Ex-Houston cops part of feds’ probe of online sports betting operation
Two former Houston police sergeants are among those being investigated by federal authorities for allegedly running an illegal online sports gambling business with links to the Dallas area, court records show.
Brian Jordan, 52, retired from the force in July after 23 years with the department, a police spokesman said. Steven Glezman, 43, retired in September after 20 years.
Glezman had worked in the burglary and theft unit, and Jordan was assigned to the vice division. Both men were relieved of their duties in May when federal agents raided their homes. No criminal charges have been filed in the case.
“I wasn’t involved. That will all come out in the end,” said Jordan, who declined to comment further.
Glezman and his attorney could not be reached.
The men are named in forfeiture lawsuits filed by the U.S. attorney’s office in Plano to try to keep cash, sports memorabilia, jewelry and other items that were seized.
“This is an investigation that has involved our cooperation for many weeks and months, involving several federal agencies,” Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland said at the time.
Bettors who took part in the gambling business live in Dallas, Plano and McKinney, as well as in Florida, California, Colorado, Georgia and Tennessee, court records show.
Sports betting is illegal in most states. But such schemes have proliferated on the Internet in recent years using computer servers in the Caribbean.
The latest forfeiture lawsuits were filed two years after the same U.S. attorney’s office in Plano broke up a similar enterprise.
In that case, a group of retired business executives and bookies ran a sports betting business for over a decade, netting more than $5 million in sports wagers. Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Stover was the lead prosecutor in the case and also filed the forfeiture lawsuits in the current case.
Timothy Large, 47, who lives outside Houston, also is a target of the current investigation, records show. He and his attorney could not be reached for comment. Court records indicate that Large, Glezman and Jordan were “conspirators” in the scheme, but the exact nature of their relationship is unclear.
Large told Homeland Security Investigations agents that his only income comes from illegal gambling and that he has earned between $200,000 and $300,000 per year as a bookmaker for roughly the past decade, records show.
Stover said in court documents that the group has run the off-shore gambling operation since 2010.
“The conspirators illegally accepted wagers on sporting events through various Internet websites hosted in Costa Rica,” he said in a Dec. 11 forfeiture lawsuit.
Jordan, Glezman and Large deposited a total of at least $3.7 million into various bank accounts over several years, the forfeiture lawsuits said.
Glezman has spent a lot of money on resorts, travel, cruises, sports memorabilia and vehicles, court records show.
Among the items the government wants from Glezman are his house and the 17-acre ranch it sits on in Montgomery valued at $605,000. In May, agents seized numerous items from him including two assault rifles, autographed Mike Tyson boxing shorts and a signed Jerry Rice 49ers jersey, court records show.
A forfeiture lawsuit also has been filed against Large’s $446,461 home in Cypress. Agents seized sports memorabilia and numerous other items from the home including signed Muhammad Ali boxing gloves, a Larry Bird basketball jersey and a signed Super Bowl football.
Agents also seized items from Jordan’s $546,135 home in Houston, including watches. They said he has spent money on airfare, hotels, country clubs, golf, private school tuition and auto maintenance.
In the previous North Texas online sports gambling case, 18 men were prosecuted and more than $10 million worth of property was confiscated. But only the ringleader went to prison. He served one year, and his attorney called the business a “victimless crime.”
John Bales, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, called it the largest bookmaking case in his district’s history. He said the punishments were light — all but one of the defendants got probation — because federal gambling laws don’t carry heavy sentences.