Canadian man pleads guilty in web gambling scheme

Tue May 11, 2010 6:34pm EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Canadian man pleaded guilty to illegally using the wires to transmit bets and wagering information in connection with an alleged $350 million Internet gambling scheme, federal prosecutors in Manhattan said.

Douglas Rennick, 34, entered the plea on Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Sidney Stein, the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.

Rennick agreed to forfeit $17.1 million, and could face six to 12 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines, which are advisory. Sentencing is scheduled for September 15.

Prosecutors accused Rennick and various accomplices from 2007 through June 2009 of transferring more than $350 million to U.S. accounts from a Cyprus bank account to pay U.S. residents who wanted to cash out gambling winnings.

According to an indictment last August, Rennick told U.S. banks that his accounts would be used for the issuance of rebate and refund checks, payroll processing and other legal purposes.

Instead, he used them to launder money for Internet companies that offered poker, blackjack, slot machines and other casino games, the indictment said.

The government originally charged Rennick with conspiring to commit bank fraud, money laundering and engaging in illegal gambling, and could have ordered him to forfeit $565.9 million, court records show.

Prosecutors did not identify Rennick's hometown. The defendant's lawyer was not immediately available for comment.

The case is U.S. v Rennick, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 09-00752.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)