Local business owner indicted by federal grand jury

by chris bridges - the walton tribune

Charges include six counts of tax evasion, money laundering, illegal sports betting

The owner of Amici in Monroe was among 11 people indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that the sports betting organization they managed evaded tens of millions of dollars in excise taxes for three years.

Joshua Gentrup, 36, of Athens, has been charged with six counts of tax evasion, one count of conspiring to operate an illegal sports-betting organization, one count of conspiring to commit money laundering, and two counts of money laundering.

The case against Gentrup and others has been filed in the US Distict Court Northern District of Alabama by the US Attorney’s Office for the district.

Repeated attempts to contact Gentrup for comment Thursday and Friday were not successful. He has owned the Monroe Amici establishment since 2015. 

Calls and emails to Gentrup’s attorney in Alabama were also not returned as of press time Friday.

U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge Lisa Fontanette and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Katrina W. Berger announced the 114-count indictment earlier this month. 

Also indicted were:

•Timothy J. Pughsley, 51, of Birmingham, charged with 38 counts of tax evasion, one count of conspiring to operate an illegal sports-betting organization, one count of conspiring to commit money laundering, and four counts of money laundering.

•Christopher Burdette, 30, of Chelsea, Ala. charged with six counts of tax evasion, one count of conspiring to operate an illegal sports-betting organization, one count of conspiring to commit money laundering, and one count of money laundering.

•Nathanael Burdette, 36, of Birmingham, charged with six counts of tax evasion, one count of conspiring to operate an illegal sports-betting organization, one count of conspiring to commit money laundering, and two counts of money laundering.

•Jonathan Lind, 44, of Birmingham, charged with six counts of tax evasion, one count of conspiring to operate an illegal sports-betting organization, one count of conspiring to commit money laundering, and two counts of money laundering.

•Thomas V. Zito, 57, of Vestavia, Ala., charged with six counts of tax evasion, one count of conspiring to operate an illegal sports-betting organization, one count of conspiring to commit money laundering, and one count of money laundering.

•Christopher Donaldson, 46, of Trussville, Ala., charged with one count of conspiring to operate an illegal sport-betting organization and one count of conspiring to commit money laundering.

•Gary L. Rapp, Jr., 44, of Lakeland, Tennessee, charged with six counts of tax evasion, one count of conspiring to operate an illegal sports-betting organization, one count of conspiring to commit money laundering, and two counts of money laundering.

•Mark Giaquinto, 50, of Upton, Mass., charged with six counts of tax evasion, one count of conspiring to operate an illegal sports-betting organization, one count of conspiring to commit money laundering, and two counts of money laundering.

•Matthew D. Voorhees, 47, of Englewood, Colo., charged with six counts of tax evasion, one count of conspiring to operate an illegal sports-betting organization, one count of conspiring to commit money laundering, and two counts of money laundering.

•David Richards, 38, of Las Vegas, Nev., charged with six counts of tax evasion, one count of conspiring to operate an illegal sports-betting organization, one count of conspiring to commit money laundering, and two counts of money laundering.

According to the indictment, Pughsley began operating a bookmaking business about 17 years ago which eventually became known as “Red44.” Bookmaking and betting activities for the organization occurred online through an offshore server located in Costa Rica. 

Prosecutors say the men were senior agents or founding members of Red44. Prosecutors say Red44 is estimated to have taken in hundreds of millions of dollars in wagers from 2019 through 2021. They estimate a gross profit of nearly $75 million over the three-year period, which would have resulted in approximately $20 million in excise taxes owed to the IRS.

IRS Criminal Investigations and Homeland Security Investigations investigated the case. 

Assistant United States Attorneys Catherine Crosby, Kristen Osborne and Ryan Rummage are prosecuting the case.

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