FBI busts 4 Central Floridians in $1 billion illegal sports gambling ring

34 people, 23 entities indicted in Legendz Sports enterprise

Published On: Apr 10 2013 04:40:40 PM EDT   Updated On: Apr 10 2013 05:44:19 PM EDT
Money-Bills
LONGWOOD, Fla. -

Four Central Florida men have been charged for their involvement in an illegal online sports gaming business during a FBI raid that busted 34 people and 23 entities, which allegedly solicited more than $1 billion in illegal bets.

Michael Lawhorn, 47; Derek Hewitt, 52; Joseph McFadden, 56;  and Paul Tucker, 48 were among the 34 alleged employees, members and associates of the ongoing Legendz Sports enterprise or the 23 corporate defendants used by Legendz to facilitate gambling operations,  operate as payment processors, own websites and domain names used in the enterprise, launder gambling funds and make payouts to gamblers. One of the websites is set up to take bets on Wednesday's Orlando Magic game.

Lawhorn's home was raided on Tuesday on Canterclub Trail in Longwood. Authorities said the operation was set up in other countries like Panama but profits were being laundered and funneled to the U.S.

The group also employed a team who who do face-to-face gambling transactions in the U.S. Toll-free numbers were set up to place bets from Panama.

If convicted, the defendants face up to 20 years in prison for racketeering, up to 20 years in prison for conspiring to commit money laundering, up to 10 years in prison for money laundering, and up to five years in prison for operating an illegal gambling business.