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Five Billion Dollar Sports Gambling Ring Busted In North Texas

by Angela Martin & Stephanie Lucero
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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Stephanie Lucero
Stephanie is an Emmy Award winning veteran reporter for CBS 11 N...
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PLANO (CBS 11 NEWS) –It was more than a decade in the making, but local and federal officials announce they busted a sports betting ring that handled more than 5-billion dollars.

It started with an anonymous letter to Plano police. ‪ A Plano undercover officer spent years peeling back the layers of what turned out to be a sports gambling scheme with international connections — and some bettors placing incredible wagers.

“Six or seven figures; and obviously we are in the big time here,” said John Bales, US Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas.

How big? Authorities confiscated stacks of gold and cash, with one safe containing more than a million dollars, according to investigators.  Valuable sports collectibles were seized and will be sold at auction – and expensive real estate, including condos in Las Vegas.

“These were pricey, million dollar condominiums,” Assistant US Attorney Andrew Stover told CBS 11 News.

The ringleader, identified as Albert Reed, Jr. of Southlake, also owned a 2-million dollar penthouse in Dallas, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

In fact, the whole sports gambling operation was run via the internet from North Texas to virtually every state. The IRS and US attorney joined the probe in 2006. They say Reed was at the top of a pyramid organization and took a cut of every transaction beneath him.

According to Stover, “The more money and the more subagents you get to bring in money in the gambling operation, the more money that gets pushed up to the top and the more that is made.”

‪Transactions were run through servers and websites on the Caribbean island of Curacao, where gambling is legal; transferring money into the United States is not.

‪All 18 defendants have pleaded guilty to a range of crimes including money laundering, illegal gambling, and tax violations.

  • Albert Sydney Reed, Jr., 57, of Southlake, Texas, was convicted of prohibition of illegal gambling business and sentenced to 12 months and 1 day in federal prison.
  • Curtis Wayne Higgins, 45, of Proper, Texas, was convicted of engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from illegal gambling and sentenced to 5 years of probation.
  • David Mullins, 48, of Coppell, Texas, was convicted of engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from illegal gambling and sentenced to 5 years of probation.
  • Dean Hartley Maddox, 69, of Houston, was convicted of willful failure to file a tax return and sentenced to 18 months of probation.
  • Carl Francis, 71, of Dallas, was convicted of prohibition of illegal gambling business and was sentenced to 3 years of probation, 6 months home confinement and 200 hours of community service.
  • Andrew Harris McElroy, 44, of Dallas, was convicted of engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from illegal gambling and sentenced to 3 years of probation.
  • Steven Arnold Bell, 58, of Arlington, Texas, was convicted of prohibition of illegal gambling business and sentenced to 2 years of probation and 6 months home detention.
  • Neil Marcus Gerson, 51, of Frisco, Texas, was convicted of prohibition of illegal gambling business and sentenced to 2 years of probation.
  • Robert Primm, 71, of Fort Worth, was convicted of a violation of willful failure to file a tax return and sentenced to 6 months of probation.
  • Charles Albert Brawner, 66, of McKinney, Texas, was convicted of engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from illegal gambling and sentenced to 5 years of probation.
  • Adam John Brady, 36, of Irving, Texas, was convicted of prohibition of illegal gambling business and sentenced to 2 years of probation.
  • William Craig Robertson, 42, of Rockwall, Texas, was convicted of prohibition of illegal gambling business and sentenced to 3 years of probation.
  • Thomas Applegate, 45, of Carrollton, Texas pleaded guilty to prohibition of illegal gambling business and is awaiting sentencing.
  • William Michael Christopher, 56, of Fort Worth, pleaded guilty to prohibition of illegal gambling business and is awaiting sentencing.
  • Larry Dean Coralli, 78, of Addison, Texas, pleaded guilty to prohibition of illegal gambling business and is awaiting sentencing.
  • Brent Lee Coralli, 48, of Plano, Texas, pleaded guilty to prohibition of illegal gambling business and is awaiting sentencing.
  • Robert Roy Hodges, 71, of Dallas, pleaded guilty to prohibition of illegal gambling business and is awaiting sentencing.
  • Gregg Richard Merkow, 49, of Plano, Texas, pleaded guilty to prohibition of illegal gambling business and is awaiting sentencing.

Of the 18 men who have plead guilty, only Reed is getting any prison time, and that is a one year and one day.

Bales told CBS 11 News it struck him as unusual…but it’s the law.  “They are receiving what I would consider lenient sentences,” he said.  “But sentencing guidelines for a gambling case are quite low and actually provide for first time offenders to get probation.”

To date, the U.S. Government has collected more than $10 million from the gambling ring’s illegal profits.  Nearly $5 million was presented to the Plano police for the department’s role in the investigation.

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