Gambling Ring to the Stars Busted

22 Apr 2013 | 01:20 Author: Seth Shafer

A gambling ring that catered to stars such as Alex Rodriguez and Leonardo DiCaprio has been busted in a high profile federal sting.

Authorities claim that the high-stakes poker ring they busted had ties to Russian gangsters and catered to Wall Street millionaires as well as some of the elite of the sports and film worlds.

Federal agents arrested more than 30 people in connection to the sting last week, including socialite hostess Molly Bloom who'd previously made headlines for her role in organizing high stakes poker games for the likes of hostess known for organizing card parties with celebs like A-Rod, Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Matt Damon.

New York City gallery owner Hillel Nahmed is charged as being one of the ring leaders of the operation; Nahmed is also charged with laundering more than $50 million in profits from the gambling ring into assorted other enterprises that he owns. Nahmed comes from an ultra-wealthy family rumored to be worth well over $3 billion.

In addition to running poker games the ring is accused of taking illegal sports bets, illegally operating sportsbetting websites, and laundering over $100 million in total of illicit gains.

The indictment are aimed at two related crime enterprises dubbed the “Taiwanchik-Trincher Organization” and the “Nahmad-Trincher Organization” which were headed by principals based in New York, Los Angeles, Kiev and Moscow. The criminal organizations laundered money through shell companies in Cyprus, U.S. bank accounts, and a Bronx plumbing firm. 

Details of the poker games and Bloom's role in organizing them leaked several years ago when a prominent hedge fund manager was caught illegally using investor funds to buy into some of the celebrity games, losing millions in the process.

Administrators for the fund eventually filed suit against Maguire and other celebrities who had profited from the games (which were held in private locations and not at casinos or other legal locales), with most of the cases eventually settled privately.

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