Federal agents believe that Poeta was operating a sportsbook out of his butcher shop. Poeta found himself jammed up in 2007 when federal agents attempted to collect on a judgment from Adam Resnick. Resnick, a degenerate gambler, went to prison over a $10 million check-kiting scheme that also saw the demise of Universal Federal Bank. Resnick likely found himself in the hole and owing Poeta money.
However, federal agents never brought charges against Poeta until last month. Poeta pleaded guilty to a gambling charge and form filing a fraudulent tax return.
What Was the Scheme?
The case against Poeta relates back to the check-kiting charges against Resnick. Prosecutors argued that Poeta took in nearly $900,000 in lost wages from 2001 to 2002, and at least some of these wages were paid off from funds illegally acquired via check kiting.
Worse still, Resnick wrote a book in 2007 entitled Bust: How I Gambled and Lost a Fortune, Brought Down a Bank — and Lived to Pay For It. The book details how his degenerate gambling resulted in the destruction of his bank and his prison sentence. In the book, a local deli owner is referred to as Luciano “Lucky” Petrelli.
In 2008, Resnick testified that he would go into Poeta’s deli to place, collect, or pay on bets. In the book, he describes his addiction and the price he paid for his addiction.
Federal Gambling Charges
Gambling is a multi-million-dollar industry, but it is also a heavily regulated industry. According to federal law, illegal gambling is any form of gambling that falls outside the regulatory infrastructure of the trade. This includes access to foreign or otherwise illegal sports-betting websites.
However, not only is the law constantly changing, but some provisions of the law (like abolishing sports betting) have been deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. More often than not, it is left to the state to draft legislation on gambling and apply that legislation how it sees fit.
As of right now, however, all forms of sports gambling conducted over the internet are illegal. That does not mean that sites on foreign soil cannot operate on the internet; they simply cannot operate within the United States.
What Poeta did, according to the federal government, was to provide access to these illegal betting websites, taking a cut. That is illegal, at least for now. While most federal gambling statutes do not require long sentences, there are some instances in which these crimes can be charged under RICO, and it depends heavily on which statute is used to prosecute gambling.
The Illegal Gambling Business Act of 1995, for example, carries a maximum sentence five years while prosecutions conducted under The Travel Act can have maximum sentences of 20 years. RICO prosecutions have a maximum of 25 years.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing charges related to illegal gambling or other unlawful business practices, call Chicago criminal defense attorney, David Freidberg, today to learn more about how we can keep you out of prison.