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High comedy continues to emerge from the US-based legal case involving one-time celebrity sports tout Adam Meyer, who remains in custody awaiting trial on charges of extorting $25 million from a wealthy Wisconsin punter who once paid for Meyer’s supposed expertise in picking winners.
Meyer, who once billed himself as the “the sports consultant to the stars,” faces six felony charges in connection with the extortion scheme. The charges against Meyer include three counts of wire fraud and one count each of extortion, interstate travel in aid of a racketeering enterprise, and brandishing a firearm in connection with the commission of other crimes (referring to the extortion charge).
That episode is the core of the bizarre Adam Meyer tale, in which he and an associate are accused of holding a gun to the head of Meyer’s former Wisconsin betting client, wealthy Wisconsin liquor distributorship owner Gary Sadoff. Meyer and the associate allegedly extracted many millions from Sadoff via the direct threats with the handgun and other suggestions of harm that would come to Sadoff’s immediate family.
As the case has progressed, the tale of Adam Meyer has grown ever and ever more bizarre. He’s gone through several lawyers, while at times attempting to mount both an insanity defense and a related claim in which Meyer asserts that he broke the law at the direction of government agents. While there is some evidence that Meyer served as an informant in one or more US-led cases targeting “offshore” sports betting services, it’s a bit ludicrous to suggest that Mayer’s holding a gun to a wealthy client’s head was somehow justified as part of Meyer needing to maintain his “celebrity sports tout” image… and yes, Meyer inferred that it was.
Meyer has even seen his bail revoked — he now sits in a cell, awaiting trial — after blatantly ignoring the terms of his pre-trial release, including failing to continue ongoing treatment protocols for drug addiction.
The latest developments include the unsealing of court documents related to two of the major story lines inside the Meyer case, details of the gun-to-head extortion threat against Sadoff and further claims about Meyer’s supposed stool-pigeon role for the FBI and other US agencies. In recent updates, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has offered entertaining excerpts on both fronts.
According to a recent J-S update, one large chunk of the money extorted from Sadoff, about $9.8 million, came in connection with a flight made from Florida to Wisconsin by Meyer and an associate of his, now identified as Ray Batista. The court documents assert that after arriving in Wisconsin and meeting with Sadoff in a car. Meyer made the demand for millions while Batista “racked” the handgun (cocking and loading a live round into the firing chamber) in the back seat, then placing the muzzle of the gun against the back of Sadoff’s head.
Batista has not been charged in the case as of yet, and has refused requests to voluntarily testify in the matter.
Separately, the J-S reported on details from now-unsealed motions filed by one of Meyer’s prior attorneys back in March, in connection with Meyer’s previously alleged cooperation with US authorities investigating major illicit sports-betting operations. “Faced with a possible indictment in approximately 2001, Meyer began a 13-year odyssey as a documented and valuable informant for federal and state law enforcement,” wrote Joel Hirschhorn, one of Meyer’s former attorneys.
That “oddysey” supposed resulted in Meyer providing info that led to the arrest of “at least 30 individuals” and the seizure of about $750 million from illegal “offshore” bookies, in claims that stretch credulity. While the US has certainly arrested hundreds of people over the years for various roles in illegal sports-betting activities, the seizure amount claimed is ridiculous — there just aren’t any US-based seizures of record that come anywhere close to having involved three quarters of a billion in US dollars.
The famed BetOnSports seizures and raids from the middle of last decade, for example, involved about $30 million in funds seized. Most other prominent US-directed seizures over the past 10 to 20 years have involved cash and property ranging from a few million to a few tens of millions of dollars. To wit, there is no single bust or small subset of US sports-betting busts that could even come close to approaching Meyer’s claimed totals, and that assumes he had any more to do with any US-targeted betting sites other than being a well-connected customer and saying to US feds, “Yeah, such-and-such site takes illicit US bets.”
It’s true that $750 million could actually represent the sum total of all US-related sports-betting seizures since the dawn of the Internet era, but for Meyer to claim that he’s responsible for all of it would be a high farce, if not exactly out of line with most of his other claims.
Meyer’s mondo bizarro case continues to entertain the gambling world, on both sides of the pond. He’s literally the poster child for what’s right with the Euro sports-betting model and what’s wrong with the prohibition on the States’ side of the Atlantic pond. Which doesn’t mean that any of us can’t read the latest developments and walk away, shaking the nonsense out of our heads.