CHICAGO (JGL) – Boxing fans across the United States came back with vengeance against Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather and their handlers: dishonesty does not pay and they don’t want any more rematch. They want them jailed!
In a stinging message to the pound-for-pound boxing champions and their promoters and handlers, a pay-per-view watcher sued them before the United States District Court of Southern District of Texas in Galveston for conspiracy for violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 1961, The Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO), in a class suit seeking excess of “the sum or value of $500,000,000, exclusive of interest and costs.”
The RICO suits have been used in the 1970s to prosecute the Mafia as well as others who were actively engaged in organized crime, its later application has been more widespread.
Under RICO, a person who has committed “at least two acts of racketeering activity” drawn from a list of 35 crimes—27 federal crimes and 8 state crimes—within a 10-year period can be charged with racketeering if such acts are related in one of four specified ways to an “enterprise”. Those found guilty of racketeering can be fined up to $25,000 and sentenced to 20 years in prison per racketeering count. In addition, the racketeer must forfeit all ill-gotten gains and interest in any business gained through a pattern of “racketeering activity.”
The “Fight of the Century” between Mayweather and Pacquiao was expected to earn in excess of $400 million for the fighters and promoters.
Plaintiff Ryla Bouchier, who viewed the “Fight of the Century” in her residence at Galveston, Texas thru pay-per-view named defendants Comcast Corporation (Comcast), of CT Corporation System, Philadelphia, PA 19103, which does business in Texas “for the purpose of accumulating monetary profit;” Top Rank Inc., of The Prentice Hall Corporation System, Nevada, Inc., Las Vegas, Nevada; Manny Pacquiao, a resident of the Philippines who “may be served with process at his residence in the Philippines, or wherever he may be found;” Mayweather Promotions, LLC, of Jeffrey Morse & Associates, Ltd., Las Vegas, Nevada; Floyd Mayweather, an individual, residing in Las Vegas, Nevada or “wherever he may be found.” The suit called the defendants “RICO persons.”
CAFA OF 2005
Bouchier said she is also suing under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 with proposed class containing more than 100 members “at least one of whom maintains citizenship in a state diverse from Defendants, and the matter in controversy exceeds the sum of $500,000,000, exclusive of interest and costs.”
The 13-page lawsuit, one of the 32 class suits across the nation, said, defendants Pacquiao and Mayweather “promoted and profited from ticket and pay per view sales of the Fight and participated in the enterprise, as more fully explained below, with knowledge that the Fight was not what it was represented as due to Pacquiao’s injury which was hidden from consumers, including Plaintiff and putative Class members after the Fight.”
The lawsuit filed by Bouchier’s lawyer, Marcus R. Spagnoletti of Houston, Texas also named MGM Grand Hotel, LLC, of Las Vegas, as the enterprise, and was engaged in interstate and foreign commerce through massive promotional and marketing schemes that hosted the Fight and provide a forum for the Mayweather and Pacquiao boxing contest, promoted as a contest between two healthy boxers on May 2, 2015, in the “Fight of the Century” and to profit, in part, from the sale of pay per view access via various cable and satellite providers, including Comcast.
“MGM did in fact host the Fight and did in fact generate massive profits from ticket sales and pay per view sales,” the lawsuit said. And MGM “is entirely separate and distinct from the RICO Persons.”
FIGHT OVERSHADOWED BY PACQUIAO’S INJURY
“However, the Fight was overshadowed by Pacquiao’s admissions that he fought injured and that this was an injury he knew about for sufficient time prior to the Fight, which he disclosed to other RICO persons prior to the Fight and prior to Plaintiff’s purchase of the Fight thru Comcast, yet failed to disclose ultimately to Plaintiff and putative class members prior to the Fight.”
The suit said, “Each RICO Person, as more fully plead herein, conducted, or participated in the conduct of the enterprise, through a pattern of racketeering activity, which legally and proximately caused damage to Plaintiff and putative class members by injuring them in their property.”
It said, “The racketeering activity consisted of mail fraud, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. section 1341, and wire fraud, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. section 1343.” Each RICO Person participated in a plan, scheme or artifice to defraud Plaintiff and the Class, and with intent to so defraud, used or caused to be use (sic) of the mail or the wires to implement that scheme.
Each RICO Person effectuated the plan, scheme or artifice to defraud by making misrepresentations of material fact, with reasonable foreseeability that the mail or wires would be used, and there was actual use of the mail or wires to further this scheme, all for the purpose of influencing Plaintiff and the putative Class to act.
The racketeering activity occurred between January 2015 and May 2015 when RICO Persons began conducting the affairs of the enterprise and when Pacquiao was injured.
The pattern is related in that the intentional misrepresentations of facts to the Plaintiff and the putative Class by mail or wire to let them purchase the pay per view, tickets to the Fight, cause the Plaintiff and the putative Class injury in their property and their purchases “have not been not repaid.”
If there were no “ongoing misrepresentations,” the lawsuit said, the “Plaintiff and putative Class would not have been deceived into purchasing pay per view or tickets to the fight.”
JURY TRIAL DEMAND
The suit demanded a jury trial, actual damages for the injury caused to the Plaintiff and the putative Class by the pattern of racketeering activity, including funds lost through purchase of tickets to the fight and purchase of the right to view the fight on pay per view; treble damages pursuant to statute; attorney’s fees pursuant to statute and costs of suit and further relief.
Bouchier’s lawsuit is only one of the 32 class action suits filed against Pacquiao, Mayweather and promoters Top Rank, Inc. and Mayweather Promotions and others verified by the Journal GlobaLinks from various U.S. districts courts in the U.S., including Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands and Northern Mariana Islands. Eight class suits were filed in California; five in New York; four each in Florida and Nevada; two each in Illinois and New Jersey; and one each in Connecticut, Maryland, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Puerto Rico.
In one of these lawsuits, one of the defendants Leonard Ellerbee, CEO of Mayweather Promotions stated in an interview before the fight with Yahoo’s Kevin Iole, “Freddie Roach thinks he runs a tight camp, but I know everything that’s happening there.”
The lawsuit added, “Indeed Mayweather’s camp was so aware of details from the camp of Manny Pacquiao that they even knew the days when he changed morning running routine.”