Jurors: Racing Services Must Forfeit $99M

Racing Services, the North Dakota wagering company convicted of illegal gambling, must forfeit about $99 million, the amount authorities said was wagered at an unlicensed site operated by the company.

A jury that found Racing Services founder Susan Bala and her company guilty Feb. 4 on 12 federal counts deliberated Feb. 7 after a 45-minute forfeiture hearing, the Grand Forks Herald reported. Bala was ordered to pay $19.7 million of the total.

"It's part of the process," Bala said after the hearing. "I really don't have a reaction. It has sunk in...and it's really, 'Where we go from here?' "

Sentencing has been scheduled for April 29. Mark Beauchene, Bala's attorney, wouldn't comment because of what he called "pending issues," the Herald reported.

U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley said the guilty verdicts and forfeiture ruling show prosecutors presented a clear argument in a complicated case. Authorities said $99 million was wagered at the south Fargo gambling parlor from October 2003 to April 28, 2003.

The wagering at the parlor produced about $19.7 million in revenue. The jury didn't subtract about $12.8 million in rebates. Prosecutors said Bala directed that money to high-rolling gamblers as an incentive to bet instead of paying a charity or state taxes as required by law, the newspaper reported.

Bala, 50, and her company were convicted of conducting an illegal gambling business, conspiracy to conduct an illegal gambling business, illegal wire transfer, and nine counts of money laundering. Each of the money laundering charges carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The other three counts have a combined maximum penalty of 12 years in prison.

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