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Father, son reach plea deal over federal gambling charges

Three years ago, using backhoes, the Federal Bureau of Investigation dug up the yard of a private residence in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Investigators uncovered PVC pipes containing $1 million in cash, and the owner of the home and his son, along with 14 others, were later charged with illegal gambling and racketeering.

The father and son recently pleaded guilty in federal court. In particular, the men were accused of laundering gambling proceeds through offshore accounts. Federal authorities claimed that the men operated a large sports betting ring that involved individuals from as far away as Costa Rica. Reportedly, bettors could place bets online or by telephone.

The father in this case was previously convicted of running an illegal gambling operation more than 20 years ago. His brother and wife are also currently facing charges. Incidentally, the wife is the daughter of the late Mayor Frank Rizzo, of Philadelphia.

An attorney for the father and son said that a number of the defendants have agreed to a so-called "global plea," meaning that all of the participating defendants would plead guilty.

Criminal allegations related to gambling often involve the seizure of bank accounts and other property that were acquired by legitimate means. It is important, then, that a comprehensive defense strategy includes properly categorizing such assets and ensuring they are rightly returned to the owner after the initial forfeiture.

Such a defense may also involve scrutinizing evidence that was obtained through wiretaps or search warrants. It may be possible in some cases to exclude evidence that was improperly obtained by investigators.

To learn more about asset forfeiture and other issues related to white collar crime, please visit our criminal defense website.

Source: 6abc.com, "Father, son plead guilty in Mastronardo gambling case," Feb. 1, 2014

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