Garrett and Dan Thomson, both tall, slender and wearing shorts and golf shirts, are the top traders for the syndicate. Garrett was just 27 when he left his job as a high school basketball coach in Illinois in , packed up his red Mustang and moved to Las Vegas to play poker, before joining the syndicate. He's the definition of a professional gambler: a sports bettor, poker player and admitted card counter, who's listed in the vaunted Griffin Book.
Advantage players know what that is: a database that they don't want their name in. Thomson is entering his third year with the syndicate. He was playing poker out of Rochester, New York, when he decided to bolt to Las Vegas to join the syndicate. Besides his beloved Buffalo Bills , he admits that his sports knowledge is basic and that when he works from home, he doesn't even have a TV in the room. Sigsbee is on the couch in a pink, button-up shirt, slacks and baseball hat.
A Notre Dame alumnus with financial background, he started Imawhale Sports in as a side project to go along with his poker-staking business. He currently stakes 75 poker players in cash games. The poker side of his corporation is more profitable than sports betting for now, but the gap is narrowing, he says. Garrett, Thomson and Sigsbee each bet individually and share varying percentages from the syndicate's profits.
It's a plus-hour-a-week job during football season and can be an absolute grind. They do their shopping online, closely watching a few select offshore sportsbooks known to cater to sharp bettors. They know other groups are doing the same thing around town, which makes the window of opportunity to grab a preferred line just seconds-long.
What we do better than anyone is we quantify the moves from a mathematical standpoint, of every derivative, of every single sport. They've done it long enough that they can calculate the value on the fly, but in addition to the quick-thinking math, the syndicate's success also relies heavily on effort. Garrett and Thomson remain focused on their monitors, staring at updating odds screen that show the point spreads at 10 or so sportsbooks, offshore and in Las Vegas.
The screen lights up when a line moves, and, when the line moves at a respected book, the syndicate places a wager. Imawhale Sports is in its fifth year and growing. The first two Saturdays of this college football season were among the syndicate's best ever.
Except for the occasional baseball and preseason hockey bet, things are relatively uneventful as the first set on NFL games heads into the second quarter. As the games near halftime, the conversation dwindles. Halftime lines are a big opportunity.
Whereas these halftime markets, it's totally an unforeseen thing -- they open the doors and it's just a floodgate. Those lines fluctuate quite a bit, and anytime there's this rapid movement in markets, that's our opportunity. During the halftime rush, each member of the team is responsible for certain types of wagers. Garrett is in charge of second-half sides. Sigsbee takes over baseball and preseason hockey.
These aren't enormous bets, but there are a lot of them. They call out the bet they're looking for and at what sportsbook:. I very much do not look. I'd just rather grade it all at the end of the day. Guess it's the poker mindset ingrained in me: Get the money in good and don't worry about the results.
In the long run, you'll win. Garrett responds, "If I didn't sweat the games, this would be the most boring job I've ever had. During the flurry of halftime action, Thomson's phone glitches, preventing him from logging in to his Wynn race and sports app. He debates whether rebooting his phone will cost him more money from missed opportunities than it's worth trying to get the Wynn's app up and running. He elects to not to restart and resorts to his other apps. Sigsbee zings Garrett about the room temperature.
College football Saturdays, when there are often plus games, are much busier for the syndicate than an NFL Sunday. With the early London game, there was one less opportunity to make halftime wagers on the late slate. Light, but profitable. This Sunday has been smoothest of the first month of the NFL season. Their odds-feed service has been dealing with recent DDOS attacks that leave the syndicate blind to the market. It's a hassle, but also an opportunity.
If nobody has any market to look at, it creates a pretty interesting situation. It's been happening a lot the last couple weeks. As much as it's tough for us, it also creates some opportunities. The syndicate's future, while promising, is also hazy.
Legal sports betting is expected to expand outside of Nevada in the coming years and its impact on the syndicate is up in the air. I think there is some risk if it becomes legal nationwide, the whole landscape is going to change enough that we might not like the end results. For now, the results are good, but it's certainly not the glamorous lifestyle often associated with being a professional gambler.
But both the publisher and the author face several potential pitfalls. While all gamblers lie sometimes, changing the identifying details in a purportedly nonfiction book leaves readers in the uncomfortable position of not knowing which parts are really true. And it turns out that the supposedly anonymous players in this gambling drama are, in fact, very well known.
A few hours of Googling and database searching by a reporter led to the real identities of 44, the Brain Trust and its principal character. The author is Michael Konik, a freelance writer who worked for several years for Bill Walters, a Las Vegas developer who is one of the country's biggest sports bettors. The book proposal identifies the leader of the gambling ring as Rick Matthews, describing him as "the kingpin of American sports betting," a philanthropist, restaurateur and Southerner who, by dint of being "one of the greatest golf hustlers of all time," is "a millionaire several times over.
Those descriptions make it relatively easy to determine that Rick Matthews is actually Mr. Walters, a Kentucky native who now spends much of his time developing golf courses in Las Vegas. In a telephone interview, Mr. Walters, whose gambling history has been explored many times in magazine and newspaper profiles, confirmed that he is Rick Matthews.
For years Mr. Walters has run the Computer Group, a betting syndicate that uses computers to analyze reams of information on sports teams and players, placing enormous bets when it determines the point spread in Las Vegas books is out of line with its own calculation. Walters has been indicted at least three times in federal or Nevada state courts on charges of illegal gambling, but the indictments have been dismissed each time; he has never been convicted of any gambling charge.
In The Las Vegas Review-Journal named him as one of the 10 most influential nonparticipant figures in sports. Walters and others also said 44 was Mr. Konik, a television commentator on poker matches for Fox Sports who has written extensively about gambling and golf.
Konik, reached at his home in Los Angeles, declined to discuss whether he was Rosenthal, the publisher, also said he had no comment about Mr. Konik's relationship to In an earlier telephone interview, arranged by his literary agent, Jennifer Joel of International Creative Management, the anonymous 44 sounded much like Mr. In the interview, the author said all the events to be described in the book were true and were based on an extensive journal kept during his tenure at the gambling group, from to
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Konik, a television commentator on poker matches for Fox Sports who has written extensively about gambling and golf. Konik, reached at his home in Los Angeles, declined to discuss whether he was Rosenthal, the publisher, also said he had no comment about Mr. Konik's relationship to In an earlier telephone interview, arranged by his literary agent, Jennifer Joel of International Creative Management, the anonymous 44 sounded much like Mr.
In the interview, the author said all the events to be described in the book were true and were based on an extensive journal kept during his tenure at the gambling group, from to As such, their abilities to sue successfully for libel or defamation are greater than they would be if they intentionally sought publicity. The author also said that while all of his gambling activities were legal, not everyone who knows him is aware of his gambling venture, and he would rather keep it that way.
The details revealed in the book proposal, however, seem unlikely to allow that to happen. The proposal details the author's start-up of his own gambling circle, which he calls "the Hollywood boys" and which includes some well-known but as-yet-unidentified celebrities. Rosenthal, the publisher, said he did not think that the book needed an anonymous author to succeed. But so far, at least, he said he was willing to honor the author's desire to remain unknown.
Rosenthal said. But I think I could do it either way. The matchups sit there like ripe fruit to be plucked. How can the unbeaten Bears be mere point favorites against the lowly Dolphins? Then Rex Grossman throws three interceptions, the Bears lose three fumbles, and the Dolphins win easily.
Add in the bookies' 10 percent commission — which means you have to be right more than half the time just to break even — and you get an idea why casinos are so profitable. Michael Konik knows these gut-wrenching ups and downs all too well.
The magazine writer spent four football seasons as part of a gambling syndicate, an experience that taught him two lessons: Yes, you can outsmart the bookies. And no, it's not worth it. Not unless you possess ironclad nerves and a bottomless well of patience.
You had also better know a programmer who can whip up an algorithm to pick the winners, because opinions and hunches make for sucker bets. The legendary sports gambler recruited the scribe to work as one of the dupes who placed bets on behalf of Matthews' Brain Trust. Matthews needed the help because every bookie in Las Vegas had refused his business. So Konik showed up at Caesar's Palace and concocted a story painting him as a high roller who'd cashed a big advance for a screenplay.
In fact, he was simply moving Matthews' money. Konik floats through the first-season honeymoon in which he is entrusted with briefcases full of cash, gets a front-row seat on the action and enjoys the high-roller treatment at Vegas' poshest casinos.
The money isn't bad, either. As one of Big Daddy's operatives, Konik keeps 10 percent of the winnings but risks none of the losses. Konik should know: for several years he was a bagman for the Brain Trust. He also has to joust with suspicious bookies, persuade them to keep his room and meals comped, and maintain his rocky relationship with his girlfriend — but he quickly warms to his work and its perks.
By this point, most readers will share his disgust and exhaustion, but also the certainty that for a particularly obsessive breed of gambler, all that matters is the never-ending quest for the perfect point-spread differential. On the lookout for your next book to read, but not sure where to start? We can help. Book Review Bettor Days.
A Notre Dame alumnus with financial background, he started Imawhale Sports in as a side project to go along with his poker-staking business. He currently stakes 75 poker players in cash games. The poker side of his corporation is more profitable than sports betting for now, but the gap is narrowing, he says. Garrett, Thomson and Sigsbee each bet individually and share varying percentages from the syndicate's profits.
It's a plus-hour-a-week job during football season and can be an absolute grind. They do their shopping online, closely watching a few select offshore sportsbooks known to cater to sharp bettors. They know other groups are doing the same thing around town, which makes the window of opportunity to grab a preferred line just seconds-long. What we do better than anyone is we quantify the moves from a mathematical standpoint, of every derivative, of every single sport. They've done it long enough that they can calculate the value on the fly, but in addition to the quick-thinking math, the syndicate's success also relies heavily on effort.
Garrett and Thomson remain focused on their monitors, staring at updating odds screen that show the point spreads at 10 or so sportsbooks, offshore and in Las Vegas. The screen lights up when a line moves, and, when the line moves at a respected book, the syndicate places a wager. Imawhale Sports is in its fifth year and growing. The first two Saturdays of this college football season were among the syndicate's best ever. Except for the occasional baseball and preseason hockey bet, things are relatively uneventful as the first set on NFL games heads into the second quarter.
As the games near halftime, the conversation dwindles. Halftime lines are a big opportunity. Whereas these halftime markets, it's totally an unforeseen thing -- they open the doors and it's just a floodgate. Those lines fluctuate quite a bit, and anytime there's this rapid movement in markets, that's our opportunity. During the halftime rush, each member of the team is responsible for certain types of wagers.
Garrett is in charge of second-half sides. Sigsbee takes over baseball and preseason hockey. These aren't enormous bets, but there are a lot of them. They call out the bet they're looking for and at what sportsbook:. I very much do not look. I'd just rather grade it all at the end of the day. Guess it's the poker mindset ingrained in me: Get the money in good and don't worry about the results. In the long run, you'll win. Garrett responds, "If I didn't sweat the games, this would be the most boring job I've ever had.
During the flurry of halftime action, Thomson's phone glitches, preventing him from logging in to his Wynn race and sports app. He debates whether rebooting his phone will cost him more money from missed opportunities than it's worth trying to get the Wynn's app up and running. He elects to not to restart and resorts to his other apps. Sigsbee zings Garrett about the room temperature. College football Saturdays, when there are often plus games, are much busier for the syndicate than an NFL Sunday.
With the early London game, there was one less opportunity to make halftime wagers on the late slate. Light, but profitable. This Sunday has been smoothest of the first month of the NFL season. Their odds-feed service has been dealing with recent DDOS attacks that leave the syndicate blind to the market. It's a hassle, but also an opportunity. If nobody has any market to look at, it creates a pretty interesting situation.
It's been happening a lot the last couple weeks. As much as it's tough for us, it also creates some opportunities. The syndicate's future, while promising, is also hazy. Legal sports betting is expected to expand outside of Nevada in the coming years and its impact on the syndicate is up in the air.
I think there is some risk if it becomes legal nationwide, the whole landscape is going to change enough that we might not like the end results. For now, the results are good, but it's certainly not the glamorous lifestyle often associated with being a professional gambler. In reality, this is what it looks like.
Absolutely not,' I think, 'OK, you probably win. Skip to navigation. My NFL Sunday with a sports betting syndicate. Kansas City Chiefs. Bucs equal bucks as U. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Sportsbook offers refunds after Reed controversy. Each day Kent and his brother John collected the statistical data for every team, fed it into the computer, updated their program.
From that point on. Kent -who was either too busy or too gullible to notice the fence that Mindlin was constructing around him — abdicated all responsibility to the doctor. As they were beginning to earn millions each season, Dr. Mindlin was injured in a car accident in Florida, which left him unable to perform surgery. He applied for disability insurance, and his practice was limited to giving expert testimony in medical cases.
Now street-famous for his work with the Computer Group, Dr. Mindlin entered into the commodities business. Based on their efforts, Dr. Mindlin farmed a private commodities firm he called Commend, which may have served him in several ways. For one, he allegedly was able to launder money through Commend. John Kent testified that he never did any work for Commend.
Mindlin also established a relationship with Dominic Spinale, who reportedly was a smalltime hoodlum with ties to Chicago mobster Tony Spilotro. Spinale happened to be under investigation by the FBI at the time his name was being used by Mindlin to open a betting account at the Stardust Hotel. If Mindlin could change one thing, he would probably never have become friendly with Spinale, which might have averted all of the troubles that engulf him today.
Special Agent Thomas B. Noble has developed quite a reputation in the FBI for his six-year investigation of the Computer Group. Quite sad, really. In the end, it never works out. He had not been there long when a gambling investigation of Dominic Spinale led him to Dr. A muted alarm began to ring between the ears of Thomas Noble. This had the look of a betting operation run by La Cosa Nostra.
The Mafia. Organized crime. Mindlin began to spend more time at his house in Vail, Colo. Noble traced a check endorsed by Spinale to an account maintained by Michael Kent. Another alarm. Michael Kent had the same attorney as Ivan Mindlin. Spinale was next observed by FBI operatives associating with a young blonde subject named Glen Walker, who walked with a pronounced limp the result of a high school football injury.
Informants led special agent Noble to believe that Walker represented the Computer Group, the most successful gambling ring in the city, the gambling ring in which Dr. Mindlin was an admitted member. Noble respectfully informed his superiors that he believed he had discovered one of the largest illegal bookmaking operations in the nation.
The distinction between bookmakers and mere bettors is an important one. Though federal prosecution of illegal bookmakers declined in the s. In a case in Rhode lsland U. Robert Barborian and Anthony Lauro , the U. But special agent Noble was certain that he was chasing bookmakers. More agents were assigned to aid Thomas Noble. Surveillance was increased. Wire taps were approved in December Every day was a new adventure.
Had it all started so quickly for J. Edgar Hoover? Layoff bets, by definition, are made exclusively by bookmakers wishing to protect themselves against large losses by making bets with other bookmakers. The weekend would prove to be even more momentous for special agent Thomas Noble. He had requested 43 separate raids to take place in 23 cities in 16 states — perhaps the largest series of coordinated gambling raids in history. He was right on.
The members of the Computer Group were caught redhanded. Betting ledgers and hundreds of thousands of incriminating dollars were seized. All that remained before Thomas B. Noble could ascend toward the top of the FBI like a rocket toward the stars was this matter of legal paperwork. He simply had to prove that the Computer Group was an illegal bookmaking operation, that it was in fact a strong arm of the LCN. Michael Kent and his brother, Bill, had been invited to spend the Super Bowl weekend at the home of Dr.
Mindlin in Vail. First, he received cash and checks from Billy Nelson, the gambler who had originally brought Kent and Mindlin together and who now served as an aide to Billy Walters in the Computer Group.
The cashier handed Kent cash from the account of Billy Walters. What did you do that for? Bill reached over and opened it. The FBI took down the names and addresses of the Kent brothers, and then Michael Kent sat and watched television while the FBI rummaged through the house, confiscating money, records and gambling paraphernalia.
I remember we went out for lunch — Ivan too. Ivan seemed to be taking it very well. Sources say that Mindlin, in his uniquely audacious manner, hired a private investigator to follow special agent Noble. He had been detained by police only once before, he says. The night of the Vail raid he would return to Las Vegas so find she FBI raiding his condominium as well as the homes of his partners.
Clearly they were all in some sort of trouble. He says it struck him then how very little he knew about the group he had created. One year earlier, special agent Thomas Noble had contacted Michael Kent about the check that had been endorsed by Dominic Spinale. At that time Kent had listened to Dr. Mindlin, who advised him not so worry. But, this matter of FBI raids was much more serious. At the advice of special agent Noble, Kent says he hired his own lawyer, separate from Mindlin.
Kent was referred to attorney Steven Brooks in Boston. As Brooks learned more about she gambling operation, he urged Kent to take precautions that would protect him from Mindlin. What does he know? Dale Conway says he was sitting as his desk, placing a bet over the phone from his Salt Lake home, when he stood to answer a knock at the door.
In his driveway he could see a postal service truck. I just left it like it was. The government seemed to believe that Dale Conway was much more than a simple gambler. If your Honor would like, I can even show a chart demonstrating the vast complexity of this case. The judge declined to view the chart. Too many times to count, Eric Johnson referred to Dale Conway as a bookmaker. He said Conway was just one of the many bookmakers involved in this investigation. He made it sound as though, once the government had learned so make sense of all she information is had seized, it would become easier to apprehend and bring to justice all future bookmakers.
District Judge Bruce S. Jenkins in Salt Lake that day. Some new bookies were in town, and they wanted to meet Billy Walters. So he came to the Desert Inn for lunch. There were also two other men whom Walters had never seen before. They introduced themselves as Danny Donnigan and John Cleary, though Glen Walker still wonders if those were real names. The two men turned their attentions to the kingpin Billy Walters, asking him many questions as they buttered their bread.
Which is the most efficient method so establish a betting line? How does a fellow handle layoff bets? Basically they wanted Billy Walters to tell them how to become bookmaker. Later he asked to speak with Walker privately. Walters wrote down the license number and passed it onto a private detective. I had no association wish them whatsoever. But Glen Walker could only envision pigeons and soft point spreads, easy money. He bet with the new bookmakers, and he was not the only one.
Fat Mat and his preppy bookies were quickly able to establish business all over town. For all of their dumb innocence, they were very sure of themselves. We Take Bets From Anyone! It is amusing now to imagine the strategy sessions held at FBI headquarters in Las Vegas in January , after 11 phone conversations between Glen Walker and the Marcus Sports Service had been intercepted.
Special agent Thomas Noble sprang into action! He assigned other agents to investigate the illegal bookmaking operation; intelligence filtered in. United States Code. And so, on Jan. Perhaps they even broke down some doors. Certainly their firearms were loaded and ready. They raided the illegal bookmakers like they had never been raided before. Meanwhile, the men who worked with Matt Marcus sat in chairs and crossed their legs, perhaps smirking to each other from time to time.
Then one day a pair of angry bettors marched into the office and demanded money they thought they had coming. They might as well have tried to get a refund from, say, the Internal Revenue Service. In other words, they did not come away with their money. Nonetheless, they had guns. Real guns, loaded with real bullets. The men behind the Marcus Sports Service were scared almost to death. The Brooks Brothers colleagues of Fat Matt Marcus had been nothing more than governmental meter maids.
The FBI now says that it went forward with the raid in order to give the IRS bookmaking operation more credibility in the streets. Senators, Harry Reid and Richard Bryan, asked to see the records and reports of the undercover bookmakers, to learn what good had come from the sting. The rumor in Las Vegas is that these were accrued by the notorious Tony Spilotro who — as it turned out — was simply continuing his career of stiffing the IRS. The IRS is facing two Congressional investigations, and its Nevada office has been shaken up severely.
Billy Walters moved to Las Vegas eight years ago with his family and his immense ego and very little else. He was worth more dead than alive, as they say. For too many years he had been operating a used-car dealership in his home state of Kentucky, and then gambling away the profits. He was in debt to several bookmakers, and he could not command credit. At 35, into his third marriage, with an ill son who was supposed to have died years before, Billy Walters believed he had no alternative but move to Las Vegas, to be a full-time professional gambler, to lay all that he had on this one final hand.
Walters can pinpoint his problems from those days, now that he is worth millions of dollars. As recently as , when he was preparing to leave Kentucky, he had lacked focus. He was a gambler, that was definite, but he had no idea how to gamble professionally. He wanted to win every single day. When he lost at the race track or when he lost betting games or when he lost playing poker or when he lost playing golf, he always felt compelled to get down another bet, to retrieve what he had lost that very day.
He recalls an evening in Kentucky when he was pitching nickels with a friend. The wagers grew until Billy Walters had lost his house — his house, from pitching nickels. Then he had to come home and tell his wife. Standing now in his kitchen, head down, hands in pockets, he seems to be recreating the scene. And we might have to move. He kept the house, but he lost his wife. She left him. That was his second wife. His father died when William Thurman Walters was not yet 2 years old, and his mother ran off, and his grandmother, who was a maid in Mufferville, Ky.
His uncle ran a pool hall. Billy Walters estimates that his first bet was made at the age of 5, when his uncle would assemble islands of Coke cases around a pool table so that the boy could reach the felt. As soon as he began to work, his grandmother charged him rent. He hustled pool, betting his rent money. He was not yet a teenager.
At 13 he moved back in with his mother, in Louisville. At 16 he had fathered a child and married the mother. Some morning he worked till at a bakery, some nights it was 3 to 11 at a gas station. Most days he went to school. That marriage lasted one year. His occupations have included newspaper boy, farmhand, shoe-shiner, baker, tobacco worker, foundry worker, painter, car dealer, realtor. To him, these were mere side jobs. In his mind he was a professional player — of pool, gin rummy, poker, blackjack, roulette, golf, the horses, whatever.
He remarried and with his second wife had two sons, which has since led Billy Walters to decide that his own childhood was not so desperate. His oldest son, Scott, should have been dead at the age of 5. After radiation they told us every day he was going to die. I stayed drunk the whole time. I was 26 at the time. I neglected my business and my family and stayed drunk. After nine months I went back to running the business. The business, he says, was a wholesale auto dealership in Louisville.
They will celebrate their 14th anniversary in September. She moved with him to Las Vegas in and served as his accountant when he began to move money for the Computer Group. She was indicted with him in January and expected to go to trial with him in November , if the case got that far. Walters says he went to work for Dr.
Ivan Mindlin in , making bets in Las Vegas and a few other territories. By then the Computer Group was four years old and churning out millions in profits each season. For the first time in his life, Billy Walters was winning consistently and holding onto the money. He invested in real estate, fast food franchises and other ventures. His confidence was such that he could play golf matched for thousands of dollars.
In other words, he would share in profits with Michael Kent, Dr. Mindlin and other core members of the group. Walters continued to place additional bets for himself until January , when the FBI raided the group of its records and cash, shutting down Walters for the remainder of the college basketball season. He complains about harassment by the FBI, saying it confiscated funds and refused to transfer them to the IRS to pay his taxes.
He claims he is persecuted in part because the government loathes his attorney, Oscar Goodman, a colorful Las Vegas lawyer who has represented many mob figures. For three years they tell us the case is dead. Then all of a sudden, two weeks before the statute of limitations is going to run out, they come back with these indictments.
The day before we were indicted, my attorney Goodman tried to contact the Strike Force to say we would be willing to turn ourselves in. The next day they come barging into my house, drag me out of bed, put my wife in leg irons.
Walters says he agreed to give this, his first interview, out of a feeling of desperation. He perceives himself to be a rare gambling success story — a man who was in debt before he came to Las Vegas. If you can get arrested for betting games here…well, let me just say I never would have dreamed that the things that have happened to me, with the FBI and the rest of it, could happen here.
Then he admits that his life could be much worse. Inviting a reporter upstairs, he visits with his son, Scott, 22, is no bigger than a year-old, and outside the house he wears a cap or wig to cover the hair loss caused by his cancer treatments. He recently got his first job, as a busboy at the Horseshoe casino downtown. His father says he could be no prouder of his son. At one time the Regency Towers was known as a high palace for the mob.
Irwin Molasky would surely argue that this no longer is the case. Indeed, he commenced another debate over a piece of real estate in , when the subject was his California resort Rancho La Costa. Molasky and his co-owner at La Costa, Merv Adelson, who at one time was chairman and chief executive at Lorimar, did not appreciate such unsavory allegations.
It is important that he be recognized as a sober and legitimate businessman. And in fact, Molasky has never been charged with a crime. However, Dr. Ivan Mindlin was not interested in currying favor with thousands of legal bettors.
He was interested mainly in Irwin Molasky. For years, Dr. Mindlin had been pretending to be the brains behind the Computer Group, claiming to be the inventor of its unbeatable program for forecasting ballgames. It appears that Dr. Mindlin was never much more than an intermediary for the group, as his own attorney admits today.
But Mindlin surely knew how to maximize his position. When Dr. Mindlin needed help in the commodities business, who did he look to? Irwin Molasky, with whom he became partners in the purchase and sale of commodities, according to attorney Stan Hunterton.
Mindlin speak of Molasky in Well, for some reason that day, the team we took had jumped up to 5 points — which almost never happened. Usually when we took a team, the points went in our direction. That day they sold their bets on the underdog at 4 points to Molasky.
And we were able to use the money to bet on the 5, which was a better bet. Then, in , the government began to resurrect its case. Molasky hired Hunterton, who says he had served as a special attorney within the Organized Crime Strike Forces for 10 years, until But Hunterton denies the assertion, made by others in the group, that representing Molasky was a conflict of interest. Using his contacts — which the attorney admits were the reason Molasky hired him — Hunterton reportedly was able to win immunity for Molasky, in return for his testimony before the grand jury.
However, some of the indicted members of the Computer Group think he may not be entirely finished with this business — not yet, anyway. If their case goes to trial in November, as scheduled, they plan to subpoena Molasky and question him vigorously, not only about his betting with Ivan Mindlin, but also regarding his attorney, Stanley Hunterton, who played both sides as effectively as anyone in the Computer Group ever had.
After he had been raided by the FBI in January , Michael Kent began to ask the kinds of questions he should have been raising long ago. So began the end of the Computer Group. He wanted to know how the group was run, and what became of his information after he gave it to Dr.
Mindlin, and how much money his program actually was generating. His partners in the computer group informed Kent that his precious information was being shared with the outside world in ways that could only profit Mindlin. Therefore, no profits would be paid to any members of the group.
By Kent had hired a lawyer of his own, Steven Brooks of Boston, who advised him that many of his current practices with Dr. Kent says he tried to change the way he conducted business with Mindlin, but had little success. Wary that he could not account for the actions of his partner, Michael Kent nonetheless kept trying to deal with Mindlin.
In return, Kent would tell Mindlin which teams to play and how much to bet, and Mindlin could keep all profits. However, Kent says, the forecasts lost money for Mindlin in the first week, at which point he canceled their agreement. At this point Michael Kent was at the end of his rope. He had placed all of his trust in Dr. In return Mindlin had seemed to treat him like a son.
The truth of their relationship, Kent now believed, was that he had been playing the fool to Mindlin for all these years. They suspect that he owes them more, but in all likelihood they will never be able to prove it. Kent agreed to explain what he knew about the Computer Group and turn over evidence.
In exchange, he was granted immunity from prosecution. Today he accuses Kent of extortion. He knows numbers like nobody else. And Kent had no idea. Yet Billy Walters admits that he too was fooled by Mindlin.
I was the guy who moved the money. By , the Computer Group was dead, victim of a human virus. Vanity and greed had infected its affairs. The computer wizard, Michael Kent, was refusing to supply his information, and the gambler, Billy Walters, was refusing to move the money. Yet Dr. Mindlin was still in business. Indeed, the doctor was something of a tragic figure, broken by his own greed, devastated personally as well as professionally.
While trying to recoup his relationship with Michael Kent, the doctor had engaged in a worldwide, yearlong search to find a cure for his only son, Gary Mindlin. Then another tragedy struck the Mindlin household. The coroner found that she was probably allergic to penicillin — penicillin that she apparently received from her husband, the doctor. The autopsy report indicated that Georgia Mindlin, 56, was suffering from a sore throat on March 19, Mindlin admitted to giving her to milligrams of penicillin, which she took orally, after her evening meal.
She got out of bed and collapsed, falling into cardiorespiratory arrest. The doctor called for an ambulance. The police arrived at p. Police say that Dr. Mindlin attempted to revive his wife with a shot of adrenaline after her airway had closed off in reaction to the penicillin. As for his own probe, Schmidt says he found nothing more than the hunches of relatives to make him suspect foul play.
He declares the investigation inactive. His former colleagues say that Ivan Mindlin still has not given up. They say he works with a beard in Miami, using the same program Michael Kent developed 10 years ago.
Kent himself would be the first to warn his successors that the business is no longer so easy. Kent has formed a legal sports betting corporation with two partners — his brother John Kent and their friend, Mark Ricci, who stopped working for Mindlin in When Michael Kent was a mere centerfielder, trying to decipher the strengths and weaknesses of his softball team at Westinghouse 18 years ago, there was no real computer science in sport.
Kent was at the leading edge of all that. Today every statistic is calibrated, measured. Every human decision can be backed by numbers. Michael Kent was among the first to find reason within the numbers. In November, if all goes as planned — and there is nothing in the history of this case to suggest that it will — his partners will be reunited in the courtroom once more Kent himself was granted immunity.
Though Assistant U. At that critical point, the six-year case will be handled by Jane Hawkins, even though she has been an Assistant U. Attorney for less than two years. George, before whom — and a fine coincidence this is — she will be trying the case. Abandoned now by all the others who have worked on this case, Noble seems to be hanging out to dry.
He works for the FBI out of Chicago these days, his reputation stained. For six quixotic years he led the chase after the Computer Group in the belief that it was the largest bookmaking operation in the country. He provided information that resulted in raids of 45 homes or offices in 16 states. He requested a raid of the Internal Revenue Service. But he knew what he was doing!
He oversaw the seizure of evidence by the truckload: bank checks, the origins of which had to be traced, hundreds of thousands of dollars with serial numbers that demanded verification, gambling ledgers that had to be interpreted, not to mention , pages of computer printouts, incomprehensible to all but Michael Kent. There were 89 boxes of evidence in government storage, much of it still there today.
Then there was the matter of dealing with this vast array of people. Every man and woman raided had a lawyer demanding appeasement. It is no easy thing to capture a group of criminals these days. Thomas Noble still maintains his firm belief that the Computer Group was a criminal enterprise worthy of prosecution. But at what cost? Then, in January, after six years of investigation and review, after the case had been opened and shut and opened again, the indictments at long last came down in Las Vegas.
Nineteen men and women were placed under arrest. Each was charged with up to counts of conspiracy, gambling and racketeering, related to their obvious use of the telephone to place bets and exchange betting information across state lines. So the government admits, at last, that the Computer Group simply was betting on games. Six years with Big Brother has not cured the Computer Group of its addiction to gambling.
Of the 19 who were indicted in January, most are still gamblers. Like deposed heads of state, they await trial while the system grinds on without them. In Las Vegas, all the top betting operations now have access to their own Michael Kents. They hire their Billy Walters to move the money on a national level.
Aided by their Glen Walkers and Dale Conways and Arnie Haaheims, they flood the market and try to manipulate the line. In all of the Vegas sports books there are agents for the betting combines, soldiers armed with cellular phones and beepers, waiting for instructions.
For all their vast organization, these modern brokers of sports bets will never match the sensation created by their forefathers, who, not 10 years ago, were sophisticated enough to beat the linemakers at their own game. Their legacy was to ruin the game for all who might try to duplicate their success, including themselves.
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