What will an audio recording of a casino floor, an arsenal of fake accents, three websites, and a shell corporation get you?
If you’re Boca Raton resident Randy Craig Levine, you’ll set up a sports betting con to get money from suckers — and earn two years in prison.
This week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Florida announced Levine was sentenced to 48 months in prison for wire fraud and perjury. The decision brought to a close a fascinating saga of fraud and fifteen years of a man on the run.
Levine’s sports betting con offered tips to more than 25 people via three websites
The con was relatively simple. Levine started three websites offering tips on baseball, football, and basketball betting. Levine registered the sites under a shell corporation called Pacific Oriental.
“Through these websites, Levine purported to provide sports betting tips to individuals who registered with these websites or who called a telephone number listed on the website,” the Southern District’s statement read. “Levine told the individuals that if they sent funds to him, he would use the money to open an offshore or Las Vegas casino gambling account.”
The con was a dubious one, to say the least, but the scam took place from 1999 to 2004 in a time when internet users weren’t quite as savvy about scams as they are today.
Either way, Levine sold the ruse well. He used aliases and fake accents when he talked to his marks. To top it all off, he’d play recordings of casino floors to convince his callers he was in a casino.
Levine left the country during initial investigation
While the feds’ announcement didn’t say when the investigation of Levine’s racket started, it did note that Levine was under investigation in 2005.
At that time, the feds seized Levine’s passport. Undaunted, the Florida resident applied for a new passport that he used to flee the U.S.
He was arrested in Poland in 2008, seemingly ending his epic escape. But sometime after being arrested, he escaped custody…for 12 years.
Investigation ends with arrest in Austria, guilty plea
In 2020, Austrian authorities captured Levine in Austria. His undoing? Facial recognition software caught him when he tried to open a bank account under a fake name. All the websites, accents, and casino soundtracks couldn’t counter modern technology, in this case.
On May 17, 2021, Levine pled guilty to federal wire fraud and perjury charges, according to the Southern District statement.
In addition to his prison sentence, the judge in the case ordered Levine to pay more than $600,000 back to his victims.