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Feds bust up illegal fantasy football lottery scheme

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A business pairing the enormously popular fantasy football leagues with the Georgia Lottery must have looked like a money-making combination.

Two eager investors thought so and forked out $500,000 in loans to the Atlanta man who hatched the idea of a fantasy football lottery league. But Timothy Cobb, a former lawyer who once worked for Turner Broadcasting System, was running a scam, according to allegations in a federal indictment unsealed this week.

"Cobb is no longer engaging in fantasy, but reality," said Thomas Holloman, an IRS special agent in charge. "(The) indictment represents the government's effort to throw a penalty flag against Cobb's illegal activity to defraud investors in his start-up of a fantasy league football lottery."

Cobb, 53, pleaded not guilty Tuesday before a U.S. magistrate and was released on $20,000 bond. Cobb's attorney, Manny Arora, said he is preparing a vigorous defense.

Cobb, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania law school, lost his ability to practice law in 1998 for failing to pay his mandatory dues to the State Bar of Georgia. Ashok Sinha, Turner Broadcasting's vice president for corporate communications, said the company had no comment on Cobb's case and declined to answer questions about his employment history.

In July 2014, Cobb founded Skyboxx Sports LLC, a company he said would match fantasy football leagues with the Georgia Lottery and other state lotteries, the indictment said. But instead of using investors' money for the business, he used it to make alimony payments, take trips to Barbados and Mexico City and dine at restaurants in Atlanta, Miami Beach and New York, the indictment alleged.

When his investors became suspicious and demanded their money back, Cobb emailed their attorney fabricated documents to give the false impression that their funds had been deposited into a Skyboxx bank account, the indictment said.

Georgia Lottery spokeswoman Tandi Reddick said the lottery "was not working with (Cobb) in any way."

Fantasy sports has grown to be widely popular, with football, baseball, basketball and other sports leagues being played worldwide. In 2017, fantasy sports was a $7.2 billion industry with almost 60 million players in the U.S. and Canada, according to research conducted by Ipsos Marketing for the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

Given the immense popularity of fantasy football, it's not surprising a plan to pair it with lotteries would attract investors, said Atlanta lawyer Brian McEvoy, a former federal prosecutor who specialized in economic crimes. "It's just another good way for an alleged fraudster to lure in a victim."

Florida lawyer Dan Wallach, an expert in fantasy sports and sports gambling, said he had never heard of a scheme such as the one allegedly used by Cobb.

"To somebody who's incredibly wealthy and completely unsophisticated, this might have looked like a great idea," Wallach said. "But your antennae should go up whenever you hear of a state agency getting involved in anything related to sports wagering or fantasy sports."

Cobb is charged with two counts of wire fraud and two counts of filing false tax returns — for omitting the funds he allegedly stole from his investors.

Cobb had allegedly convinced investors that he could run a fantasy football league through the Georgia Lottery, U.S. Attorney Byung J. "BJay" Pak said. "Cobb gambled on getting away with his scheme, but he lost."

AJC

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13 comments. Last comment 6 months ago by Bleudog101.
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Simpsonville
United States
Member #163184
January 22, 2015
1840 Posts
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Posted: December 1, 2018, 9:54 am - IP Logged

Orange might be Cobb's favorite color.  He'll be a Federal prison, assuming conviction like Martha Stewart was in. 

Some of him seems very bright, other parts as far as being an Attorney not so smart.

    music*'s avatar - Trek HAND1.gif
    Fresno, California
    United States
    Member #157851
    August 2, 2014
    3362 Posts
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    Posted: December 1, 2018, 2:19 pm - IP Logged

    Orange might be Cobb's favorite color.  He'll be a Federal prison, assuming conviction like Martha Stewart was in. 

    Some of him seems very bright, other parts as far as being an Attorney not so smart.

    I Agree! and it is a shame that we do not have an alternative method of punishment besides putting the prisoner in with others. We should be leading the World in advanced ways to correct a person.  Cells and bars have been around for Centuries. We can do better.

     Greed got this man. 

      " Live Long and Prosper" Spock on Star Trek. A Vulcan.

      noise-gate's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcR91HDs4UJhjxO7cmeMQWZ5lB_FOcMLOGicau4V74R45tDgPWrr
      Chasing the Dream.
      White Shores- California
      United States
      Member #136473
      December 12, 2012
      5705 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: December 1, 2018, 3:04 pm - IP Logged

      The word illegal is a very strong word, however to some, it's viewed  as a suggestion: From people attempting to skirt the rules in order to make a buck. Illegal migrants storming our borders, fighting with authorities in order to say " l broke in, l am here, feed me, give me shelter " & thinking that is normal behavior.Fantasy is not reality.

      Enough said.

       * Voice of Reason *   

       

      People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

        Nikkicute's avatar - nnjx1k
        Wisconsin
        United States
        Member #123286
        February 17, 2012
        3793 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: December 2, 2018, 2:13 am - IP Logged

        "Cobb is no longer engaging in fantasy, but reality,"Green laughdang!! lol

          glassman8463's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
          New Member
          st petersburg, florida
          United States
          Member #130405
          July 14, 2012
          1 Posts
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          Posted: December 2, 2018, 6:37 am - IP Logged

          We live in a greed world he will be a attorney for his cell mates

            Avatar
            Simpsonville
            United States
            Member #163184
            January 22, 2015
            1840 Posts
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            Posted: December 2, 2018, 2:56 pm - IP Logged

            I Agree! and it is a shame that we do not have an alternative method of punishment besides putting the prisoner in with others. We should be leading the World in advanced ways to correct a person.  Cells and bars have been around for Centuries. We can do better.

             Greed got this man. 

            Got slammed for my idea on LP or FB, I forget which:  R & P.  Restitution and Probation.

              music*'s avatar - Trek HAND1.gif
              Fresno, California
              United States
              Member #157851
              August 2, 2014
              3362 Posts
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              Posted: December 2, 2018, 8:29 pm - IP Logged

              Got slammed for my idea on LP or FB, I forget which:  R & P.  Restitution and Probation.

              Restitution and Probation, R & P, are good but they do not go far enough. I am thinking of re-education. The prisoners are a captive audience and should be taught again the correct way to live there lives.

              Smash

                " Live Long and Prosper" Spock on Star Trek. A Vulcan.

                Coin Toss's avatar - shape barbed.jpg
                100
                Zeta Reticuli Star System
                United States
                Member #30469
                January 17, 2006
                11293 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: December 2, 2018, 11:51 pm - IP Logged

                Anyone here remember Ivan Boesky?

                The SEC fined him $100 million for insider trading and he asked if they accepted cash. 

                So much for restitution and probation. They would just be considered a slap on the wrist and implied incentive to do it again. 

                From Wikipedia

                Although insider trading of this kind was illegal, laws prohibiting it were rarely enforced until Boesky was prosecuted.[7] Boesky cooperated with the SEC and  informedon others, including the case against financier  Michael Milken. As a result of a  plea bargain, Boesky received a  prison  sentence of ?3  12 years and was  fined US$100 million. Although he was released after two years, he was permanently prohibited from working with  securities. He served his sentence at  Lompoc Federal Prison Campnear  Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

                Those who run the lotteries love it when players look for consistency in something that's designed not to have any. So many systems, so many theories, so few jackpot winners. 

                Lep

                There is one and only one 'proven' system, and that is to book the action. No matter the game, let the players pick their own losers.

                  Avatar
                  Simpsonville
                  United States
                  Member #163184
                  January 22, 2015
                  1840 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: December 3, 2018, 1:55 pm - IP Logged

                  Anyone here remember Ivan Boesky?

                  The SEC fined him $100 million for insider trading and he asked if they accepted cash. 

                  So much for restitution and probation. They would just be considered a slap on the wrist and implied incentive to do it again. 

                  From Wikipedia

                  Although insider trading of this kind was illegal, laws prohibiting it were rarely enforced until Boesky was prosecuted.[7] Boesky cooperated with the SEC and  informedon others, including the case against financier  Michael Milken. As a result of a  plea bargain, Boesky received a  prison  sentence of ?3  12 years and was  fined US$100 million. Although he was released after two years, he was permanently prohibited from working with  securities. He served his sentence at  Lompoc Federal Prison Campnear  Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

                  ..prohibited from working with securities is hardly a slap on the wrist.  Though knowing these white collar criminal types he'll find a way out of this.

                  As for the Attorney in the article, best of my knowledge he can only lose his license to practice in that one state.  Same for Physicians, screw up in one state and move on to another. 

                    Tucker Black's avatar - Kleber Vieira.jpg
                    Reno, NV
                    United States
                    Member #173299
                    February 25, 2016
                    314 Posts
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                    Posted: December 3, 2018, 2:30 pm - IP Logged

                    What kind of idiot would invest in a scheme like this?

                    It doesn't excuse what the attorney did with their money, but for crying out loud, if you're going to invest in something, do a little homework before throwing your money away like that!

                      Avatar
                      Simpsonville
                      United States
                      Member #163184
                      January 22, 2015
                      1840 Posts
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                      Posted: December 3, 2018, 2:41 pm - IP Logged

                      What kind of idiot would invest in a scheme like this?

                      It doesn't excuse what the attorney did with their money, but for crying out loud, if you're going to invest in something, do a little homework before throwing your money away like that!

                      Guess they never heard of the old saying 'when something sounds to be too good to be true, it probably is'. 

                      Hey Tucker Black...now you have new leadership in Nevada, you can campaign to get the Constitution changed to allow lotteries in your state.  If my printer worked, I'd definitely write a letter to them.  (I've done that in the past to other states, but since I'm not a constituent they don't reply)!

                        Xinyuhuang's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
                        Beautiful Woman🤫
                        NY 11355
                        United States
                        Member #191858
                        August 25, 2018
                        31 Posts
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                        Posted: December 3, 2018, 6:40 pm - IP Logged

                        Got slammed for my idea on LP or FB, I forget which:  R & P.  Restitution and Probation.

                        Why .....? did she do something wrong ? Will someone com to hel here ? Poor ,

                          Avatar
                          Simpsonville
                          United States
                          Member #163184
                          January 22, 2015
                          1840 Posts
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                          Posted: December 5, 2018, 10:21 am - IP Logged

                          Your post makes no sense to me.  Go ride the #7 train...see that makes no sense either!