Racing Services Officials Appear in Court

By Associated Press
A preliminary hearing has been set in North Dakota state court for two executives of a Fargo horse-betting company who are accused of running an illegal off-track betting site.

Susan Bala, who founded Racing Services Inc., and Raymundo Diaz appeared in East Central District Court on Thursday, before Judge John Irby. They did not enter pleas.

Bala, Diaz, Racing Services and Global Contact --a company owned by Diaz --each are facing one felony count. The preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 5.

Bala and Diaz also are scheduled for a Feb. 23 trial in federal court, where they face a 12-count indictment alleging conspiracy to conduct an illegal gambling business and money laundering.

Federal authorities say Racing Services ran an illegal off-track betting shop in Fargo that took in $99 million in wagers from October 2002 through April 2003.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says the company paid no taxes and was not run by a charity, as required by state law.

The state Racing Commission voted last month to give the state's simulcast license to another Fargo company, Lien Games.