Las Vegas betting guru avoids prosecution in credit fraud case

A sports betting guru who unwittingly steered clients to an illegal credit-cleaning operation won’t face prosecution for his role in the scheme.

Patrick Williams, a Las Vegas sports betting expert who has worked with DonBest.com, admitted to investigators he encouraged people to pay Tradeline Pros to help them clean their tarnished credit reports.

But the results of a polygraph test with witness statements convinced prosecutors Williams was telling the truth when he said he wasn’t aware Tradeline Pros was forging documents suggesting clients were the victims of identity theft to persuade ratings agencies to amend negative credit ratings.

Prosecutor Jay Raman said witnesses and other defendants in the case confirmed Williams’ minor role. “Every witness we talked to said the guy didn’t know anything,” Raman said.

Raman added there wasn’t enough evidence to prove the case against Williams beyond a reasonable doubt.

Williams’ lawyer, Josh Tomsheck, said his client was “100 percent innocent” and praised the district attorney’s office for continuing the investigation after the case was submitted.

“What most people don’t realize is that even a completely untrue allegation can have consequences for the person accused. A claim like this can have personal, familial and professional consequences which are completely unjust, even if the person accused is eventually vindicated as Mr. Williams was here,” Tomsheck said.

According to court documents, Williams told investigators he had a limited role at Tradeline Pros. He said he was paid three times for bringing clients to the company. Williams told investigators he knew an owner of Tradeline Pros from a past car business and had at first gone to the company to get his credit cleaned in April. Williams worked out a deal that his credit would be cleaned for free based on his ability to generate clients.

Williams is set to appear in District Court on Thursday, records show.

Tradeline Pros was busted after a year-long investigation by the Metropolitan Police Department with help from the Secret Service.

Court documents show customers would pay $3,000, and Tradeline Pros would “sweep” or clean up negative credit ratings, clearing the way to get a loan for a car or mortgage for a home.

Investigators said Tradeline Pros was sending the agencies forged reports indicating their clients were victims of identity theft and their credit ratings should be restored to a favorable rating.

The investigation showed Tradeline Pros forged 174 police reports from law enforcement agencies across the United States.

Prosecutors said the company used false mastheads from Las Vegas and Henderson police and authorities in California and New York.

Police first learned of the scheme when one of the forged reports was flagged by a credit reporting agency.

A search warrant of the business, located at 2800 Sahara Ave., near Rancho Drive, found the company had copies of notary stamps and dissemination insignia for the Metropolitan Police Department. Investigators also recovered a list of police officers’ names and badge numbers from law enforcement agencies.

According to the Tradeline Pros website, the company, on average, is able to “remove 75% of negative items from your reports in the first month.”

Investigators said Tradeline Pros sent the forged police reports to consumer credit reporting agencies TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.

Earlier this month five of the nine other people charged in the scheme struck plea deals with prosecutors.

The owners of Tradeline Pros, Michael Olden and Shafiq Beria, pleaded guilty of felony establishing a forgery laboratory.

Three others also took deals and agreed to testify.

Arrest warrants were issued for three others. A fourth defendant must be extradited from a Pennsylvania prison where he is serving time in a separate forgery case.

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@review journal.com or 702-380-1039.