Ex-NFL Pro Nabbed In Gambling Sting

Published on: February 13, 2008 

American football season is over until September, but players in the NFL are still making news.  In yet another gambling scandal to rock the league, former guard Richard Todd Burger, aged 37, was among three people who were indicted by a Somerset County, New Jersey, grand jury for being part of an Internet gambling ring operated in the state.  Burger played for the Chicago Bears and the New York Jets between 1994 through 1998.

According to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, the Internet gambling ring had been targeted during a four month investigation.  Burger was the gambling ‘debt collector’ and has been charged with third-degree promoting gambling and third-degree conspiracy to promote gambling.  Two other men, Anthony Pecoraro and Stephen Barone, were also indicted.

Burger was acting as an agent for the gambling ring.  His job was to steer gamblers to Pecoraro for a percentage of the generated gambling money.  The bets were placed through a website called www.beteastsports.com and it was connected to the gambling ring.  Thousands of dollars of bets were placed illegally over the course of a month according to the prosecutor’s report.  

When the illegal activities were reported, the New Jersey State Police sent in undercover investigators to get to the bottom of the gambling ring.  The detectives themselves were able to sign on and place dozens of bets on sports through the website.  Through the entire investigation, detectives uncovered Pecoraro controlling the website access.  This was done by distributing code names and passwords to the gamblers that registered.  He set the gambling limits, settled disputes, and dealt with pay out and collection.

During the investigation, undercover detectives met with a representative of the ring to pay Pecoraro his losses.  When they met for a fourth time, the police had arranged to actually meet with the ring leader.  He was arrested and charges pressed for his part in the gambling ring.  $42,914.00 in cash, three computers, financial records, $20.00 in cash and a safe with $900.00 was confiscated from Pecoraro’s home and business.

Burger was arrested later that day with $1,277.00 of gambling money on his person.  Three computers, financial records, and a handgun were confiscated from Barone’s home and business upon his arrest.

This is the second gambling scandal to hit the NFL over the past year.  In late 2007, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was arrested and indicted on dog fighting and the gambling that went along with it.  He was sentenced to jail time, a hefty fine, and fired from the NFL, losing his position and any chance of playing professional football again.

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