Calvin Ayre Pleads Guilty to Misdemeanor4 months ago
His days as a fugitive have officially come to an end as online gambling kingpin Calvin Ayre agreed to a plea deal with federal prosecutors that saw him accept guilt for a single misdemeanor while felony gambling charges were dropped.
Ayre's mug shot as a most wanted man previously graced the pages of the US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Department of Homeland Security for a time, amid alleged sex traffickers and drug dealers. ICE can now officially archive that photo after Calvin pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact with regard to the transmission of gambling information.
The plea deal was solidified at a federal hearing in Baltimore, Maryland with Ayre patched in via telephone from Canada, according to Forbes. The 56-year-old Canadian has apparently not set foot on American soil since the felony charges of money laundering conspiracy and illegal gambling were levied against him in February 2012.
The deal was approved by Judge Catherine Blake, who imposed a sentence of one year of unsupervised probation and a $500K fine. In addition, Ayre received the seized Bodog domain for $100,000, but agreed not to put in a claim for any of the $66 million that prosecutors snatched from payment processors.
Those funds, which actually belonged mostly to Bodog gamblers, were forfeited in conjunction with the case. Ayre made sure that his customers were reimbursed, manning up and taking responsibility for the deficit instead of skipping away.
“Mr. Ayre is pleased with the outcome of this case," stated his attorney, Barry Boss. "He looks forward to moving forward with his life.”
Billionaire Playboy Lifestyle
That life appears to be one that many would envy as Ayre is often photographed surrounded by gorgeous ladies and living the high life. His net worth is reputed to be over a billion dollars, with much of his monies reportedly going toward philanthropic efforts.
Ayre founded the Bodog Entertainment Group and displayed impeccable timing by launching Bodog.com in 2000 just before online poker and gambling became immensely popular. The sh*t hit the fan in 2012 when the feds in Maryland continued the assault on gambling websites catering to U.S. customers that followed the Black Friday indictments of the top three poker sites one year earlier.
In the five years in which Ayre was a fugitive, he maintained his innocence, insisting that he had done no wrong. He wasn't necessarily in hiding during that time, posting regularly on Facebook while apparently traveling between Antigua and Canada, and visiting other exotic locales that a billionaire playboy might fancy.
The sentencing memorandum made mention of Ayre's charitable efforts, as well as the difficulties and expenses related to extradition and prosecution. The plea deal "best serves the interests of justice while taking into account the practical realities" of the case, it stated.
Three Canadians charged alongside Ayre and Bodog were also dismissed from prosecution.
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