Nevada Judge Accepts ‘Vegas Dave’ Plea Deal, Sports Bettor Avoids Prison

Posted on: January 31, 2019, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: January 30, 2019, 04:54h.

David Oancea, or “Vegas Dave” as he refers to himself, has pleaded guilty in federal court to a single misdemeanor that caused Las Vegas casinos to unknowingly violate record keeping procedures.

Vegas Dave Las Vegas court sports betting
Despite pleading guilty to a federal charge, Vegas Dave might be spotted at an MLB game this year. (Image: Dave Oancea/Twitter)

US District Judge Jennifer Dorsey accepted the plea this week. Oancea will face up to five years’ probation when he’s sentenced in May. He’s also agreed to a civil forfeiture of $550,000.

It’s quite the bargain.

Authorities had charged Oancea in 2017 with 19 felony counts on allegations he used other people’s Social Security numbers at Las Vegas casinos. Nine counts were for Social Security number misuse, and the remaining 10 for causing false reports.

Law enforcement argued the alleged crimes were to hide his sports betting winnings, and subsequent tax obligations, from the US government. Oancea denied the allegations, and tweeted at the time, “When you are at the top of your industry, 90 percent of the people want to bring you down.”

Oancea was accused of making nine transactions with different Social Security numbers at the Westgate SuperBook and Wynn Las Vegas sportsbook totaling around $3.5 million. Each of the 19 charges he faced came with a potential five-year prison term, meaning had he been found guilty, he was looking at 95 years in prison.

Targeting Celebrity Bettors

Oancea isn’t shy about flaunting his sports betting success. Self-described as a “sports information consultant,” Vegas Dave has a large following on social media.

With legal sports betting expanding across the country, new gamblers will presumably look to Las Vegas’ best for tips and advice. However, with notoriety comes scrutiny.

After Rob Gorodetsky gave an interview with USA TODAY Sports, the self-proclaimed professional sports gambler said last year he was banned by MGM Resorts and William Hill from using their sportsbooks. Gorodetsky spoke openly about his relationships with professional athletes including superstar NFL wide receiver Odell Beckham.

No sports bettor is more illustrious in Las Vegas history than Billy Walters, the man who is currently in federal prison on insider trading charges. The 72-year-old claims to have endured only one losing year in a period of 39 years gambling on sports in Southern Nevada.

Walters was found guilty in 2017 of using stock tips supplied to him by the chairman of a publicly traded company who was indebted to him to make $43 million on carefully timed trades.

Casino Banks

The US Bank Secrecy Act requires that casinos file Currency Transaction Reports (CTR) when someone withdraws or deposits $10,000 or more in a 24-hour period.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a department of the US Treasury, includes casinos in its definition of a “financial institution.” FinCEN’s mission “is to safeguard the financial system from illicit use, combat money laundering, and promote national security through the strategic use of financial authorities and the collection, analysis, and dissemination of financial intelligence.”

The Westgate and Wynn Las Vegas’ CTR filings led to the federal government to indict Oancea.