Fairly or unfairly, gambling and strip clubs have always been associated with slick, fast-talking Wall Street brokers. And while most financial advisors would argue that this is nothing more than an unfortunate stereotype, the headlines continue to suggest otherwise.
The latest instance of ribaldry involves a former Merrill Lynch broker who was among 17 people arrested for allegedly operating a $30 million online-gambling operation out of a strip club in Queens, according to a Reuters report. The former broker, Timothy O’Connell, and the other defendants promoted an illegal sports-betting ring through a gambling wire room in Costa Rica. Gamblers gained access through a toll-free telephone number or on the Web through www.50ksports.com by entering a customer ID and password, according to prosecutors.
The raid is part of a larger government effort to crack down on online casino businesses in recent months. In October 2006, President Bush signed into law the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which prohibits American online gamblers from using electronic funds transfers, credit cards and checks in placing bets with gambling sites worldwide.
It’s not the first time O’Connell has been in hot water for allegedly shady dealings. He is also facing charges for securities fraud. He was among a group of daytrader execs and brokers accused of conspiring to illegally trade on information gleaned from internal squawk-box announcements. His trial in the squawk-box case was set to begin today. Guess that makes for an easy commute.