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'Pioneer' in online sports betting pleads guilty

  • Story Highlights
  • BetOnSports founder pleads guilty to conspiracy, forfeits $43 million
  • As part of plea deal, Gary Kaplan agrees to forfeit $43 million in proceeds
  • Kaplan faces at least 41 months in prison
By Terry Frieden
CNN Justice Producer
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The man who founded and ran the online sports gambling operation BetOnSports pleaded guilty and agreed to forfeit more than $43 million in proceeds, prosecutors announced Friday.

Gary Kaplan, 50, entered a guilty plea to conspiracy and violating wagering laws in federal court in St. Louis, Missouri, authorities said. Justice Department officials said Kaplan last week had wired the entire forfeited amount from his Swiss bank account to the court.

"Today's guilty plea should have a lasting effect because Kaplan was not only the founder of BetOnSports, he was also one of the pioneers of illegal online gambling," said John V. Gillies, special agent in charge of the FBI office in St. Louis.

Kaplan's Costa Rica-based BetOnSports operation had nearly a million customers from the United States and other countries who bet more than a billion dollars, law enforcement officials said.

Under the plea agreement, Kaplan will be sentenced to between 41 and 51 months in prison when he goes before a judge on October 27. He has been held without bond since he was arrested in March 2007.

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