On January 31, 2019, John Dougherty of Keyport, New Jersey submitted a guilty plea in a case concerning a gambling conspiracy. Dougherty admitted to playing a role in the conspiracy and as a result, forfeited $80,000. Keyport is a borough in Monmouth County, with a population of only 7,240. The borough sits on Raritan Bay, just across the water from New York state.
According to papers filed by U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito, Dougherty conspired with an unidentified New Jersey resident from January 2011 to October 2017, to engage in a business endeavor that violated New Jersey state gambling laws at the time. Sports betting was not legalized in New Jersey until June 2018. So at the time of Dougherty’s gambling enterprise, it was in violation of both federal and local state law.
Carpenito was appointed U.S. Attorney in the state of New Jersey on January 5, 2018, by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Carpenito had previously served as a federal prosecutor in the New Jersey office from 2003 to 2008.
According to the legal filing, while partnering with the unidentified New Jersey resident, Dougherty had organized a group of online sports bettors. The pair then launched a website in order to conduct illegal sports betting. The website allowed the participants to create their own anonymous usernames and passwords.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito’s filing described how Dougherty, 55, used the money he received from the unidentified New Jersey resident to pay off the website’s winning bettors. Dougherty also received the wagers from the website users, and the pair would meet on a regular basis to divide up the illicit profits.
Dougherty and his unidentified partner got into trouble through the use of interstate commerce as a means to carry out their illegal business. Interstate commerce included the use of cell phones and the internet, which brought the gambling endeavor to the attention of federal authorities. The conspirators not only sent each other betting-related text messages and phone calls, which violate federal communication laws, but they also utilized UPS overnight delivery, further implicating themselves
According to the court documents, the conspirators were very successful in their illegal gambling enterprise, an industry that is both very lucrative but also bound to witness villeins who want to take shortcuts. The pair even communicated using secret code words and codenames. when they texted each other about a “35K” wager that one of their bettors had placed. That particular covert communication concerned waiting for the payoff. Furthermore, the money was sent through UPS; when Dougherty finally received the delivery, he texted back to his partner, “Eagle has landed. Gonna count it now.”
Mr. Dougherty ultimately pled guilty in Trenton Federal Court to a single count of conspiracy to utilize facilities in interstate commerce to carry out an endeavor involving gambling. While Dougherty has already forfeited $80,000 he earned from the illicit venture, he still faces additional fines that could total $250,000. Dougherty could also face a jail sentence as long as five years.
Dougherty’s sentencing will take place on May 6, 2020. Thus far, there has not been an official statement concerning any charges related to his partner, or if the anonymous New Jersey resident faces any charges at all.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito had high praises for the FBI special agents who worked on the case, noting that their tireless investigation finally helped to bring John Dougherty to justice. The Special Agent in Charge was Gregory W. Ehrie who works out of Newark, as well as special agents of the IRS-Criminal Investigation unit, directed by Special Agent in Charge John R. Tafur.
The government is represented in the Federal case by Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Imbert. Imbert works out of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Special Prosecutions Division. The Defense’s counsel is Keith G. Oliver Esq., of Middletown, New Jersey.
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