Two brothers who led an international gambling ring that took millions of dollars in illegal sports wagers over more than a decade in the San Diego and Los Angeles areas were each sentenced Friday to time in federal prison.
Jan Harold Portocarrero, 42, was sentenced to 18 months behind bars. His older brother, 44-year-old Erik Portocarrero, was given a 22-month sentence. Each was fined $50,000 and ordered to report for custody Aug. 31.
U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino also ordered the defendants to forfeit $1.7 million they obtained from their illegal gambling business, “Macho Sports.”
In addition, the Portocarreros and 16 other defendants were ordered to forfeit unlawful gambling proceeds valued at more than $10 million.
“After running an international racketeering organization for two decades, Jan and Erik Portocarrero finally faced American justice today,” U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said. “Despite attempting to evade U.S. law enforcement by moving their sophisticated operations to Peru and Norway, they must now face substantial custodial sentences and millions in forfeitures. No longer can their global Macho Sports enterprise engage in violence, threats and intimidation to amass illegal profits.”
According to court documents, the FBI investigation of Macho Sports began in 2011, and employed wiretaps and undercover agents to infiltrate the organization and uncover the defendants’ illegal gambling and extortionate debt collection activities.
Nearly two years ago, in coordinated law enforcement actions in Norway, Los Angeles and San Diego, FBI agents and Norwegian police arrested 18 members of Macho Sports and seized nearly $12 million in illegal assets.
Jan and Erik Portocarrero were both arrested in June 2013; Jan in Los Angeles and Erik in Oslo, Norway. Erik Portocarrero fought extradition for 22 months until the Kingdom of Norway extradited him to the United States.
Using the Internet and toll-free telephone lines, Macho Sports — which began in 1995 — accepted high-stakes sports bets from customers throughout California, prosecutors said.
The organization ensured prompt payment of debts through, among other means, intimidation and a reputation of violence toward delinquent customers, according to prosecutors.
— City News Service
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