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FBI arrests Gilford man on multiple gambling charges in international ring


GILFORD - FBI agents arrested a local man Wednesday morning after he was indicted for racketeering, money laundering, and other crimes as an alleged partner of an illegal international sports bookmaking business that solicited more than $1 billion in illegal bets.

Spiros "The Greek" Athanas, 53, of 176 Gunstock Hill Road, is third on the list of 34 people across the country and in Panama and 23 entities indicted and accused of operating an illegal sports bookmaking business, according to the FBI. Athanas was arrested with an attorney present at his home Wednesday morning, and was taken to a jail in Boston, Mass. for an arraignment in a federal court Wednesday afternoon.

FBI agents searched his home for evidence Wednesday evening.

"This is racketeering and RICO law violations, it's definitely organized crime," said FBI Spokesman Bob Troester. "It was a huge operation that went on for a very long time."

Athanas, whose name is listed as Athanasopolous in phone directories, is charged with being a founding partner of Legendz Sports, a sports gambling operation started by the primary defendant in the case, Bartice Alan King, 42, also known as "Luke" and "Cool," Serena Monique King, 43, both of Spring, Texas.

According to the indictment, King conspired with others to operate Internet and telephone gambling services, first from San Jose, Costa Rica, and then from Panama City, Panama, which took bets almost exclusively from gamblers in the United States seeking to place bets on sports.

Since 2003, Legendz Sports allegedly used bookies located in the United States to illegally solicit and accept sports wagers as well as settle gambling debts, according to the indictment.

Athanas and King formalized their partnership by registering a corporation named Omni in Panama. Omni is one of the 23 corporations named in the indictment in addition to the accused individuals, according to the indictment.

Athanas is charged with loaning $1.5 million-$3.5 million to King to build a call center for Legendz Sports in Panama in 2007.

From March 31, 2008 to Oct. 31, 2012, Athanas allegedly transferred $3,349,650 from a bank account in Jamaica to a bank account in New Hampshire.If convicted, the defendants face up to 20 years in prison for racketeering, up to 20 years in prison for conspiring to commit money laundering, up to 10 years in prison for money laundering and up to five years in prison for operating an illegal gambling business.

The indictment seeks a forfeiture money judgment of at least $1 billion traceable to numerous specific assets that include real estate, bank accounts, brokerage and investment accounts.

Under the forfeiture section of the indictment, Athanas' accounts in several New Hampshire banks are listed, as are property addresses on Gunstock Hill Road and at the Laconia Airport.

dseufert@newstote.com

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