The United States Department of Justice and sportsbook operator, 5Dimes reached a settlement of $46.8 million. The settlement stems from an investigation launched by the Department of Justice, alleging that the company ran an illegal sports betting operation. Money laundering and wire fraud charges were also filed.
According to the report, the illegal gaming operation began in 2011, and the company intentionally tried to hide $46.8 million profit earned from unlawful practices. Owner Laura Varela will forfeit all of the money after a settlement was reached with the Eastern District of Pennsylvania US Attorney’s Office.
The federal government has repeatedly stated that offshore betting sites are operating illegally if they accept wagers from citizens of the United States. The feds have investigated 5Dimes before, and they issued massive fines to the sportsbook operator.
5Dimes was willing to accept the settlement in an effort to get the company back on track, but it is a significant blow to other offshore betting sites throughout the world. As the sports betting industry in the US continues to grow, the federal government is looking to protect the industry by cracking down on these operations.
Varela is now the owner of 5Dimes after her husband Tony Creighton was kidnapped and murdered in Costa Rica in September 2018. Varela is a citizen of Costa Rica, and the murder was allegedly tied to the company.
As a part of the settlement, the company was willing to admit that the funds were generated through illegal practices. These illegal activities include illegal transmission of gambling information, wire fraud, and money laundering.
A large portion of the money seized was not liquid as Creighton has laundered the money in other ways. Varela had to pay $15 million in cash to cover the settlement, but other rare coins and artifacts were also seized.
5Dimes Trying to Become Regulated in the US
The next step for 5Dimes will be to become a regulated sportsbook operator in the United States. The company has already incorporated 5D Americans LLC in Delaware, but it is looking for an even more prominent role in the industry.
According to a spokesperson with the company, 5Dimes is hoping to become a licensed and regulated sports betting operator in New Jersey. New Jersey has emerged as the leader in the US sports betting industry, and 5Dimes would love to turn things around in that state.
According to industry sources, it is highly unlikely that state regulators will give 5Dimes the necessary approval to start taking bets in the United States. Even though Varela will have the support of federal authorities, most states will stay away from 5Dimes as a sports betting operator.
Throughout this investigation, 5Dimes has continued to accept illegal wagers from bettors in the United States, and they have also directed customers to other offshore betting sites. These actions will complicate things when the company begins to apply for licenses in various states.