Bettors hoping to make a lucky dollar with a Baltimore County bookmaker instead found themselves out of luck and out of money, the U.S. attorney's office said.
Christopher T. Buettner of Reisterstown pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud in U.S. District Court in Baltimore yesterday. In one case, Buettner admitted operating a "sports information service" where he and other accomplices lured customers into wiring more than $700,000 into what the customers thought was a Las Vegas account to be used to make bets on sporting events, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
In fact, the account never existed and Buettner admitted swindling $220,000 for himself. The other participants in the scam -- who took the rest of the money -- have pleaded guilty in federal court in Brooklyn, N.Y., the U.S. attorney's office said.
After that scam ended, Buettner developed a similar service in Baltimore. He and a Baltimore partner told interested bettors that invested money would go toward the entry fee of a racehorse, and if the horse won, all the customers would split the purse, the U.S. attorney's office said. Using aliases of Chris Thomas, Vinnie Russo and Dario Stucci, Buettner and his partner took $310,000 from the customers.
Buettner's partner -- Marc Neil Robert Berman of Baltimore -- has pleaded guilty to his role in the scam. He has been sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $189,000 and make restitution of $100,000, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
Buettner is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 24. The maximum penalty for each count is five years in prison.
Pub Date: 7/19/97