View Full Version : Carib Sports Raided By Feds

08-02-2003, 03:17 PM
By Torsten Ove, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh have moved to seize gold coins, a silver block and more than $1.6 million in cash from three men accused of running an illegal offshore gambling business in Antigua, Belize and the United States.

According to forfeiture documents filed in U.S. District Court here yesterday, the Internal Revenue Service is investigating Carib Sportsbook & Casino, Carib International and other corporate entities controlled by Jon R. Rogers of Toronto, Ohio; John A. Thorne of Tampa, Fla.; and another man identified as Peter T. Mowad.

The men, along with others not named, are under investigation for alleged unlawful transmission of wagering information, mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.

Since at least 1993 until this year, court papers indicate, the three men and others operated an offshore gambling business known as Carib in Antigua, Belize and the United States.

From locations in the Caribbean, they or their employees accepted millions of dollars in wagers on sports events from bettors in the United States, either online or by phone, according to the forfeiture document.

The men are also accused of diverting millions of dollars of illegal income from Carib and a gambling supply company they established in Florida, Draycott, for their own benefit.

In early June, the Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS executed a series of search warrants at Rogers' home and his warehouse in Ohio, Thorne's home in Tampa and several safe deposit boxes in Ohio and Pittsburgh.

In the Pittsburgh search on June 4, agents seized $700,000 from a safe deposit box controlled by Rogers at Citizens Bank on Steubenville Pike, in addition to 360 gold coins worth $122,400.

In Ohio, agents seized another $400,000 in cash from a safe deposit box controlled by Rogers at Sky Bank and another $400,000 from his box at National City bank.

The June 3 search of Rogers' warehouse turned up $45,000 in cash and a 100-ounce block of silver. Another $112,100 was taken from the Thorne home in Florida.

08-06-2003, 07:24 AM
Sportsbook Scene by Buzz Daly
August 4, 2003

Despite Seizure of $1.6 Million from a Consultant,
The Sky Is Not Falling on Carib Sports or Its Players

If we could collect a penny a word for all the speculation about offshore sportsbooks that appears on the Internet when the you-know-what hits the fan, we could afford to bet five-team parlays for the rest of our life and never cash a ticket.

Right now, one of the hot issues for bettors is not the start of the NFL exhibition season, it is a story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (www.post-gazette.com/localnews/20030802forfeit0802p8.asp) reporting on the seizure of cash, coins and bullion from locations in Ohio and Pittsburgh which belong to alleged leaders of Belize-based Carib Sportsbook & Casino (www.caribsports.com).

It would appear our ever-vigilant Feds found more than $1.6 million scattered among safe-deposit boxes containing large amounts of cash, along with caches of silver and gold coins owned by Jon Rogers. Of course, Rogers, who admits to being a consultant to Carib in areas of marketing, advertising and arranging for web design, had his property hidden in plain sight.

Having proved their excellence as golden retrievers, perhaps this crew of Feds might be dispatched to Iraq where the government swears weapons of mass destruction are hidden. And if our elected leaders say something, it must be 100 percent credible, right?

"I'm a gambler," Rogers exclaimed when we called him. "Money is the tool of my trade. My action might be a little bigger than the average player, but I report all such income and pay taxes. I am confident that when this plays itself out, the funds will be returned to me, and justice will be served," he stated.

Well aware that rampant and erroneous speculation on cyberspace posting forums could be harmful to Carib, Rogers emphasized that all the funds seized by the Feds were his, not Carib's, and that he had lawfully acquired them.

Despite government allegations to the contrary, "No Carib gambling-related business is conducted in the U.S. by me," said Rogers. "But as a long-time player, I do understand the gambler's mentality which translates into my being a very effective marketer/idea man for the management board that runs Carib. I fully expect to be back in the saddle before long."

The seizure took place in early June, and news didn't break until August 2. As far as we can discern, during the intervening two months, Carib has not been cited for slow or nonpayment to customers, nor have any other problems stemming from the action surfaced. The book has been conducting business as usual.

Right about here, some disclosure is in order. Carib has contracted to advertise in our weekly sports betting tabloid, Players' Choice, during the football season and sponsor a handicapping radio show we do with Kelso Sturgeon. We have no qualms about the company's ability to pay its bill.

Long-time readers of Sportsbook Scene know that Carib is one of our favorite books from both a reporting and betting perspective. We hope is it also well known that we are not a watch dog of the industry, and do not rate sportsbooks. However, we will continue to play at Carib. Not on its 20-cent baseball line, but with its attractive fantasy football props and 1.02 vig on Tuesdays during football season. Oh, yeah, we'll be in its pro football contest trying to win the $50,000 top prize.

Over the years, we have found Carib to be professionally managed and well capitalized enough that we never had second thoughts about doing business with it. The same is true of Antigua-based WSEX, when its founder Jay Cohen fought the Feds, was convicted of bookmaking and is now serving out his sentence.

Another book that has not missed a beat after its leader was convicted of an old bookmaking beef in the states is Costa Rica-based CRIS. Despite the current absence of Ron Sacco, it is still a well-regarded offshore operation.

In the case of Carib, Rogers wasn't operating as a principal, but as a consultant and advisor. While his expertise will be missed temporarily (certainly advertising in Players' Choice is an example of his marketing savvy), there is no reason to think Carib won't continue to be a solid citizen of the offshore establishment.

Please send questions, comments, etc., to buzzdaly@aol.com.