A Bowling Green man who maintained an online illegal gambling operation was ordered to serve a 15-month prison sentence.
Douglas Booth, 50, was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Bowling Green on five counts of failing to file tax returns, four counts of money laundering and one count each of transmission of wagering information and conspiring to launder money.
U.S. District Judge Justin Walker followed the recommendation made in a sentencing memorandum by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Calhoun to impose the 15-month sentence.
Federal court filings in the case detailed how Booth controlled websites hosted in Costa Rica on which illegal gambling on sporting events took place.
“During the course of operating the sports wagering websites he received approximately $2,395,000 in proceeds from his gambling operation that he laundered through banks, property purchases and loan payments,” Booth’s plea agreement said.
At his sentencing Wednesday, Booth said up to about 100 people in the area made bets through his ventures.
“I always loved numbers, sports and talking to people,” Booth said about how he got into the enterprise. “I probably had a gambling problem myself ... it never was my intent to hurt anybody.”
Booth laundered the money he made from the gambling operation through multiple investments in real estate from 2008 to 2016, buying ownership stakes in real estate companies formed to own and operate apartment complexes in the area, court records show.
Bowling Green attorney Harris Pepper admitted taking part in the money laundering conspiracy, accepting money from Booth on four occasions to put into various real estate companies and receiving about $200,000 once from Booth in cash and relief from gambling debts.
Pepper was fined $100,000 and put on probation for five years by Walker at his sentencing last week on a count of conspiring to launder money.
Booth would be required to forfeit more than $700,000 in cash to the IRS as part of his plea agreement.
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