US judge hands out tough sentences for high-stakes Russian gambling ring

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 May, 2014, 9:14pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 May, 2014, 9:14pm


A judge took a stern approach in sentencing members of a Russian organised crime operation that offered high-stakes poker games to the rich and famous, including professional athletes, Hollywood stars and Wall Street executives.

US District Judge Jesse Furman jailed 53-year-old Adam Trincher for five years, more than double the guidelines range for the case. Furman said five years was warranted for Trincher and another defendant sentenced a day earlier because of the size of the gambling operation and a money-laundering scheme that accompanied it: prosecutors said the organisation laundered more than US$100 million.

Hillel "Helly" Nahmad, a wealthy Manhattan art scion, was also being sentenced, one of 28 people who pleaded guilty in the case.

Nahmad, 35, pleaded guilty to charges he helped run an illegal sports betting business that was exposed in an investigation of a sprawling scheme by Russian-American organised crime enterprises. He was among more than 30 people named in a plot to launder illegal gambling proceeds through hundreds of bank accounts and shell companies in Cyprus and the United States.

The gambling ring catered mostly to super-rich Russians. But it also had tentacles in New York, where it ran illegal card games that attracted professional athletes, film stars and business executives, prosecutors said.