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Gaming Guru

Jeff German
 

Four to plead guilty in illegal Vegas sports betting case, forfeit $4.3 million

17 April 2015

A top Las Vegas sports bettor and his family have struck deals with the government to plead guilty in a long-running investigation of a multimillion-dollar illegal betting operation.

Glen Cobb has agreed to plead guilty to two counts of the misdemeanor accessory after the fact to the crime of transmission of wagering information. His parents, Charles and Anna Cobb, and step-daughter, Monica Namnard, each are pleading guilty to one count of the gambling misdemeanor.

The family’s now-defunct company that ran the betting operation, Lycur, is pleading guilty to a felony charge of transmission of wagering information.

All of the defendants have agreed to forfeit $4.3 million of the $13.2 million the government seized from them in 2013.

Court documents detailing the plea agreements have not yet been filed publicly.

The pleas — scheduled to take place before U.S. District Judge Richard Boulware II on Monday — bring an end to the IRS-led investigation that attracted public attention after a federal magistrate judge criticized secret government efforts to pry away the millions seized from the Cobb family.

In June a grand jury charged Cobb with the felony of conducting an illegal gambling business. He and his family members also were charged with another felony, conspiring to unlawfully structure $2.6 million in casino and bank transactions to hide money from the IRS.

A new indictment in February added five more felony counts of transmission of wagering information against Cobb, who was alleged to have conducted his betting activity with the help of offshore sports books.

IRS agents had been investigating the Cobbs since 2002, but the investigation first hit the courts after a December 2013 raid where agents seized $10.5 million from investment and bank accounts belonging to the Cobbs, along with computers, hard drives, cellphones and other property.

U.S. Secret Service agents separately seized $2.7 million from two safes at Glen Cobb’s home.

Following the raid, the government launched secret civil forfeiture proceedings seeking court permission to keep the $13.2 million even though no criminal charges had been filed against the Cobb family.

The case attracted notoriety after a Las Vegas Review-Journal story in October disclosed that U.S. Magistrate Judge Cam Ferenbach had issued a written decision blasting the government’s use of the courts in the clandestine forfeiture campaign.

In a lengthy decision made public in October, Ferenbach ripped federal prosecutors for filing two civil forfeiture actions under a little-known court process, called super sealing, that gave no notice to the Cobbs or anyone else.

Government documents filed under super seal, a procedure overseen by the federal clerk’s office, are stored in the court’s vault and not loaded into the electronic case management system. Only a small group within the clerk’s office has access to the documents, which are kept from the public and opposing parties.

Ferenbach said super sealing led to a level of secrecy in the Cobb investigation normally reserved for cases that threaten public safety or national security.

“This is unacceptable,” Ferenbach wrote. “Relying on various sealed and super-sealed filings, the government asks the court to rule against private citizens, allow the deprivation of their property and deny them a process to redress possible violations of their constitutional rights through a secret government action that provides no notice or opportunity to be heard.”

Following the Review-Journal story, court officials said they changed the name of super sealing to “special processing,” but made no other changes to the secretive procedures used to withhold information from the public.

The government abandoned the civil forfeiture efforts after the Cobbs were indicted and sought to keep the seized money through the criminal proceedings.