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Financial Crimes

5 suspects arrested by ICE in off-shore illegal gambling operation

NEW ORLEANS - Six Louisiana men were charged, and five of them arrested Wednesday, in connection with an ongoing joint investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation Division, and the Louisiana State Police, into an offshore illegal gambling business.

Those charged were Ashley Perry, 33, and Shane Muscarello, 37 of Metairie, La.; William Bryant III, 39, of Kenner, La., Craig Goodwin, 49, of Kenner, La., David Theriot, 45, of Covington, La. and David Carazo, 40, of Mandeville, La. David Carazo is presently out of the country, however there is an outstanding warrant awaiting him when he returns to the United States.

The complaint alleges the defendants were involved in an illegal gambling business which employed the use of an offshore betting service based in Costa Rica. Bettors were provided with access to a Costa Rican website by the defendants that allowed the bettors to place bets on sporting events.

According to the complaint, the defendants set betting limits for each bettor and they would settle with the defendants locally. Allegedly, the money couriers would collect money to pay the off shore service as well as make payments to or collect money from other local and regional betting cells.

"ICE is pleased to have worked with the U. S. Attorney's office and assist in bringing about today's developments, which highlights potential violations including money laundering and illegal gambling," said Raymond R. Parmer, Jr., special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in New Orleans. "ICE investigates financial crimes that exploit vulnerabilities within the U.S. financial, trade, and transportation sectors that can easily be used by criminal organizations. ICE will continue to work to uncover illicit transactions involving financial crimes and together, with the local law enforcement community, remains resolved to disrupt criminal organizations that commit crimes against our society and our economy."

Special Agent Michael J. DePalma stated, "IRS-Criminal Investigations is united with the rest of the law enforcement community and the U.S. Attorney's Office in our resolve to investigate crimes that affect our society and the world economy. Special agents of IRS CI are premier financial investigators and will continue to use those skills to protect the public's interest."

"Illegal gambling is a crime we take seriously in Louisiana," said Col. Michael Edmonson, State Police Superintendent. "Through an investigation initiated by our department and through a cooperative effort with our federal partners in ICE and IRS, we have been able to identify a complex, organized criminal enterprise. The Louisiana State Police will continue to work in conjunction with our federal partners to expose these complex criminal networks and put a stop to them."

U.S. Attorney Jim Letten also indicated that this investigation is related to an ongoing investigation by the Organized Crime and Rackets Division of the Queens County, New York District Attorney's Office which yesterday announced the indictment of 49 defendants for illegal off-shore gambling.

If convicted, the defendants face a possible maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

The case is being prosecuted by the Chief of the Organized Crime Strike Force Unit, Mark A. Miller.