

The office late Sunday confirmed via email, “There was search in Groveland, Calif., associated with this case,” but didn’t go into details.

The defendants each face up to 55 years in prison if convicted of all changes, according to a prepared statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In addition, the indictment seeks forfeiture of at least $1 billion in assets including real estate, a gas lease, bank accounts, brokerage and investment accounts, certificates of deposit, IRAs, website domain names, a Saberliner business jet, and several other vehicles.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oklahoma City confirmed 22 defendants, including Serena King, were taken into custody last Wednesday. Bart King was arrested Thursday.

U.S. Attorney Sanford Coats said the charges followed a multi-year investigation by the FBI and Internal Revenue Service.