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Internet gambling operators indicted

WorldWide Telesports faces 12 charges

The fugitive owners of a gambling website based on the Caribbean island of Antigua have laundered $250m (about £132m) in profits, according to charges brought by the US Department of Justice.

WWTS (WorldWide Telesports), its former owner William Scott and employee Jessica Davis have been charged with 12 counts of conspiracy, money laundering and failure to disclose foreign financial accounts, according to an indictment unsealed on Tuesday by the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

Justice Department investigators said Scott and Davis are fugitives who have been on the run since being charged in a separate federal money-laundering case in New York in March 1998.

In January 2003, Scott sold WWTS to Betcorp, in Melbourne, Australia, a publicly traded company. Betcorp did not respond to requests for comment in time for this article.

According to Betcorp, WWTS still offers internet, telephone and wireless wagering to customers worldwide. In 2003, it accepted more than $800m (£425m) in wagers and reporting earnings of $12.5m (£6.6m). Over the company's lifetime, WWTS has paid out $6bn (£3.2bn) to winning bettors, according to Betcorp.

According to the Justice Department charges, American sports fans used the WWTS website and freephone numbers to bet on baseball, basketball, American football, ice hockey and other sports. Between April 1998 and October 2004, WWTS made $250m from those wagers.

Scott and Davis are charged with laundering that money through a series of shell corporations and foreign banks, and with violating the Wager Wire Act, which prohibits using the internet, telephone and US mail for interstate and foreign gambling.

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