Thursday, Aug. 15 ABC News reported a major internet gambling bust was made by Plano Police Department and federal agents. It was a crackdown 12 years in the making and worth more than $5.4 billion. Federal investigators seized sports cars, shoes, stacks of gold coins, photos, piles of cash, and sports memorabilia which included such items as a basketball jersey autographed by Dirk Nowitzki, a pair of cleats autographed by Tiger Woods, and a helmet signed by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, among many others. Sports betting can be big business and, in this case, proved to be even bigger via the internet.
Plano Police chief Gregory Rushin said this was “By far the largest book-making case in our district’s history.” The $5.4 billion was made in bets through the internet. Receiving an anonymous letter in February 2001 tipping them off to the illegal gambling operation, Plano Police Department set up an elaborate undercover operation along with the Internal Revenue Service. A team was formed in 2001 but it took time to infiltrate the north Texas illegal gambling operation. “The team used undercover operatives who acted as bettors,” explained Chief Rushin.
The ring, called the Reed Organization, was an 18-man illegal booking operation named after and headed by businessman Albert Sydney Reed Jr., 57, of Southlake, Texas. As ringleader, Reed recruited the other 17 operatives, all but one of them from north Texas, to operate off-shore betting through various internet sites. Chief Rushin said, “Some of the gamblers used the proceeds. They are sports bookies and they are sports enthusiasts, and so they purchased the items ... here.” Police executed 79 warrants, seizing illegal assets. All 18 men plead guilty. Reed was sentenced to a year in prison. Eleven of his 17 operatives got probation and six await sentencing.
The Plano Police Department got more than $4 million in forfeiture money.