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CRIME Almasy already incarcerated in West Virginia



Published: Mon, July 18, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The judge denied a request to reconsider the sentence.

YOUNGSTOWN -- Sports bookmaker Kevin Almasy is now incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in Morgantown, W.Va.

Almasy, 37, of Midwood Circle, Boardman, was ordered to report to the federal prison no later that last Friday. A check of the Bureau of Prison Web site on Sunday shows that he is there.

Last month, Almasy asked U.S. District Judge Patricia Gaughan in Cleveland federal court to reconsider his 15-month prison sentence, saying he was not the boss of other bookies. The judge denied the request July 6.

Against agreement terms

The request went against terms of Almasy's plea agreement, Matthew B. Kall, an assistant U.S. attorney, said in court papers. Kall pointed out that Almasy agreed to leave determination of a leadership role -- which meant more prison time -- up to U.S. District Judge Paul R. Matia. Judge Gaughan took over when Judge Matia retired.

Kall also said a federal judge has no jurisdiction to reconsider a sentence unless an error occurred.

The FBI, using wiretaps and surveillance, tied a group of bookmakers to LaVilla Sports Bar and Grille in Struthers operated by Almasy's father. The father received two years' probation at sentencing with the first six months' confined at home.

At Almasy's sentencing in May, Judge Matia reviewed wiretap transcripts and concluded that Almasy did direct others, including his wife, who hid betting slips and cash at their home. The charge against her was dismissed in lieu of a diversion program.

Almasy's Mayfield Village attorney, George Argie III, had argued in court that there was a "division of labor" and his client was not a leader. The lawyer filed an appeal with the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals over the sentence then withdrew it after concluding language in the plea agreement precluded an appeal.

To support a reconsideration of the sentence in U.S. District Court, Argie submitted nearly identical affidavits from two codefendants who said Almasy had no leadership role in their bookmaking operation.

Frivolous tactics

Kall, in response, said Almasy showed an unwillingness to accept his sentence and "engaged in frivolous litigation tactics" in order to avoid going to prison. The federal prosecutor said Almasy contacted co-conspirators and pressured them to sign affidavits that make assertions without evidence to back them up.

Argie said the government had no facts to support its "reckless allegation" that the co-conspirators were pressured to sign affidavits. The defense lawyer said if his client received additional prison time based on erroneous information and arguments made to the judge "then a travesty of justice has occurred."

Argie noted that all defendants, except his client, received sentences of six months' home confinement followed by probation. He said the government, also using wiretap transcripts, tried to prove that Almasy's father had a leadership role in the bookmaking operation but the judge rejected the argument.

Almasy's challenge to his 15-month sentence caused the government to oppose his motion to travel in June and over the July 4 holiday to South Bend, Indiana for his fireworks business. He is described as a principal in Sky King Fireworks, which has locations in Florida, Pennsylvania, Indiana and New York. Another principal is Ronald A. Carabbia.

Denied

Judge Gaughan sided with the government and denied Almasy's travel motions.

Kall, in his opposition to the travel, said Almasy protesting his sentence showed that he was unwilling to abide by court orders.

"The government is concerned that he therefore may pose a risk of flight if permitted to travel," Kall said.

After 15 months' in prison, Almasy has two years' supervised release, during which he must participate in drug and alcohol outpatient programs. The sentencing range was 15 to 21 months.

He was also fined him $2,310, the amount of cash seized during a raid.

Almasy's plea agreement had called for him to forfeit $25,000 to the government in lieu of his house. He didn't pay before being sentenced so Judge Matia ordered that the house be forfeited.

The house on Midwood Circle has a market value of $107,700, county records show.




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