Don Hellinger, publisher of US fashion magazine Nylon, was sentenced on Wednesday to 36 months in prison for his part in illegally transferring US$44m to US internet bettors on behalf of gambling businesses located outside of the US.
The former president of Nylon Holding Inc, who also publishes the tattoo lifestyle magazine Inked through his Quadra Publishing company, had struck a guilty plea agreement in March ahead of his trial on charges of conspiracy, operating an illegal money transmission business, operating an illegal gambling business, transmission of wagers and wagering information, and international money laundering. The offences had carried a maximum jail sentence of 91 years and fine of US$4.25m.
Hellinger and five other men – brother Ronald Hellinger, Michael Weisberg, Randy Trost, Jami Pearlman, and Michele Quigley – were charged in a February 2012 indictment of illegally funnelling more than US$40m “from foreign internet gambling business to bettors and others in the United States” through a company they owned and operated, Payment Processing Center, LLC (PPC), between January 2005 and February 2006.
The offshore-based betting websites for which PPC is alleged to have transferred funds on behalf of included Betonusa.com, Bodog.com, Sportsbook.com, Sportsbetting.com and Betonsports.com, with US bettors receiving cheques from a series of anonymous sounding companies such as DTX Cubepay and UC Safetex.
Hellinger’s connection to payment processing for internet gambling companies only came to light as part of a 2006 grand jury investigation into PPC’s alleged involvement in a global telemarketing scam, in which thousands of elderly people in the US were duped into disclosing personal bank account information through the false and misleading offer of goods and services.