Darin Notaro says he feels “absolutely horrible” about scamming senior citizens out of more than $200,000 when he was younger.
The Las Vegas “sports betting consultant” — and star of CNBC’s upcoming reality series MONEY TALKS — was one of six employees of Century Pacific Group who were sent to the slammer in 1999 for their part in a boiler room-style fraud.
“I was doing what they call sweepstakes telemarketing,” he told TV writers in Los Angeles last week.
According to a published report, the unsuspecting seniors he cold-called were required to pay up to $699 to claim their prizes — which often turned out to be completely worthless.
“It was my first job I had ever done, but I was good at it,” Notaro says.
“My junior year in high school I made, like, $200,000. My senior year I made $300,000. So my sales skills ended up landing me in jail [for 18 months].”
“I feel absolutely horrible about it. I realized what I did. I take full responsibility for what I did. As a 19 year-old kid, I didn’t realize what was going on.”
After his release, Notaro was prohibited from participating in any form of telemarketing. “But as a young kid, I knew nothing else to do,” he said.
“So…I went back to prison for a violation of probation.”
Now 40 (and a new father), Notaro has reinvented himself as Steve Stevens, owner of Las Vegas-based VIP Sports.
“I am not a bookie, I’m a bookie killer,” he declares in the premiere episode of MONEY TALKS, airing March 19.
For a fee of $250 a week Notaro will give you tips on which teams to bet on in major college and pro sports. [He also charges a 30 percent commission once clients start making money].
“I needed another start,” he says. “The only thing I knew was telemarketing. So I ended up taking my passion for sports betting, which I’ve always been good at, and turned it into a lucrative business making money.
“I’m still telemarketing, closing deals, because after all, if you have all the winning games in the world, if you don’t have any people to give them to, your games really don’t mean nothing. So it’s a sale. In other words, I need to convince you to trust me. Then I have to showcase my talent.”
When the program was first announced last summer, several well known oddsmakers denounced Notaro/Stevens as a fraud. Others claimed they had never heard of him.
“Those are guys in my business who want to be me,” he insists. “The only reason why they are talking about me is because they want to get a link to me so it goes to their website.
“I’m in a dying business right now. This is a dog eat dog world in my business. I have accomplished something that people have been trying to do in my business for 40 years and never could, and I say to those guys, ‘Keep talking,’ because they got me here.”
MONEY TALKS premieres March 19 on CNBC.
Will you be watching? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
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