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Sports bettor ‘Vegas Dave’ takes plea deal in federal court

Updated January 28, 2019 - 8:23 pm

Prominent sports bettor David Oancea, known in gambling circles as “Vegas Dave,” pleaded guilty Monday to a misdemeanor in federal court.

He originally faced 19 felony counts after authorities said he used other people’s Social Security numbers to open player accounts at casinos. The alleged crimes occurred between February 2015 and February 2016 and involved transactions that amounted to more than $1.2 million.

Oancea, 42, resolved the case by admitting to causing a violation of record keeping and procedures.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years’ probation. His attorney, Richard Schonfeld, agreed to argue for no less than three years’ probation at a May sentencing hearing.

Oancea also has agreed to relinquish more than $550,000 in a related civil forefeiture, according to his lawyer.

After Monday’s plea hearing, Schonfeld called the agreement with prosecutors “a fair resolution to the situation.”

“Mr. Oancea is looking forward to putting this behind him,” the attorney added.

Oancea called the deal a “blessing in disguise.”

As U.S. District Judge Jennifer Dorsey accepted Oancea’s plea, she asked him what he did to earn a living.

“Sports business consultant,” he said at first, before quickly amending his title to “sports information consultant.”

On Twitter, he describes himself as the “#1 sports information consultant as seen on ESPN, Fox Sports, Yahoo Sports, USA Today, and Forbes.”

He told the judge he had been in the industry for 15 years, “but more aggressively for the last three years.”

Dorsey asked what such a job entailed.

“Provide information on teams,” he said, “how they’re going to play against one another.”

The professional gambler gained fame and fortune by promoting his ability to win big on long-shot bets.

He also pleaded no contest in May to a disorderly conduct charge in Las Vegas Justice Court.

Oancea maintains a following of nearly one million across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

As recently as Monday morning, he posted that he would give away $10,000 if 1,000 people commented on a post about who would win the Super Bowl this weekend.

By 5 p.m., more than 1,400 people had responded on Instagram alone.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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