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Author Topic: Hi, my name is Sonny Vleisides  (Read 13544 times)
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September 20, 2012, 08:36:36 PM
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Hello, my name is Sonny Vleisides.  I've been involved in technology and libertarian focused ventures for most of my adult life.  I believe very strongly in freedom, honesty and personal responsibility.

I decided to drop university studies at UMKC back in 1991.  My mother wasn't very happy about it, but with youthful ambition and no sense, I set out to travel the world instead.  I've lived in Russia, Indonesia, Latin America, Europe etc...  Mostly seeking opportunity while trying to learn what I could.  Along the way, libertarian ideals became more interesting than any other and looking back, it's clear that's the attraction that's pulled me through life from one focus to the next.  The internet was an exciting development.  I started webspawner.com in 1995.  It was my focus for many years.  Do a search for 'free webpages' on google.  I'm currently president of that company, not BFL.

In the late 90's, I found myself face to face with a great new concept.  It was called jurisdictional arbitration.  That's where you're able to leverage technology to profit from differences in law from one jurisdiction to another. The hotbed of it was in offshore gaming where a Costa Rican license could be used along with satellite telecommunications to offer gaming services to clients all over the world, even in the United States.  I thought this was pretty cool, so I started a software company to provide the back end for these systems.  We operated services as Sportsbook Solutions and the SportsPulse platform.  It was a lucrative and fun time.  I saw it as a libertarian adventure in challenging the authorities of the world while earning a good living.

I came to know my real father only as an adult.  So when I got the opportunity to know him better, I was eager and curious.  His name was James Ray Houston (the focus of the indictment).  He was very charismatic and had a wild past from having ran for governor in Nevada.  At one time he had a Lear jet with his picture on the tail.  He'd gone broke and rich several times since and had a zillion GREAT stories to tell.  I was completely enamored.  At that time he had been building a business bundling lottery tickets and selling shares of ownership in their potential winnings.  He moved to simply guaranteeing the ticket results on his own via re-insurance pools (US Patent application number US 2004/0058726 A1).  At some point after that it became clear to him that he could use a sportsbook license to clarify legality and allow his customers to bet on the outcome of a lottery without buying a lottery ticket.  So instead of "I bet the Giants win by 7", it's "I bet the NY Lottery pick 3 is 4-7-2".  He built international lottery products like this and took them to market.  I helped him.

It was a roaring success.

It's fair to say the US Government didn't like it much in spite of the legal basis.

After several years, indictments suddenly rained down on all forms of offshore gaming.

That year (2007), about 30% of the larger offshore sportsbook/poker/lottery gaming companies were indicted with mail fraud and money laundering related accusations including betonsports.com, sportsbook.com, sportingbet plc.  Later it was Bookmaker.com, 2Betsdi.com, Funtimebingo.com, Goldenarchcasino.com, Truepoker.com, Betmaker.com, Betgrandesports.com, Doylesroom.com, Betehorse.com, Beted.com....  and many more.

Each case was different and this one was particularly unusual because it wasn't a standard sportsbook model.  In fact, this case was started by the IRS.  Why the IRS?   It's not my place to say, but it's worth any reader taking a moment to think about.  The core of their argument was that if a customer didn't buy the ticket from the government, then they were being victimized.  Consequently, it was decided that all economic activity by James Houston's company was fraudulent and that forms the basis of the indictment. However, the customers bought ticket funds and were paid their appropriate winnings as promised.  Only the government lost out.  This may have made the case hard to prosecute.  In fact, the government ended the case without any obligation to repay anyone anything.  No restitution.

My role was mostly as a software & license supplier, However, I became more involved over time...  enough so that my name was included in the indictment.  

Everything was fine until one day I was picked up while traveling in Florence.  It was a sealed indictment, so I had no idea what was going on.  I spent the next two years fighting extradition.  The case went all the way to the Italian Supreme Court.  In the end, I was extradited after the US was made to drop half of the charges. That's all they could do for me, but they really helped.  I'll always be thankful to Italy for that.

In the US, I was preparing for my case.  It had been a long slog. My finances had dwindled to zero, leaving me with a free court appointed lawyer from the legal pool.  He showed me that the US federal system had a 97% conviction rate...  higher than the Russian courts under Stalin.  He calmly informed me that I was facing full life without possibility of parole as a first time white collar defendant.

Yes..  really.  This is no joke.  It's called the federal sentencing guidelines implemented in 1984.  It's the point system that determines the sentence, not the judge.  My points totaled 43.  Life in prison.  Look it up and prepare to be amazed.

After two and a half years preparing, we neared trial.  The prosecutor calls for a meeting and offers me a deal.  I can go home if I accept a single count of mail fraud and skip the trial.  They would drop 23 charges and leave me with a simple postal violation (lesser count of mail fraud).  I thought about it and it didn't take long for me to agree to get the shackles off.  I signed and went home to my Mother's house in Kansas City.  I sat there looking at the wall for a long time.  I didn't feel like leaving the house much.  It was difficult to get over the emotional loss.  My life was ruined.  Mom got me an account on match.com and encouraged me to date.  I met a wonderful girl and we had a little boy.  We named him Indy.  My life continued and I started to look for a new project to begin again.  A fresh start.  I'm on a good track now, trying to put the past behind me.




Somewhere along the way, I got involved with the BFL project.  (No one from the indictment is involved in this company, in fact two of them have since died including my father.)  With regards to BFL, I'm proud to have played a role in it's start up and focus on the current products, but I am not a majority owner.  The company has 22 employees who are all dedicated and focused on delivering a truly amazing best in class product.

The bitcoin community and it's success are important to me and my past isn't a threat to it or to the BFL corporation.  I hope you can see that.

Thanks for your time in reading this.

Kind regards,
Sonny Vleisides
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September 20, 2012, 08:44:31 PM
 #2

I'm satisfied.

I run http://mail-to-jail.com. I am "thebaron-btc" on Bitcoin-OTC.
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September 20, 2012, 08:45:51 PM
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Im gonna assume this story is mostly correct, and just wish to congratulate Sonny on his bounce-back.

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September 20, 2012, 08:59:25 PM
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I'm satisfied.

I'm not.

Please elucidate your connection to Laissez Faire City, James Orlin Grabbe and the KGB.

Stop sending me Bitcoins! 1HNLqLrPEwMk8woA91qwX9sRkatRfQik2T
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September 20, 2012, 09:03:36 PM
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Im gonna assume this story is mostly correct, and just wish to congratulate Sonny on his bounce-back.

Oh man you are really easily being had....the nice little baby...all it takes to imprison your ability to percieve facts
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September 20, 2012, 09:07:29 PM
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The case went all the way to the Italian Supreme Court.


This is no place to be vague. Either link to the case documents already available online or put them online and link to them.

Quote
Yes..  really.  This is no joke.  It's called the federal sentencing guidelines implemented in 1984.  It's the point system that determines the sentence, not the judge.  My points totaled 43.  Life in prison.  Look it up and prepare to be amazed.

It's not a matter of it being a joke, it's a matter of it being a lie that's under consideration. I am looking it up, I still fail to see how a first conviction for fraud amounts to life without parole. Again, this is no place to be vague, you are the convicted felon, not us. Do your homework, don't expect us to do it for you.

In general, yes the US Govt is a despicable piece of shit, always looking to hassle and possibly convict perfectly innocent bystanders on trumped up charges. Cases such as Dominique Strauss Kahn or Julien Assange readily spring to mind. However, this does not mean that every two bit fraudster is now a political target. It's an age old ploy, of course, that's how the couple forgers imprisoned in the Bastille got themselves out in 1789.

Nice tearjerker with the orphan kid meeting Dad and so forth. Please apply yourself more diligently to the actual points.

My Credentials  | THE BTC Stock Exchange | I have my very own anthology! | Use bitcointa.lk, it's like this one but better.
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September 20, 2012, 09:17:04 PM
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At some point after that it became clear to him that he could use my company's software system and sportsbook license to clarify legality and allow his customers to bet on the outcome of a lottery without buying a lottery ticket.  .  So instead of "I bet the Giants win by 7", it's "I bet the NY Lottery pick 3 is 4-7-2".

It was a roaring success.


Welcome to a mob-style numbers racket.

Sonny, I really only have one question for you.  Your parole conditions place restrictions on you operating certain types of businesses and soliciting funds without the express permission of your parole officer.  Can you provide evidence that your parole officer is aware of your involvement in BFL and has given express permission for you to undertake all activities associated with it?  If you're truly "turning your life around", then I would presume that you have no wish to violate your parole conditions.  Evidence that you're complying with those conditions might reassure people that your intention truly is to make a fresh start in a legitimate business enterprise.

All I can say is that this is Bitcoin. I don't believe it until I see six confirmations.
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September 20, 2012, 09:17:35 PM
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In general, yes the US Govt is a despicable piece of shit, always looking to hassle and possibly convict perfectly innocent bystanders on trumped up charges.

Nice tearjerker with the orphan kid meeting Dad and so forth. Please apply yourself more diligently to the actual points.


Both good points.

Anyone that cares to take this seriously should read, in full, the government's findings on the case.  There is much detail on the mechanics of the operation that one needs to read prior to being taken in by an 'appeal to emotion' post like this.

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=110805.msg1206567#msg1206567


Trying to 'put a face' on the issue is fine - but one should not be ignorant of the court's findings.

Maybe the US Gov't really screwed over Sonny and got it's facts all wrong.  Maybe not.  Read and decide for yourself.
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September 20, 2012, 09:20:48 PM
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I'm only disturbed by his visual similarity to Bruce Wagner. Is that the smile of a psychopath? I do not know.

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September 20, 2012, 09:22:25 PM
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Let's go easy on the witch hunting. Even though the Pirate thing is fresh on our minds, and BFL is kind of a sketchy company...even if this guy involved did actually intentionally defraud people in his past, they *are* delivering products at this time.

I run http://mail-to-jail.com. I am "thebaron-btc" on Bitcoin-OTC.
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September 20, 2012, 09:29:29 PM
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Sonny, can you comment on the following?
Quote
18. When interviewed, PJ and Michael Swink stated the following:

a.   PJ Swink stated that her company, Western Internet, worked for Sonny VLEISIDES. The work PJ Swink did for VLEISIDES included printing as well as stuffing and mailing envelopes. VLEISIDES gave her instructions regarding the preparing, printing, and mailing of lottery solicitations. Western Internet had done this work for VLEISIDES, or his father, "Rex Rogers," since 1993. Since 2000, all of the work PJ Swink had done for VLEiSIDES and "Rex Rogers" had been related to the lottery.

b.   PJ Swink was unaware of the exact name of VLEISIDES' company, because it has had multiple names over the years. Based on conversations and other communications with VLEISIDES over the years, she believed "The Shamrock Agency" and "World Expert" were companies related to VLEISIDES. She believed VLEISIDES also used the name "Atlas Informaticos." Michael Swink stated that VLEISIDES told him that VLEISIDES was a licensed broker for these companies in Europe. PJ Swink and Michael Swink have met VLEISIDES in person.

c.   PJ Swink provided a business card with contact information for VLEISIDES. The information on the card said "SONNY VLEISIDES." The address was in Costa Rica. The email address was sonnv[-BAD-OCR-]city.com . However, PJ Swink later identified a further email address for VLEISIDES of sonnv@atlasinformaticos.com.

Quote

Victim Statements

8. Clarence Enge

Amy Von Freyman stated that her grandfather, Clarence Enge, who is in his 80s, received letters via the United States mail from companies soliciting his participation in foreign lotteries.
Since 1997, Enge had sent $600-$1200/month to such companies, including to OLD AMSTERDAM and SHAMROCK AGENCY. In order to continue his participation he refinanced his home.

9. Paul Greven

A letter addressed to Greven stating it is an "Official Announcement of Winning Tickets in the 2003 Irish Sweepstake Triple Crown." The  letterhead indicated it was from "The Shamrock Agency" and claimed it had been a "Certified Service since 1959." The letter stated: "Millionaires by the score! We have just finished round one of the verification process of the Triple Crown 118 major Jackpot winning tickets. Enclosed is a list of the winning numbers. Congratulations to the jackpot winners.. . ." The letter informed Greven to be patient for "round 2 of the winning verification process" but encouraged him not to "... delay in getting the 'Jump' on next year's Triple Crown millions (order form enclosed)." It also stated that the Triple Crown was unlike any other lottery because players could be sure there is no ". . . 'Inside corruption' or 'secret trick' . . . ." The letter was signed by "Sir William Winfield, Northup Manor, Shannon Ireland."

10. Paul Wood

When interviewed, Paul Wood stated that he had been involved with WORLD EXPERT for about five years. He had played lotteries with them and obtained a form of life insurance from WORLD EXPERT. Woods stated the insurance from WORLD EXPERT FUND was known as the "Gold Reserve Fund." For this he sent $29 per month to the Netherlands to pay for retirement/life insurance. Statements he had received showed that he had approximately $4,000 in his account.


What was your relationship with World Expert and The Shamrock Agency, as well as Western Internet/ The Swinks?

Did you merely provide a software platform for people to bet on the outcome of foreign lotteries, or did you send out unsolicted mail for people to send you checks/wires in order to participate in foreign lotteries?
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September 20, 2012, 09:36:51 PM
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great read, timing could not have been better.  this has restored a bit more faith in BFL to me, although I wish they would post a few pictures showing some progress.

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September 20, 2012, 09:40:24 PM
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I'm only disturbed by his visual similarity to Bruce Wagner. Is that the smile of a psychopath? I do not know.

Bruce Wagner also tried to hand-wave away his previous convictions for fraud with ridiculous stories.
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September 20, 2012, 09:46:54 PM
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Im gonna assume this story is mostly correct, and just wish to congratulate Sonny on his bounce-back.

Oh man you are really easily being had....the nice little baby...all it takes to imprison your ability to percieve facts

I havent "been had" yet.  A dying breed in bitcoin land.
Common sense goes a long way.  It doesnt take genius to tell 5% per week "investment opportunities" are ponzi's, nor does it take a lot of faith to see BFL is actually producing state of the art products, making a shitload of money legitimately. There is also nothing unbelievable about them being able to produce asics, there are now 4 other companies claiming the same capability in roughly the same time frame and they all have far less resources and far less proven trackrecord.

Is it possible Sonny is running another con? Sure, but he would be an idiot to run off with your money with after already having spent 2 years in jail, a criminal record and with his name out in the open. Especially when he can make a crapload of money by just running his business as he has been doing.

TL'DR  It makes absolutely no sense to assume this is a scam.

Not for sale
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September 20, 2012, 09:48:46 PM
 #15

Thanks for your story. I'm satisfied.
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September 20, 2012, 09:50:01 PM
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he would be an idiot to run off with your money with after already having spent 2 years in jail, a criminal record and with his name out in the open.

That might make sense in the real world... but bitcoin.

(pirate's stolen over 5 million USD, and I don't forsee any jail in his future considering there's not even a police report right now)
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September 20, 2012, 09:51:36 PM
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Let's go easy on the witch hunting. Even though the Pirate thing is fresh on our minds, and BFL is kind of a sketchy company...even if this guy involved did actually intentionally defraud people in his past, they *are* delivering products at this time.
Do you not forget the following earn model wich we saw in the past.

1) Start a company
2) Get known
3) Get trusted (by delivering some kind of service or product)
4) Get money

5) Claim that you have been hacked or come up with some bad excuse.
6) Profit

BFL now is at phase 4 since they have the money.
So we will see now how this story plays out.


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September 20, 2012, 09:54:07 PM
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he would be an idiot to run off with your money with after already having spent 2 years in jail, a criminal record and with his name out in the open.

That might make sense in the real world... but bitcoin.

(pirate's stolen over 5 million USD, and I don't forsee any jail in his future considering there's not even a police report right now)

Last time I checked, Pirate didnt have a registered company, didnt accept credit cards, didnt have a parole officer looking over his shoulder,  nor have I seen any shred of evidence of any real business activity. Even if there were, there would be no sensible explanation for why he would borrow at >3000% APR.  Pirate and BFL have nothing in common.

If you want to shout down scams on this forum, there are plenty to chose from, this isnt one.

Not for sale
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September 20, 2012, 09:57:23 PM
 #19

I truly thank you for your efforts. However people always seem to criticize everything "haters gonna hate"

There is no way to 100% co-oberate anything that is posted on the internet.

Only time will tell.

Sonny, there are optimists and pessimists. You are an optimist much like myself.

I would like to add that your post will help me to avoid the difficult to please, "Negative thinking People" on the forums.
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September 20, 2012, 10:00:52 PM
 #20

BFL are from the real world, they proved that already. Never seen them promising free money, like that boat guy.

Sonny, thanks for your story.
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