By Jeff Lehr
JOPLIN, Mo. —
The third bookie in the past year to be convicted of running an illegal sports gambling operation in Joplin was fined $2,000 and granted probation at a sentencing hearing Friday in federal court in Springfield.
U.S. District Judge Gary Fenner ordered Clyde A. Jeffries, 77, to serve two years of probation on a conviction for transmitting wagering information over the Internet.
Under terms of his probation, Jeffries must pay the fine within 30 months and submit to searches by his probation officer. He is prohibited from engaging in any type of gambling, including on the Internet or in gambling establishments.
Jeffries also must provide the United States Probation Office with access to any requested financial information and not incur any new credit charges or open any new lines of credit without the approval of his probation officer.
The defendant was charged in a sealed indictment handed up by a federal grand jury on Feb. 29, 2012, with running an illegal gambling business from Oct. 25, 2010, to Feb. 8, 2011, which is the day FBI agents served a search warrant on his home at 2008 Arthur Lane in Joplin.
His plea agreement states that the agents found evidence of bookmaking, including a sheet in his pocket with numbers assigned to individual bettors and notations as to amounts owed. Agents also seized $23,000 cash and five handguns.
The document states that Jeffries, who now lives in Las Vegas, was cooperative and truthful with agents on the day the warrant was served and in a subsequent interview with an agent. He reportedly acknowledged having run a sports booking operation out of his home for years, telling the agent that he first became involved with gambling in Joplin many years earlier, dealing blackjack and running a craps game.
Jeffries told the FBI that in 2009, he formed his own bookmaking operation that developed about 30 steady clients. He said none of the clients would make any wager larger than $500 per game. He ran the operation through the use of a website server located in Costa Rica.
He would provide his clients with access to a website known as www.betcc.com, an account number and a password, and they could log in, view betting lines and place wagers. Jeffries paid the website $25 per client and sent the fees by mail to various addresses in the U.S. at the direction of the Costa Rican server.
Two other bookies pleaded guilty this past year to running a separate illegal sports betting operation in Joplin using the Internet. Kenneth B. Lovett, 73, and William Lisle, 58, also were fined $2,000 and were granted probation. Lovett and Lisle were required to spend six months in home confinement, but Jeffries is not.