Illegal Gambling Ring Hired MMA Fighters as Debt Collectors
A man from Brooklyn hired two mixed martial arts fighters (MMA) to help him collect debts from poker players for a $100 million gambling racket linked to Russian mobsters.According to federal prosecutors Kirill Rapoport threatened violence in order to force losers to pay up. Rapoport has pleaded guilty to running poker games in Manhattan after he was charged, along with more than 30 others, over the illegal gambling operation.
When arrested Rapoport was found with brass knuckles in his chest of draws and an inoperable gun was in his apartment. In the presenting letter for his sentencing prosecutors said, “These weapons are the tools of the trade for an “enforcer” who threatens the use of force to collect debts.”
Prosecutors say that Rapoport worked with Arthur Azen who has admitted money laundering, conspiracy and extortionate credit collection.
The letter goes on to say that Rapoport “was not a dealer or a bartender. His job was to make sure that bettors at Azen’s illegal poker games and bettors of Azen’s sports book paid their debts.”
Rapoport was spotted accompanied by two MMA fighters in October last year when he was meeting a poker player who had debts. The player has since admitted that he owed around $40,000.