ST. LOUIS -- Former online gambling executive David Carruthers was freed on a $1 million bond yesterday after spending nearly a month behind bars following his arrest on racketeering and fraud charges.
Carruthers, 48, was freed after a hearing before US District Judge Mary Ann Medler. He had been expected to be released as early as Monday but it took days to work out details. Among those details: A dedicated phone line had to be installed at the residence where he will stay.
The charges against Carruthers are part of a 22-count indictment against London-based BetOnSports PLC being prosecuted by US Attorney Catherine Hanaway . Carruthers was chief executive of the company until shortly after his arrest, when he was fired.
The case is one of the largest US prosecutions of an online gambling company and has caused BetOnSports to close its US-focused operations. Yesterday, the US attorney for the eastern district of Missouri said on its website that BetOnSports PLC will close down its operations. The announcement comes after the troubled online betting company said Friday it was shutting down its lucrative US business, just weeks after authorities ordered the besieged company to stop taking bets from parties in the this country.
Early yesterday morning, Carruthers entered Medler's courtroom in leg irons and handcuffs, escorted by a security guard. Carruthers sat alone at a table and declined to speak with The Associated Press.
Carruthers, a British citizen, will live under house arrest until his trial on fraud and racketeering charges. The first hearing in the trial is scheduled for Monday.
According to the terms of his bond, Carruthers will live in an upscale hotel in the suburb of Clayton. He will not be allowed to leave the hotel except for court appearances, meetings with his attorney, or medical emergencies. An ankle bracelet will monitor his whereabouts.
During the hearing, Carruthers asked the judge only one question: ``The house incarceration: Is that 24 hours a day?"
Medler told him it was. Federal officials overseeing Carruthers's bond wouldn't say whether he will be forced to stay in his room or have access to the entire hotel. Carruthers' attorney Scott Rosenblum said his client is not a flight risk.
``He's looking forward to responding to these charges in court," Rosenblum said. He said he's happy Carruthers will be out on bond.
``Certainly it will help in having access to Mr. Carruthers to defend him in court," Rosenblum said.
Federal prosecutors insisted that none of Carruthers' bond money come from the treasury of BetOnSports, Rosenblum said. He wouldn't say how Carruthers came up with the full payment, but said all the money was raised through legal means.
Hanaway said she will continue to prosecute the case against BetOnSports regardless of the company's decision to close its offices and stop accepting US-based bets. She said the move does not absolve the company from taking illegal bets in the past.