Undercover FBI employees won and lost thousands of dollars in federal funds betting on University of Oklahoma football games and other sporting events, records show.
The FBI used undercover employees to identify suspected bookies in Oklahoma and to gather evidence about a gambling website during a lengthy investigation.
The inquiry was known at one point as “Operation Bad Luck.”
Undercover employees would meet with bookie suspects at Oklahoma bingo halls, a doughnut shop, parking lots and restaurants to pay up or get paid, the records show.
Last month, 34 people were accused in an indictment in Oklahoma City federal court of operating an illegal sports bookmaking business known as Legendz Sports. Eight of the defendants are from Oklahoma.
“Legendz Sports solicited millions of illegal bets totaling over … one billion dollars on sports and sporting events from gamblers in the United States, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” grand jurors alleged in the indictment.
Legendz Sports had a call center in Panama, records show.
Betting on Sooner games was an FBI undercover employee who identified himself as “Matt” in recorded conversations with a suspect.
He reported winning $952 when he bet in October 2008 that OU would not beat Kansas by three touchdowns or more. OU won by only two touchdowns — 45-31. He lost $1,000, though, betting on the Texas-Missouri football game the same day.
The next week, he reported losing $735 betting against OU in the OU-Kansas State game. He reported losing another $1,050 on the Penn State-Ohio State game.
He reported losing $4,300 on bets on four football games in September 2008.
“Matt” worked undercover in both 2007 and 2008, records show. He signed up online with Legendz Sports on Feb. 1, 2008.
“Hey, any chance I can get one of the swimsuit calendars???” he asked a customer service representative in an online chat that day.
The representative replied: “We are all out of the calendars. They go pretty fast.”
Later that year, he did get the 2008 swimsuit calendar. It is now among the evidence in the case.
Another undercover employee, who called himself “Joey,” won big a couple times in 2008. He collected $5,643 from a bookie suspect in October that year and $10,600 in November, records show.
He paid the suspect $3,230, though, in December 2008, records show.
“Joey” reported the bookie suspect during the December 2008 meeting commented that, even though he was an OU fan, he “needed the Sooners to lose in order for him to break even on the season.”
OU did lose, to Florida in the 2009 national championship game.
The FBI has been investigating bookie suspects connected to Legendz Sports since at least 2004, records show.
In October 2004, an FBI agent and an Internal Revenue Service agent questioned one suspect in the parking lot of an Oklahoma City video store.
The man admitted he was waiting to pick up $1,100 from a betting client, according to an FBI report.
The two agents asked the suspect if he knew of any public officials involved in illegal gambling, according to the report.
The suspect “stated that he knew of two police officers that currently bet on sports,” according to the report. There was no further detail.