Las Vegas couple gets probation in Draper gambling scheme

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 12 2010 12:00 a.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — Two of seven Las Vegas residents accused of running a multimillion-dollar money laundering service by way of an illegal Internet gambling operation out of Draper were sentenced to one year of probation Monday.

U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups sentenced both Francisco Lombardo and his wife, Kimberlie Lombardo, to 12 months of probation for their involvement in the scheme, which was, by all accounts, minimal. It is believed that Lombardo and his wife were not aware of the operation and were just acting under the direction of Francisco Lombardo's brothers, Baron and Count.

The four Lombardos as well as Richard Carson-Selman, Henry Bankey and Tina Hill were charged with 34 felony counts of racketeering, bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering in May 2007.

Prosecutors say members of the group were involved in a seven-year international money laundering service, which would distribute monies from sports Internet gambling Web sites to a series of international bank accounts and computer servers. The funds would then be forwarded to Utah-based companies.

From 2000 to 2007, court documents state the group processed more than $150 million in proceeds from the gambling Web sites. According to authorities, the case was uncovered when the IRS noticed several strange transactions from the companies.

Kimberlie Lombardo told the judge, as she broke down in sobs, that she worked at a basic, organizational level and was told all transactions were authorized by various banks and attorneys.

"All I did was bring organization to the company," she said. "I was trying to support my husband as a Lombardo. I don't want a convicted felony on my record. I'm not that kind of woman."

Both Kimberlie and Francisco Lombardo pleaded guilty to one count of information or alleging a conspiracy to violate the Wire Wager Act in August 2009. They faced up to five years in prison, but attorneys for both emphasized that the pair both had extensive medical issues and had no idea of the criminal activity that was going on in the higher levels of the scheme.

Fred Metos, Francisco Lombardo's attorney, said the couple profited very little, if at all, from the scam and were now barely subsisting on Francisco Lombardo's Social Security. They also have two children living at home, a grandchild they care for in the day, and have cut off contact with Count and Baron Lombardo.

Waddoups said it appeared the couple believed the business was legitimate and was taken advantage of in a time of "extreme need for finances."

Sentencing for a third defendant, Tina Hill, was rescheduled to Wednesday. The cases of the other four defendants are pending.

e-mail: emorgan@desnews.com

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