The ugly underbelly of the pick-selling tout industry received another black eye this week.
Adam Meyer, a sports betting tout known for placing large wagers in Las Vegas and for his presence in the mainstream media, will be in federal court Friday morning in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Meyer was arrested at 7 a.m. Tuesday at his South Florida home. He faces felony charges of wire fraud, extortion, racketeering and brandishing a firearm, all stemming from his alleged involvement in a $25 million scam of an unnamed victim from Wisconsin.
If convicted, Meyer, 42, faces a minimum seven-year prison sentence, according to his attorney, Brian H. Bieber.
The indictment, unsealed Tuesday and first reported by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, contains multiple allegations that are familiar to those knowledgeable of the seedy side of the tout industry.
Among the items quoted in the indictment:
"Meyer referred some of his tout-service customers to people whom he falsely claimed were agents of third-party offshore bookmakers in the business of accepting bets on sporting events. The purported third parties were actually associates of Meyer's and were working on his behalf."
"After Victim A reduced his gambling activity, Meyer falsely told Victim A that Meyer's life was being threatened by a bookie to whom Meyer owed a large gambling debt. Meyer also falsely told Victim A that the bookie believed that Meyer and Victim A were gambling partners and that the bookie was holding Victim A equally responsible for the debt."
"Meyer falsely told Victim A that a person named 'Kent Wong' was attempting to collect the debt. 'Kent Wong' was actually an alter ego created by Meyer."
"From approximately July 2009 through December 2011, Meyer, sometimes falsely identifying himself as 'Kent Wong,' frequently called Victim A to obtain payments toward the gambling debt. While adopting the 'Wong' persona, Meyer threatened Victim A's family would be harmed if Victim A did not make payments toward the debt."
"In or about early 2012, Victim A refused to send Meyer further funds. Meyer subsequently contacted Victim A and arranged a meeting under the false pretense that Meyer was going to repay a portion of the money that he had previously received from Victim A."
"On or about April 16, 2012, Meyer and one of his associates flew from Florida to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, for the meeting. During the meeting, Meyer's associate brandished a weapon and demanded that Victim A send Meyer more money to pay off a purported gambling debt. In response to that threat, Victim A agreed to provide $9.8 million to Meyer."
In total, the indictment alleges Meyer and his agents obtained more than $25 million from the unnamed victim.
"The specific facts regarding the allegations in the indictment will be addressed in the proper venue, which is the federal courtroom," Bieber told ESPN. "We are hopeful that the judge grants Mr. Meyer a reasonable bond at the hearing Friday morning."
Meyer complained of chest pains upon his arrest and was taken by U.S. Marshals to a local hospital. He was cleared medically and taken into custody, where he remained leading up to Friday's hearing, according to Bieber.
Multiple Las Vegas sports book employees, both current and retired, said Meyer has been one of the biggest sports bettors in town for more than a decade, often wagering six figures and sometimes more. He reportedly won more than $1 million when the Green Bay Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV and also claimed a seven-figure win on the St. Louis Cardinals' win over the Texas Rangers in the 2011 World Series.
"When I was at the Golden Nugget in 2004, we were taking some of the biggest action in town," longtime Nevada bookmaker Chris Andrews said. "And Meyer was among our biggest players. He had a real sense of arrogance about him, but he'd bet as much as you'd let him."
In addition to Las Vegas, Meyer was a well-known personality in the media. He was featured on ESPN.com, CNBC and was a regular guest on San Francisco radio station KNBR, among others, in addition to stories about him in publications. Meyer even once purchased advertising behind home plate at a then-Florida Marlins baseball game.
Meyer has been arrested multiple times. He was convicted in 1996 after threatening a Louisiana gambler. He's also faced domestic abuse charges and had multiple run-ins with casinos over unpaid markers. He's also been looked at by Nevada Gaming Control in past investigations.
Meyer also has a relationship with convicted felon Nevin Shapiro, the former Miami Hurricanes booster who is serving a 20-year sentence for his role in a Ponzi scheme. Shapiro has said that he lost $9 million gambling, some of it with Meyer, who agreed to repay $900,000 he had received from Shapiro.
Meyer's website, adamwins.com, was still online as of Thursday.