Published Monday, March 22, 2021
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services
For at least a decade, three men from the United States of America have admitted to participating in a longtime illegal gambling business operated from Costa Rica.
According to the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Georgia, the men surnamed Mobley, 44; Cates, 50, and Rees, 59, entered guilty pleas in the federal charges with violating the Prohibition of an Illegal Gambling Business. Mobley also pled guilty to Fraud and False Statements.
As described in court documents and testimony, Mobley operated as a “bookie” for an illegal sports betting operation for at least the past 10 years in Burke County, at first collecting bets and paying out winnings himself, and later through a sports betting website operated from Costa Rica.
According to the Department of Justice, in 2015, Mobley merged his operation and began splitting his profits with a smaller gambling ring.
From 2015 to 2017, Mobley cashed bettor’s checks totaling approximately $220,000 at his parent’s check-cashing business which operated out of a shop located in Girard, Ga. To help conceal the growing amount of cash involved in the transactions, Mobley enlisted the assistance of Cates, who admitted that he funneled approximately $250,000 in gambling proceeds through a tire store in return for money and favors from Mobley.
During this period, Mobley admitted filing false information on his income tax returns to conceal the amount of proceeds from the illegal gambling operation.
In accordance with the plea agreement, Mobley faces a negotiated sentence of 12 months plus one day in federal prison and has forfeited $340,084. He also agrees to pay $207,716 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service, IRS, and Georgia Department of Revenue, and pay a fine of $2,000.
Cates agreed to the forfeiture of $100,000.
After plea hearings before U.S. District Court Chief Judge J. Randal Hall, each of the three men were released on bond pending sentencing and formal acceptance of the plea agreement at a later date.
“These men participated in an illegal gambling operation for at least a decade in the Waynesboro (Georgia) area, eventually funneling business through a foreign-based website,” Acting U.S. Attorney David H. Estes said. “But even that offshore venture wouldn’t keep them out of the reach of diligent law enforcement professionals who turned the tables on this illicit operation.”
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