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Anne Lindner

Third Atiyeh Brother Indicted

2 January 2002

George Atiyeh of Allentown, Pa., was indicted by federal prosecutors in mid-December on charges of operating an illegal gambling business that used both the Internet and telephone lines.

According to the indictment, Atiyeh netted more than $1 million in bets from November 1995 to January 1997. In March 2001, his brothers Dennis and Joseph Atiyeh were acquitted from similar charges.

The indictment against George Atiyeh comprises 15 charges, including one count of conspiracy, two counts of operating an illegal gambling business, five counts of transmission of wagering information, one count of money laundering conspiracy and seven counts of money laundering. The indictment was returned by a grand jury on Dec. 12 and was released to the public on Dec. 19.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the eastern district of Pennsylvania is charging that Atiyeh, 42, operated a gambling business under several names, including "International Casino," "ICSN," "International Casino Race and Sports Book" and "Sports/ICSN," and that it was managed from an office at 727-51 North Meadow Street in Allentown. Atiyeh also had offices in Canada and Antigua, the indictment states.

If convicted, Atiyeh faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine for each of the eight money-laundering counts, which include the counts of substantive money laundering and the money-laundering conspiracy count.

He also could face a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine each for the conspiracy charge and the illegal gambling business charge.

Last, he could receive two years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count of transmitting wagering information. He would also be required to forfeit the $1,061,000 he garnered from the betting operation.

The indictment states that bets were accepted from U.S. bettors via interstate and international telephone lines and that the Internet was used by Atiyeh to promote the sports betting operation to U.S. customers at

Rich Manieri, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney in eastern Pennsylvania, said a date for the trial has not yet been set. The indictment against Atiyeh comes two weeks after criminal information was filed against Keith Varga of Bath, Pa., charging him with conspiracy to engage in unlawful sports betting and wagering business and money laundering, among other things. Maneri said he could not draw any conclusions about the proximity of the two cases or whether Pennsylvania may be a hotbed of illegal gambling operations.

"I wouldn't want to say either way, I don't know how pervasive it is," he said.

The Atiyeh indictment details conversations between International Casino employees and undercover agents in Philadelphia posing as potential bettors during 1996.

Atiyeh had a short career in professional football in the early 1980s with the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers and in Denver with the United States Football League. He was also an accomplished wrestler at Louisiana State University. His brother Joseph won a silver medal for Syria, his native country, in wrestling at the 1984 Olympics.


George Atiyeh Indictment
Keith Varga Indictment

Third Atiyeh Brother Indicted is republished from
Anne Lindner
Anne Lindner