BetOnSports executive gets 33 months in U.S. prison

WASHINGTON Fri Jan 8, 2010 10:31pm GMT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The former chief executive of defunct British online offshore gambling company BetOnSports was sentenced on Friday to 33 months in prison after pleading guilty to racketeering and conspiracy charges, the U.S. Justice Department said.

It said British citizen David Carruthers, 52, who was sentenced by a federal judge in St. Louis, Missouri, had been the first major defendant in the case to plead guilty, and he had agreed to testify against his co-defendants if necessary.

His sentencing concluded a lengthy investigation and prosecution effort in the United States against BetOnSports, which had been a large offshore sports wagering business.

BetOnSports stopped operating in 2006, and customers lost between $7 million and $20 million, the Justice Department has said.

Carruthers was hired in 2000 and led the Costa Rica-based BetOnSports.com to a listing on the London Stock Exchange's AIM market. He was named director of the parent company, BetOnSports PLC in 2004.

"The prosecution and conviction of Carruthers is significant to the government's efforts at enforcement of U.S. laws against offshore Internet and telephone sports wagering businesses because Carruthers was both a foreign national and a top executive of BetOnSports," Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Holtshouser said.

(Reporting by James Vicini; Editing by Toni Reinhold)