February 9, 2006
Will the Tax Man Come Looking for the Gretzkys?
An AP story (here) reports that hockey great Wayne Gretzky, the coach and co-owner of the Phoenix Coyotes, is captured on tape discussing large-scale betting by his wife, Jenny Jones, with assistant coach Rick Tocchet. The gambling ring Tocchet is alleged to have financed took in approximately $1.7 million from the end of December 2005 through the Super Bowl on February 5, and Jones is reputed to have made large bets on football games. The existence of wiretaps is not a great surprise because of the alleged Mafia connections in the case, and the recordings may reveal the names of others who bet through Tocchet, including current NHL players. Given the amount of money involved, this is the type of case in which the IRS is likely to take a very serious interest, at least for a civil audit and possibly a criminal investigation. Large sums of cash wagered through a bookmaking operation are unlikely to show up on various tax records that must be filed related to gambling winnings, and Uncle Sam will want his cut of the action, so tax issues may surface in addition to any potential criminal violations from the betting. Tocchet and two other defendants are scheduled to be arraigned on Feb. 21 in New Jersey. (ph)
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