LOS ANGELES - Federal authorities Thursday announced a series of cases tied to an illegal gambling operation going back 20 years, involving current and former professional athletes. According to officials, some fo the athletes were involved in the business, while others placed large bets on games.
Documents unsealed this week show the leaders involved in the scheme plan to plead guilty to operating an illegal gambling website based in Costa Rica, as well as failing to report profits from the site to the IRS.
Wayne Nix, 45, of Newport Coast, Edon Kagasoff, 44, of Lake Forest and Howard Miller, 63, of Gardena, have all been charged in the scheme. According to officials Nix, a former Minor League Baseball player in the Oakland Athletics' organization, began a bookmaking business around 20 years ago, developing the business using his contacts in professional sports. Documents also allege he hired three former Major League Baseball players to assist with the business, but those players were not named.
According to officials Kagasoff joined the operation in 2014, and helped facilitate the online business. Officials say Nix, Kagasoff and Miller are all scheduled to be in court over the next few weeks.
Nix’s plea agreement, which authorities say is expected to be filed on April 11, details specific bets made through the site, including receiving payments for gambling losses from a professional football player, a Major League Baseball coach and a baseball analyst. The plea agreement also discusses a sports broadcaster who told Nix he was going to refinance his home to pay off gambling debts, among others.
Earlier this month, the Justice Department announced cases involving two others charged in the scheme — Kenneth Arsenian, 52, of Newport Beach, and Joseph Castelao, 56, of Rancho Palos Verdes, the alleged owner of the gambling site. Both have pleaded guilty.
Investigators with Homeland Security and the IRS are continuing to investigate this case.
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