Almost 100 Alleged Bookmakers Arrested by State Police - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Almost 100 Alleged Bookmakers Arrested by State Police

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Ernie Hernandez Ernie Hernandez

It's the week after the Super Bowl and Thursday, Louisiana State Police delivered a bombshell. It came in the form of a bookmaking bust with almost 100 people charged. Since last October, 96 people have been arrested. From those arrests, more than one million dollars has been seized and forfeited. State police made a routine arrest last week in Baton Rouge on an illegal bookmaking operation. The arrest of Ernest Hernandez may not be the end of all illegal bookmaking, but it highlights the problems associated with this illegal activity. WAFB's Jim Shannon has the story.

With all the talk about a new casino in Baton Rouge, the illegal gambling industry is flourishing. Last week, state police arrested Ernest Hernandez for illegal sports booking. While he's not a huge player in the industry, state police are cracking down in East Baton Rouge and Lafayette. "Mr. Hernandez, um is, even though he's been doing this for an extensive amount of time, as far as the size of the operation, I wouldn't say it's as large as some of the bigger operations we've looked at," says Trooper Markus Smith.

In this particular arrest, Hernandez is accused of using bookie cards to initiate the illegal bookmaking. The player simply circles the bet they want to make and returns it to the bookie. "We don't differentiate between a large scale bookmaker verses one that's doing a small operation. Regardless of the size of the operation, in the eyes of the law, it's still an illegal operation," Smith says.

Since October, state police in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and Opelousas have seized $1,113,292 in cash. 58 suspects have been arrested. Most of the illegal bookies are caught by tipsters calling state police. "We get tips on things we become aware of through our investigative process. We're gonna look at it and surprisingly enough, in the state of Louisiana, there's a significant number of illegal gambling operations going on."

There's now a different twist for the bookies. Don't forget your Uncle Sam. This is i-r-s form 11-c. If you are bookmaking in a state that allows you to, you should fill out IRS form 11-C. You will have to pay a $50 fee to claim your earnings on your taxes. If you're bookmaking in Louisiana, which is against state law, Uncle Sam raises that fee to $500. Also, federal disclosure laws prohibit the IRS from turning over that list to state authorities.

Reporter:  Jim Shannon, WAFB 9NEWS

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