LOS ANGELES (CNS) — An investigation into an illegal sports-betting ring has netted 14 arrests, including a Santa Clarita man alleged to have been the boss of the organization, officials said
Cyrus Irani, 37, the alleged boss, was taken into custody at his home, the FBI reported. Irani was among 17 people who had been indicted by a grand jury in Queens County, New York. Three of the suspects remain at large.
The grand jury indicted the 17 people in New York, Nevada, Arizona and California on charges of “unlawfully operating a highly sophisticated sports gambling enterprise that stretched westward from Queens County and utilized offshore-based gambling websites,” an FBI statement said.
“The enterprise, which is alleged to have annually booked more than $32 million in bets, is also accused of laundering its criminal proceeds by depositing and withdrawing large sums of cash from various banks throughout the United States,” the FBI reported.
Among the others arrested in the Southland on Wednesday, Oct. 28, were:
— Clark W. Bruner of Downey, 56, who is alleged to have been Irani’s second-in-command, known as a “primary agent.” Bruner allegedly administrated the accounts, managed various “agents,” and collected winnings from the agents.
— Bruner’s sons, Chris Bruner of Downey, 31, and Clark “CJ” Bruner of Menifee in Riverside County, 33, both of whom are alleged to have been agents.
— Saul Salami of Santa Clarita, 45, alleged to have been an agent.
— Cassondra Smith-Luttman of San Diego, 32, alleged to have been an agent.
— Julio Alvarenga of Santa Clarita, 40, alleged to have been an agent.
— Jeffrey Metelitz of Valencia, 54, alleged to have been an agent.
— Hyun “David” Chang of Long Beach, 37, alleged to have been a money collector; and
— Thomas Cortese of Santa Barbara, 49.
Two Southland suspects remain at large: Andres Arriaga of Valencia, 41, alleged to have been an agent; and Richard Vanderwyk of Seal Beach, 41, alleged to have been a money collector.
Also arrested were a man from Las Vegas and three men from New York. A Phoenix woman remains at large.
According to the FBI, the operation used the offshore website www.365action.com to allow betting on both professional and college basketball, football, hockey and baseball. It also used an 800 phone number.
There allegedly were more than 2,000 “active bettors.”
Investigators have seized more than $3 million from bank accounts allegedly controlled by Irani.