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Illegal Online Gambling Ring Based in Costa Rica Busted By Feds

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Sports betting is as popular a pastime in the United States as poker, but the consequences of running online sports books and poker rooms could not be more different.

While most poker rooms have pulled out of allowing United States customers, sports books have continued to do business as usual. Some online sports books are finding out the hard way that the U.S. is not going to take lightly to this illegal activity.

Organizers who ran the online sports book "BetWestSports.com", have been arrested by federal authorities and now will face charges relating to gambling.

Patrick Cicalese, Carmen Cicalese, and Francis "Butch" Pugliese, were all arrested and charged with gambling and conspiracy counts. The men are accused of taking money from both gamblers and bookies. They would then allow bets to be placed through the website.

Federal investigators claim that the group made millions of dollars with the illegal operation. The website itself claims to not be a betting website, but one that is a call center and an accounting service for land based sports book operations.

Investigators also have taped conversations of the men talking about bets and payments of bets that were being made online. The men have plead not guilty to the charges on Monday at their arraignment.

The ring allegedly used a Pakistan based money organization to get money back and forth between the United States and their offshore accounts.

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