Gavel from Reuters 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Chip East)
In a precedent-setting ruling, the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court sentenced
Avraham Shauli, manager of a website that hosted the gambling of tens of
millions of shekels, to a 27-month imprisonment and NIS 300,000 fine.
sentence was announced by the courts on Monday, but was handed down
The sentence set a precedent since it was much harsher than any
sentence for previous crimes of a similar nature, and because the state used a
new combination of laws to obtain it.
In a recent trend, the state and
courts having been pushing for harsher sentences for economic crimes in general,
and gambling and Internet crimes in particular.
The laws employed for the
conviction and sentence included a law dealing with money laundering and
organizing gambling as well as the income tax law.
Shauli, 42, was
convicted as part of a plea bargain and was sentenced immediately after. He
operated the site from 2007-2009.
The site facilitated gambling on sports
events throughout the country as well as on foreign sporting events.
millions of shekels gambled on the site were gathered in cash by couriers. Those
involved avoided using any banks or other legitimate ways of transferring cash
in order to better avoid detection of the money transfers, the need to pay tax
and the gambling itself.
In the court’s sentencing opinion, it said,
“There is no doubt that the punishment of imprisonment which was agreed on for
the accused is a heavy imprisonment sentence.”
The court added that
though the sentence was heavy, “it was consistent with the requirement from the
Supreme Court to impose harsher sentences and punishments with significant jail
time on crimes of this kind” – in a reference to the Supreme Court directive in
the 2011 Eliran Oved decision.
Next, the court referred to Shauli as the
“head of the pyramid” who had a complex hierarchy of people working under him
fulfilling a diverse array of tasks to operate the illegal gambling
Furthermore, Shauli had failed to report his gains or the income of
his workers to the income tax authorities. He owed at least NIS 1 million to tax
authorities and probably much more.
He was previously convicted in 1997
of fraud, taking bribes and other crimes.
Shauli was also convicted of
the minor crimes of possession of a small amount of drugs for self-use and
possession of a stolen item.
The economic crimes unit of the State
Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case and is considered part of joint efforts
with police from the Lahav fraud unit, to enforce the law and deter future