Police arrested Sullivan on 20 August when he was passing through JFK customs on his return to the US from Antigua.
The next day, he was arraigned in the Eastern District of New York. Prosecutors said he will appear in federal court in Boston at a later date.
A federal grand jury indicted Sullivan in August 2010 with RICO charges. This is the federal law which provides criminal penalties for offenses to do with an ongoing criminal organisation.
Sullivan faces charges for racketeering, operating an illegal gambling business and transmission of wagering information. Prosecutors also accused him of money laundering and interstate travel in aid of racketeering.
Sullivan among first charged under UIGEA
The case marks one of the first times prosecutors charged individuals with violating the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).
The UIGEA prevents gambling businesses from accepting payments from players to bet with over the internet.
Prosecutors charged Sullivan and his co-defendants with more than 75 counts of engaging in US banking transactions involving US-based gamblers.
Co-conspirators at Sports Offshore
According to the indictment Sullivan and three co-conspirators – Todd Lyons, Robert Eremian and Daniel Eremian – operated an Antiguan-based sportsbook called Sports Offshore.
The indictment alleges Sports Offshore used an internet site and toll-free telephone line registered in Antigua to receive bets from US customers.
As part of the operation, the four individuals hired around 50 gambling agents in the US itself. The role of these employees was to solicit customers and collect on gambling debts, before forwarding the proceeds to Antigua.
Sports Offshore creates fictional entities to conceal UIGEA violations
The indictment then alleges Sullivan and the other members of the gambling ring created fictional corporate entities to launder the money received from Sports Offshore.
They did this so authorities would not be able to detect US-based financial transactions involving the offshore betting business.
According to the indictment, Sullivan’s role was to manage the daily activities of Sports Offshore at an office in St John’s, Antigua.
In this position, Sullivan supervised 30-50 employees whose job it was to accept wagers from customers in the US.
Sullivan and co earn $22m from activities
Prosecutors allege Sullivan and his co-conspirators collected over $22m through Sports Offshore’s operations, laundering $10m through checks and wire transfers.
In December 2011, jurors convicted two of Sullivan’s co-conspirators – Lyons and Daniel Eremian. The judge sentenced Lyons to four years in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered him to forfeit $24.6m.
Meanwhile, Daniel Eremian faced three years in prison, one year of supervised release and was ordered to hand over $7.7m.