Jacktrade LLC, now a defunct Las Vegas company, has pleaded guilty to the interstate transmission of wagering information. This illegal gambling charge, which was related to offshore sports wagering, is a violation of the federal Wire Act which bans the transmission of illegal gambling information. It is commonly used against unlicensed sports-betting operations and bookies.
In 2005, International Racing Group (IRG) was purchased by Youbet.com. In 2006, federal agencies began an investigation of IRG and its sister company, Jacktrade. Federal investigators became aware of IRG while investigating the Jelinsky brothers, who operated a bookmaking business in Las Vegas and other locations. Federal investigators were tipped off to the Jelinsky brothers by an anonymous letter to the Nevada Gaming Control Board. The Nevada Gaming Commission and the State Gaming Control Board govern Nevada’s gaming industry.
According to court records, one of the Jelinsky brothers, Michael, recruited gamblers for IRG and IRG then paid him a commission. Jacktrade then routed sports bets illegally through offshore sites in the Caribbean. Specifically, gamblers placed horse and dog racing bets by calling the companies’ office in Curacao.
The secret investigation became public when Youbet.com revealed federal agents under the jurisdiction of the Las Vegas U.S. Attorney’s Office had searched Youbet.com’s office. Though Youbet.com shut down IRG after the raid, the investigation continued. A government asset forfeiture suit locked down under “super seal” protected grand jury information, wiretap information, and cooperating witnesses.
Under Jacktrade’s plea bargain, the company will forfeit more than $2 million in cash and other assets which were seized by federal agents more than five years ago.
Jacktrade’s president, Louis Tavano, owned IRG along with Richard Tavano and James Scott. Under the plea deal, none of these men will face prosecution.
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