01/18/2005 1:00AM

Guilty plea in Dakota trial


Raymundo Diaz, a former vice president of Racing Services Inc., pleaded guilty to three charges on Tuesday during the opening day of a trial into whether the North Dakota rebate shop ran an illegal gambling business, the Associated Press reported.

Diaz, 39, entered the guilty pleas as part of an agreement with prosecutors. The agreement will require Diaz to testify against Susan Bala, the founder and owner of Racing Services, the AP said.

Racing Services, Diaz, and Bala were indicted late in 2003 on charges that they set up an unlicensed gambling company that took in $99 million in bets in 2002 and 2003. Prosecutors have alleged the business did not pay taxes on the wagers.

U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Erickson in Fargo, N.D., set April 1 as a sentencing date for Diaz, according to the AP, on charges of conducting an illegal business, conspiracy to conduct an illegal gambling business, and illegal wire transfer. Nine other charges against Diaz were dropped as a result of the agreement.