LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Two Las Vegas are facing federal charges after being accused of running a multimillion dollar sports betting pyramid scheme that defrauded more than 600 investors.
John Frank Thomas III, 75, who uses other aliases, and Thomas Joseph Becker, 72, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 13 counts of wire fraud. Thomas and Becker induced more than 600 individuals to deposit money —from less than $10,000 to over $500,000 — into their purported investment funds, for a total of at least $29 million.
According to allegations in a 14-count indictment, from September 2010 to August 2019, Thomas and Becker maintained — and advertised to investors as supposed investment funds — the following entities: Sports Psychometrics; Vegas Basketball Club; Vegas Football Club; Einstein Sports Advisory; Quantum Sports Advisory; Wellington Sports Club; and Welscorp, Inc.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the two men made false representations to investors that they would use their sports betting skills and strategy to make sports bets with investors’ money. They even said their “special insights” could generate profits of 140% to 180% on $100 bets. It’s alleged the men also misrepresented to investors that their accounts were multiplying when no betting had even occurred. Investors were also unable to cash out any investments.
The men allegedly spent investors’ funds on personal items, including dining, housing, home improvement, and transportation.
“Nevada has earned a worldwide reputation as the gold standard in gaming integrity,” said U.S. Attorney Trutanich. “Our office will continue working with our law enforcement partners and the gaming industry, including the FBI, to maintain Nevada’s reputation — which reflects the efforts of hardworking Nevadans across our state — by investigating and prosecuting violations of the law, and by helping enhance compliance programs.”
The two men are set to go to trial on Jan. 2, 2021. If convicted, both men could face at least 20 years in prison as well as a $250,000 fine.