U.S. federal authorities assisted Montana state gambling agents in conducting an illegal online gambling raid in Billings that ended with a man being charged with a felony count of operating an illegal gambling enterprise.
The raid included both FBI and U.S. Secret Service agents who ended up rummaging through defendant John Fischer's trash looking for potential evidence. Fischer was detained and later charged by U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Todd and allowed to remain free without bail until his trial.
Federal prosecutors allege that Fischer operated a sports betting site that was linked to a secondary site that managed the internet gambling activities. Each of those sites utilized servers based in Panama and received betting action between July 2009 and December 2011.
Prosecutors say that they began their investigation in July 2009 following an informant tip. Authorities then began sifting through Fischer's trash for many months, eventually recovering evidence such as ledgers and bet slips. Among the evidence collected was a $400 fund transfer receipt that the defendant sent to Nicaragua.
Court documents for the case claim that authorities executed a search warrant on Fischer's residence in April 2010 during which Fischer spoke to authorities and “readily admitted that he was conducting an illegal Internet gambling enterprise, that he was a bookie operating as a middleman in a nationwide network, and that he used Mymvpcub.com to facilitate transactions with his customers,”
Documents also show that the defendant had “at least $136,000 in possible gambling losses."
Prosecutors also allege that Fischer had a similar charge in 2002 wherein he struck a deal to avoid felony prosecution. In that deal Fischer plead guilty to four gambling misdemeanors and agreed to provide “a complete, detailed and truthful statement regarding his sports gambling activities.”