2 sentenced in online sports gambling ring

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Two Scottsdale men were sentenced Monday for their involvement in an Internet sports gambling conspiracy.

Oscar ("Paul") Barden, 37, of Scottsdale, was sentenced to three years probation and 150 hours of community service.  Richard Michael DiCapua, 69, of Scottsdale, was sentenced to two years probation and 100 hours of community service.

In their plea agreements, the men admitted to their involvement from March 2007 to August 2009 in an extensive sports wagering operation led by Daniel Meisel, the principal bookmaker who acted as the bank or house for the operation.

Meisel had a number of "agents" working under him who all had bettors that they serviced, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.  An earlier-sentenced defendant, Christopher Finn, acted both at the direction of Meisel and had his own sub-operation as part of the overall gambling ring and multiple defendants were involved to varying degrees, reporting to either Meisel or Finn. '

The illegal gambling operation used Internet-based offshore sports books located in Costa Rica for making and tracking bets on sporting events. The Costa Rican sports books did not have an interest in the outcome of the wagers, but charged a fee for managing each bettor's account. The defendants paid out or collected cash in person from each bettor.

Meisel is a fugitive and remains at large.

On Oct. 26, six other defendants were sentenced: James Lee Baker, 42, of Peoria; Fred Guaragna, 60, of Scottsdale; Blaine Taylor Moore, 39, of Sedona; Diane Beck, 54, of Scottsdale; and Bradley Mark Smothermon, 50, of Cave Creek. All previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy in transmission of wagering information and operating an illegal gambling business and all were sentenced to three years of probation and 150 hours of community service.

Christopher Finn, 39, of Phoenix, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy in transmission of wagering information and operating an illegal gambling business, and one count of aiding and abetting an illegal gambling business. In addition to a four year probation term, Finn was sentenced on Oct. 26 to eight months of home confinement and 200 hours of community service.

Todd Kaplan, 38, of Scottsdale, pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony and was sentenced on Nov. 10  to three years probation.

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