10/18/2007

10-18-07 - 1

Little news story about Richard Lee . This is sort of interesting for everything it doesn't say. Richard Lee cashed for $2.8M at the 2006 WSOP. He was in no way a poker player, never has been, and is still not really a serious poker player. What he was was a huge illegal bookmaker. Reportedly one of Texas' biggest bookmakers. His net worth from bookmaking is estimated at at least $25M. His home was raided in 2006 shortly after the WSOP after a long investigation into his doings and $3M in cash was found at his home. Lee claimed he was never a bookmaker and the cash was his winnings from the WSOP. This is highly dubious, since a businessman like him surely would've wired the winnings somewhere and invested them, not just held onto cash. What is likely is the cash was his supply for paying out sports bets, or betting profits that he hadn't yet managed to launder. The prosecutor winds up doing a deal where the government keeps $2.5M of what they seized and Lee goes free and keeps the vast majority of his illegal profits.

This struck me as a nice example of how our legal system treats white collar criminals. If they'd found a few ounces of drugs he'd be in jail. Instead he loses maybe 10% of his profit; I suppose he'll have to stop bookmaking, though he could probably start right back up in a year or two if he buys a few restaurants for laundry.

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