Life just got a even more complicated for “Vegas” Dave Oancea, the celebrated professional sports bettor, who was indicted last week by a federal grand jury, accused of misuse of Social Security numbers.
Oancea was arraigned on Wednesday to pleaded not guilty to charges that he provided casinos with Social Security numbers that either belonged to other people, or were simply made up. The prosecution alleges he conducted the ruse in order to avoid declaring any winnings to the taxman.
But just minutes after he stood down from the dock, he was arrested by Metro Police on a warrant from a domestic battery case from July. He was released several hours later.
“Petty” Move, says Lawyer
Oancea has made a name for himself as a successful handicapper and gambler. His bet on the Kansas City Royals to win the 2015 World Series at 30-1 brought him a certain amount of celebrity in gambling circles, not to mention $2.5 million in winnings.
Thanks to the Kansas City Royals, he also has the means to assemble a formidable legal team, which was left unimpressed by its client’s unexpected arrest Wednesday.
“Apparently one of the IRS agents decided that they would call Metro to have him taken on the misdemeanor, even though the federal judge said we had 30 days to clear it up,” defense attorney Tom Pitaro said, adding that his client did not know the warrant had been issued.
“I’ve been doing this 40 years, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen such pettiness as this sort of move,” he added.
Chesnoff on the Case
Oancea may be in a tight spot but there’s one man you want by your side if you ever find yourself in hot water in Vegas, and that man is attorney David Chesnoff, who is also representing Vegas Dave.
Chesnoff represented the Malaysian high stakes poker player and businessman Paul Phua, who was arrested in the summer of 2014 and accused of being the mastermind of a multi-million-dollar illegal World Cup betting ring.
Those arrested with Phua during an FBI sting at Caesars Palace pleaded guilty and and received six-figure fines and five years’ probation, during which time they are banned from entering the United States.
But Phua pleaded not guilty, and with good reason: he had hired Chesnoff. Having identified some suspicious FBI surveillance practices in the case, which he said amounted to an illegal search, Chesnoff got every single piece of FBI evidence thrown out of court, eviscerating the prosecution’s case. Phua walked, or rather he flew home, on his private jet.
The judge in the Oancea case has set the trial date for June 20, when the defendant will face nine counts of misuse of a Social Security number, plus 10 counts of causing a domestic institution to file false reports, and could be looking at five years for each count. Vegas Dave will be preying Chesnoff can work his magic.