Court deals blow to off-shore books

June 18, 2002 9:49 AM
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The former president of an offshore Internet gambling company faces prison time after the Supreme Court Monday refused to review his 2000 conviction.

Acting without comment, the justices turned away an appeal by Jay Cohen, a former options trader who helped launch Antigua-based World Sports Exchange Ltd. in 1997. Cohen’s attorneys contend that he didn’t violate the federal Wire Wager Act by taking wagers from Americans over the Internet and telephones.

Cohen was sentenced to 21 months in prison for running afoul of the statute, which prohibits the use of telephone lines in interstate or foreign commerce to place bets on sports events. He was the first Internet offshore gaming operator to be convicted under the Wire Wager law, prosecutors said