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Family Business: Family Tragedy

Bansal sons sentenced to 37 and 51 months.

Two sons of Raj Kumar Bansal, the leader of the largest gambling operation in Fairfax’s history, were sentenced to prison Friday in separate 10-minute hearings in U.S. District Court in Alexandria.

Nicholas Kumar Bansal, 36 of Stafford, and Steven Kumar Bansal, 32 of Kill Devil Hills in North Carolina, pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy in June, admitting to having "no show" jobs at businesses in Arlington and Springfield as well as engaging in a loan-sharking operation.

"Your Honor, I’m very sorry," said Steven Bansal, whose voice cracked with emotion. He was sentenced to 37 months in prison in Cumberland, Md. "I learned a very important lesson and I will not be back here."

His older brother was sentenced to 51 months in the same prison.

"I’d just like to apologize to this court, society and my family," said Nicholas Bansal. "I promise I won’t be back here again."

<B>THEIR FATHER</B> pleaded guilty last week to racketeering conspiracy. Raj Bansal, 63 of Annandale, admitted to being the leader of an illegal gambling businesses and laundering more than $2.5 million in profits from 1993 through 2007, according to U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg.

Thousands of gamblers placed bets on collegiate and professional sports games through the operation, according to police. At the height of the operation, Bansal and his organization were bringing in "tens of thousands of dollars" every week, police said.

Following a two-year investigation into illegal gambling on football and basketball in Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina, more than 100 officers and detectives served more than two dozen search warrants in the three states. Police arrested the Bansals and five other co-defendants on Feb. 8, 2006.

The case was originally slotted for action in Fairfax County, but was transferred to federal court in May 2007.

Patriarch Raj Bansal faces up to 20 years in prison and agreed to forfeit $2.5 million. As part of his plea agreement, Bansal has agreed to cooperate with the government, according to Rosenberg.

<B>ELEVEN CO-DEFENDANTS</B> have pleaded guilty during the investigation. Rajan Harjani, 49 of Springfield pleaded guilty Friday in the same courtroom where the Bansal sons were sentenced.

Sharon Rudolph Connelly, 67 of Springfield, Donovan Anthony Moncrieffe, 39 of Alexandria, and Pillai Balakrishnan Nair, 64 of Alexandria, all face trial later this month on racketeering and money laundering conspiracy charges.

Connelly, the former director of the Office of Inspector and Auditor at the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, owned several businesses and used them to make mortgage loans to gamblers as a ploy to collect their gambling debts, according to Rosenberg.

The conspiracy was apparently based out of Raj Bansal's home in Annandale, according to police reports.