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JAY COHEN CONVICTED OF OPERATING AN OFF-SHORE SPORTS BETTING BUSINESS

The DOJ press release announcing Jay Cohen's conviction.



U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Southern District of New York

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CONTACT: U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
MARVIN SMILON, HERBERT HADAD
PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
(212) 637-2600

JOSEPH V. DE MARCO
(212) 637-2203
TERESA A. PESCE
(212) 637-2208

For Immediate Release
February 28, 2000

PRESS RELEASE

JAY COHEN CONVICTED OF OPERATING AN OFF-SHORE SPORTS BETTING BUSINESS
THAT ACCEPTED BETS FROM AMERICANS OVER THE INTERNET

MARY JO WHITE, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that JAY COHEN was convicted today in Manhattan federal court after a two-week trial of operating a sports betting business that illegally accepted bets and wagers on sporting events from Americans over the Internet and telephones. COHEN was convicted of conspiracy to violate the Wire Wager Act and seven substantive violations of the Wire Wager Act in connection with his operation of World Sports Exchange ("WSE").
COHEN was the first defendant to stand trial in a series of Internet offshore sports gambling cases that were the first prosecutions brought under the federal Wire Wager Act. Ten defendants have previously pled guilty.

At trial, the evidence demonstrated that Cohen, president of WSE, a sports betting company located in Antigua, caused WSE to take bets on various sporting events and contests from Americans. As the evidence at trial demonstrated, among other things, COHEN solicited Americans to call WSE through the use of toll-free 800 telephone numbers, and to contact WSE via WSE’s Internet website. The Wire Wager Act makes it a crime to, among other things, use telephone lines in interstate or foreign commerce for the placement of sportsbets, or for the transmission of information assisting in the placing of bets on sporting events and contests. As demonstrated at trial, through advertisements placed in various United States newspapers and magazines, WSE invited customers from throughout the United States to contact WSE by telephone or by Internet and open a sports betting account; to wire transfer money to WSE to fund that account; and then to bet on American sporting events and contests using that account.

In March 1998, 21 other defendants were also charged for their involvement in the operation of offshore sportsbooks that took bets from Americans via the Internet and telephones. Ten of those defendants subsequently pled guilty in Manhattan federal court to conspiring to violate the Wire Wager Act; three pled guilty to related misdemeanor counts; and seven, including Steve Schillinger, Spencer Hanson, and Haden Ware, co-conspirators of COHEN involved in the operation of WSE, remain as fugitives.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 23, 2000, before Chief United States District Judge THOMAS P. GRIESA of the Southern District of New York, when COHEN faces a maximum term of 5 years in prison on the conspiracy count and 2 years in prison on each of the seven substantive Wire Wager Act violations. In addition, on each count COHEN faces a maximum fine of $250,000, or twice the amount of profits derived from his operation of WSE.

COHEN, 33, originally from Woodmere, New York, lives in San Francisco, California Assistant United States Attorneys JOSEPH V. DE MARCO and TERESA A. PESCE are in charge of the prosecution.



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More information on: Internet gambling
More information on: Electronic Commerce
More information on: Prosecuting Crimes Facilitated by the Internet

Go to . . . CCIPS Home Page || Justice Department Home Page
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Last updated March 14, 2000
usdoj-crm/mis/mdf

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