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Phoenix man ordered to pay $500K for sports betting fraud

The Arizona Corporation Commission has ordered John Uranga to pay a large fee for committing securities fraud in connection with a sports betting fund.
Credit: news file

PHOENIX — The Arizona Corporation Commission has ordered a Phoenix man to pay more than $500,000 in restitution for defrauding investors who had invested in a sports betting fund. 

During a meeting on Sept. 8, the commission decided to penalize John Uranga for misleading individuals who invested in a fund they thought would pool their money together to gamble on sporting events.

Uranga was ordered to pay $459,699 in restitution and a $100,000 administrative penalty.

According to the commission, Uranga encouraged people to invest in the sports betting fund by posting social media posts that suggested he was living a luxurious lifestyle.  

"Uranga claimed to own five cars, three houses in three different states, two apartment complexes, and several businesses; including two auto body shops, a hotel, a car dealership, six cell phone stores, a pawn shop, a multi-media company, a property management company, and one gun store," commission records state.

Gambling records showed Uranga had only placed $6,560 worth of legitimate sports bets in 2018 and incurred a net loss of $2,460 from this activity, according to the commission.

The commission said it discovered that a significant amount of Uranga's income was bankrolled by investor funds.  

"The commission also found (Uranga) failed to pay investors any principal or interest and to disclose to later investors that previous investors had not been paid," the agency wrote in a statement.

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