Legendz Founder Bartice "Luke" King Sentenced to Probation

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Bartice "Luke" King, founder of former Panama based sportsbook Legendz, has been sentenced to five years of probation and five months of home confinement, ending a long drawn out case which began in April of 2013 when 34 individuals and 23 businesses were charged in a 95-page indictment.

Facing long odds, King's legal team earned their money's worth and ultimately got King off the hook on the most serious charge against him of racketeering (RICO) last April. King was found guilty of operating an illegal gambling business and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

During the multi-year case, King served four months in the county jail while awaiting trial, served over seven months of house arrest, had been subject to location monitoring and travel restrictions for another three years, and even saw his wife acquitted on all charges in her own jury trial.

King has been ordered to pay a total of $12,607,321.99 as mandated in the preliminary forfeiture report dated March 6, 2017.

Terms of Probation: "You are hereby sentenced to probation for a term of: 60 months, consisting of 60 months as to Count 2(s) and 60 months as to Count 3(s), both such terms to run concurrently."

Judge Stephen P. Friot also imposed 312 hours of community service, with 104 hours due for each of the first three years of his probation. Additionally, King must not "enter, frequent, or be involved with any illegal gambling establishment" during the period of his probation.

The prosecution, led by US Attorney Mark A. Yancey, pushed for King to be sentenced to 41 to 51 months' imprisonment, and sought for an enhanced charge of obstruction of justice to be tacked on for King allegedly obstructing and impeding the government's investigation by disposing of hard drives believed to contain key evidence.

The defense argued in their own presentencing memorandum that King denied requesting the destruction of hard drives to impede the government's investigation, but rather as a matter of personal data security and privacy. King's legal team argued that he is a man of high integrity who started with very little and built his sports betting business in Panama through hard work and perseverance:

"It may seem duplicitous to suggest that someone involved in illegal activities can have a reputation for integrity, fairness, a strong work ethic, and honesty, but there is ample testimony supporting this assessment of Mr. King and no testimony contradicting it."

Read the full judgment.

In retrospect, the sweeping indictment against King for running Legendz Sports, a reputable and popular sports betting business during its day, is seemingly at odds with today's US gambling climate with legal online poker in multiple states, the embrace of fantasy sports betting, and states like New Jersey pushing for the repeal of 24-year-old federal legislation against state-sponsored sports betting outside of Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, and Montana.

Sportsbook Review has served as an online sports betting industry watchdog since 1999. Players who feel that they were treated unfairly or who have not been paid legitimate winnings from gaming companies are encouraged to submit a sportsbook complaint form.


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