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The Cohen Case: What Happened to the Others?

10 Aug 2000

Convicted offshore bookie Jay Cohen, sentenced Wednesday to 21 months in prison and fined $5,000, is just one of 21 Americans who were charged with felonies by the U.S. Justice Dept. in 1998 for violating the Federal Wire Act by using a "wire transmission facility" to accept sports wagers.

So far, Cohen, who in February was found guilty of all charges against him, is the only member of the so-called "Internet 21" to contest the charges in a court of law.

So what happened to the other 20?

According to the Justice Dept., five turned themselves in and pled guilty to the original felony charges, three turned themselves in and pled guilty to reduced misdemeanor charges, four turned themselves in and had the charges dismissed and seven remain fugitives from justice. One other turned himself in but his status is unclear.

Those who pled guilty received fines and/or house arrest, but none received prison time. They also agreed, as part of their plea bargains, to get out of the bookmaking business for good.

Here's a rundown:

STEVE SCHILLINGER -- A 47-year-old options trader from San Francisco, he and Cohen co-own Internet and telephone sports book World Sports Exchange (WSEX) in St. John's, Antigua. Before starting WSEX, he resigned his membership in the Pacific Stock Exchange - where he and Cohen met - after Exchange officials questioned him about booking sports bets on the Exchange floor. He remains in Antigua as a fugitive, running WSEX.

HADEN WARE -- A 24-year-old Boston native, he worked as Cohen's clerk at the Pacific Exchange and followed Schillinger and Cohen to Antigua and WSEX. He remains in Antigua as a fugitive, helping run WSEX.

SPENCER HANSON -- Another San Franciscan who worked at the Pacific Exchange and moved to Antigua to work at WSEX. He remains a fugitive, but no longer works at WSEX. His whereabouts are unknown.

BRAD COHEN -- From Vail, Colorado, he is no relation to Jay Cohen. He and a partner owned and ran Real Casino, an Internet casino and Internet/telephone sports book in San Jose, Costa Rica. He turned himself in and pled guilty to a reduced misdemeanor charge. Real Casino was sold to a new owner and is now out of business.

JASON PERRY -- Also from Vail, Colorado, he and Brad Cohen owned and ran Real Casino. He turned himself in and pled guilty to a reduced misdemeanor charge.

TERRY PETERS -- He owned and ran Grand Holiday Casino, an Internet casino and sports book in Willemstad, Curacao. He turned himself in and pled guilty to a felony charge. Grand Holiday Casino went out of business.

LAURENCE STOFAN -- He owned and ran Global Sports Network, an "offshore sports book" that claimed to be in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic. He actually ran the book out of his New Jersey home. He pled guilty to a felony charge. Global Sports Network went out of business.

BILL SCOTT -- A 58-year-old bookie from Toledo, Ohio, he owns and runs World Wide Tele-Sports (WWTS), an Internet sports book in St. John's, Antigua. According to the Wall Street Journal, Scott served time in federal prison for racketeering. He remains in Antigua as a fugitive, running WWTS. He also has Internet casinos, including Intercasino and Sands of the Caribbean.

JESSICA DAVIS -- A 29-year-old from North Dakota, this WWTS employee is the only female member of the "Internet 21." She remains in Antigua as a fugitive.

GENE ELSBERG -- Charged under his alias "Gene O'Brien," he owned and ran Winner's Way, a sports book in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic. He turned himself in and pled guilty to a felony charge. Winner's Way went out of business.

KERRY ROGERS -- A 42-year-old Las Vegas resident, he owned and ran a company that designed gambling Web sites, including the Web site used by Winner's Way. He turned himself in. After it was ascertained he was not involved in any bookmaking, just Web site design, the charge was dismissed.

BRIAN JANUS -- Charged under his alias "Brian Jones," this 41-year-old from Dallas co-owned Galaxy Sports, an Internet and telephone sports book in Willemstad, Curacao. Galaxy Sports has since been sold to a new owner and renamed Royal Sports. Janus remains in Curacao as a fugitive, helping run Royal Sports.

S. CHESTER HUNTER -- Also from Dallas, he co-owned Galaxy Sports. He turned himself in and the charge was dismissed.

BILL MOORE -- He also worked at Galaxy Sports. He remains a fugitive, whereabouts unknown.

DAVID BUDIN -- A 67-year-old businessman from North Miami Beach, Florida, he co-owned SDB Global, a sports book in San Jose, Costa Rica, that had a Web site but only took wagers via telephone. He turned himself in and pled guilty to a felony charge. He also paid one of the largest fines assessed to an "Internet 21" defendant: $750,000. SDB Global went out of business.

STEVE BUDIN -- A 29-year-old businessman also from North Miami Beach and the son of David Budin, he also co-owned SDB Global. He turned himself in and the charge was dismissed.

SANDY BECHER -- A 32-year-old attorney from Aventura, Florida, he was also an SDB Global co-owner. He turned himself in and pled guilty to a reduced misdemeanor charge.

MIKE SAUL -- The 42-year-old co-managed Island Casino, an Internet casino and Internet and telephone sports book in Willemstad, Curacao. He turned himself in and pled guilty to a felony charge. Island Casino has since been sold to a new owner and has relocated to San Jose, Costa Rica.

ALLEN ROSS -- He also co-managed Island Casino. He turned himself in and pled guilty, but RGTonline was unable to determine whether Ross pled guilty to a felony or a reduced misdemeanor charge.

ORIN SLEEPER -- He worked as a customer service representative at Island Casino. He turned himself in and the charge was dismissed.

 
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