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SEC Says $900,000 Not Yet Returned by Teen

Investments: Agency says the transfer is underway but missed the Wednesday deadline.

January 11, 2002|JOSH FRIEDMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Mission Viejo teenager accused of running an Internet scam still has not surrendered to authorities $900,000 raised in the operation, regulators said Thursday.

In a preliminary settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday, Cole A. Bartiromo agreed to hand over $900,000 he had deposited in a Costa Rican casino account. The SEC had set a Wednesday deadline.

"The money is not here, but the transfer process is underway," an SEC spokesman said Thursday.

Bartiromo's attorney could not be reached for comment.

The SEC declined to say which casino it was dealing with in arranging the money transfer.

In a Nov. 20 e-mail to the SEC, Bartiromo's sports-betting program--"Invest Better 2001"--said the operation had had wagering accounts at two casinos, beton internet.com (a site used by Infinity Casino) and thebigbook.com (home of the Big Book & Casino), both based in Costa Rica. But Bartiromo told regulators at the time that the accounts had been closed.

The two casinos are among numerous offshore casinos that accept sports wagers via the Internet.

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