Calvin Ayre Legal Update: Guilty Plea, $500,000 Fine on Third Criminal Misdemeanor Count
Flushdraw has now obtained court records relative to the announcement released on Friday by a Bodog Brands representative that announced the dropping of charges against Bodog and its founder, Calvin Ayre. It is indeed true that two charges were dropped against Ayre, as indicated in the presser, in the case brought in the US District Court for the District of Maryland.
However, omitted in that statement is that Ayre, through his counsel, pled guilty to a third count: a criminal misdemeanor charge of accessory after the fact in connection with Bodog’s US-facing operations from June of 2005 until December of 2011. Ayre agreed to pay a $500,000 fine, in addition to a $25 paperwork processing fee.
The differing start date connected to this misdemeanor count (June 2005 as compared with June 2006) and references within the limited court documents filed to date infer that two separate cases were filed in the Maryland district court involving Bodog and Ayre. Those cases were then rolled together at a more recent date to allow for a resolution of all relevant charges.
At least three documents in the combined case against Ayre remain under court seal. Those documents — denoted Initial Appearance, Arraignment, and Sentencing, respectively — are all dated July 14th, the same date of the Bodog Brands announcement of the dropping of the other two charges.
While it’s technically possible that Ayre did indeed appear in the Maryland court, it’s a far higher probability that this was an in absentia appearance negotiated with Ayre’s defense counsel. Ayre is represented in this matter by B. Barrett Boss, of the Washington, D.C. firm Cozen O’Connor.
The judgment documentation obtained by Flushdraw shows that in addition to the $500,000 fine, Ayre was also sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation, a further indiciation that this was a deal done remotely and that Ayre never set foot in the US while resolving the case. The $500,000 fine is due in full, immediately.
The single-page complaint obtained by Flushdraw offers very little specificity regarding the single count to which Ayre pled guilty. That document offers this brief description:
(Accessory After the Fact — Misdemeanor)
The United States Attorney for the District of Maryland charges that:
From in or about June 2005 through in or about December 2011, in the District of Maryland and elsewhere, the defendant,
knowing that an offense against the United States had been committed, to-wit: Transmission of Gambling Information, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1084, did receive, relieve, assist, and comfort the offender, Bodog Entertainment Group, S.A., an entity that was engaged in the business of wagering and betting, to hinder and prevent the offender’s apprehension, trial and punishment.
The complaint was signed by acting US Attorney Stephen M. Schenning and was signed on July 12, 2017. (Though irrelevant to the Ayre plea deal, Schenning is one of dozens of lead USAO prosecutors current serving in an “acting” role due to the inability of the farcical Trump Administration to file basic paperwork to have these prosecutors approved by the US Congress.)
We’ll return to the topic should the sealed documents (a) become unsealed and (b) offer additional newsworthy and relevant information.