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Albany Sheriff Nets Windfall As Gurian Case Winds Down

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

  The U.S. Attorney's office says more than $9.6 million in assets seized in an international internet gambling takedown is being distributed to law enforcement agencies in New York and Florida as well as the federal government. 

In October 2013 then 30-year old Michelle Lasso pleased guilty to laundering in excess of $8 million for a global Internet gambling ring run by Philip Gurian of Florida. (Lasso eventually was deported to her native Panama.)  U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian says the case began as a gambling investigation targeting Albany County Jail officers, eventually including the Sheriff's office, FBI, IRS and, the Saratoga and Albany County D-A’s Offices.

Gurian — known as "Florida Phil" — ran between 40 and 50 offshore websites and was earning as much as $150,000 a day. Gurian and several others have been dought to justice and the case is winding down with an announcement Wednesday by the U.S. Attorney's office in Albany that  $4.7 million of forefeited criminal assets will go the Albany County Sheriff's Department to help fight crime.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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