Indicted in July by a San Diego, Calif., federal grand jury, Jason D. Taylor of Richmond, pleaded guilty Nov. 8 to one count of participating in an illegal gambling business.
The U.S. Attorney for Southern California agreed to recommend Taylor be sentenced “to no more than the low end” of the federal sentencing guidelines, and Taylor agreed to forfeit $203,000, which represents money derived from his offense.
The prosecution also agreed to recommend dismissal of a lesser charge of transmitting wagering information, according to a copy of the plea agreement The Register obtained from the U.S. Attorney’s office in San Diego.
However, the sentencing judge has “sole discretion” to impose terms, the agreement notes. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 13.
Under federal guidelines, the maximum sentence for participating in an illegal gambling business is five years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.
However, there is no mandatory minimum sentence, according to a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney in San Diego, and a judge may impose any sentence that does not exceed the maximum.
According to the plea agreement:
• Taylor managed his own “book” of betting customers, placing bets for them on sporting events by telephone through Joseph E. Spatafore, identified as “sub-bookmaker” in California.
• The five-person bookmaking business was in substantially continuous operation from Jan. 1, 2013, until July 27, 2016.
• Taylor would accept multiple sports bets each week from Spatafore by text message. For example, on Aug. 15, 2015, Spatafore sent Taylor a message, “Cubs 117 5k. Arizona 114 5k.” That meant Spatafore was placing $5,000 bets on both the Chicago Cubs and the Arizona Diamondbacks to win their games that day.
• With Spatafore and Sanders Bruce Segal, another co-defendant, Taylor sent and delivered cash representing the proceeds from illegal gambling between Kentucky and Southern California.
• On March 30, 2015, Spatafore mailed Taylor a parcel containing $20,000 in cash. And on Sept. 3, 2015, at Spatafore’s direction, Taylor mailed a parcel containing $35,000 to Segal. Segal then hand delivered it to Spatafore.
All told, Taylor’s participation in the illegal gambling business generated at least $203,000 in proceeds, according to the agreement.