Wednesday, December 03, 2014

14 Charged in Large Scale Sports Betting Operation

Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe today announced the arrests of 14 individuals on charges of unlawfully operating a sports betting enterprise that stretched from Rockland County to New York City and from Bergen County, New Jersey to Palm Beach, Florida. It is estimated that the ring took in millions of dollars a month over a 16-month period by accepting wagers on a wide variety of sporting events – ranging from professional football, basketball, hockey and baseball to college basketball, among others.

District Attorney Zugibe said, “The defendants are accused of operating an incredibly lucrative gambling operation – taking in millions of dollars a month. Such unlawfully earned profits are commonly diverted to more insidious criminal enterprises. In fact, the investigation uncovered evidence that the enterprise had links to organized crime.”

The defendants - who range in age from 27 to 74, are charged with Promoting Gambling, Possession of Gambling Records, Money Laundering and other offenses. Based on information obtained during the probe, there were approximately 60 court authorized search warrants in New York, New Jersey and Florida. To date more than $3 million dollars in cash and other properties have been seized.

The defendants arraigned before Clarkstown Town Justice
  • Patsy Capolongo, 8210 Spyglass Dr, West Palm Beach, Florida charged with Promoting Gambling in the First degree and possession of gambling records in the first degree.
  • Carmine Potenza, 93 N. Pilgrim, Pearl River, NY charged with Promoting Gambling in the First degree and possession of gambling records in the first degree.
  • Harry Floershiem, 6 Mountain View Dr, Tompkins Cove, NY charged with Promoting Gambling in the First degree and possession of gambling records in the first degree.
  • Thomas Feeney, 6 College Rd, Nanuet, NY charged with Promoting Gambling in the First degree and possession of gambling records in the firs tdegree.
  • Brian E. Kelly, 23 Carlton Rd, Pearl River, NY charged with Promoting Gambling in the First degree and possession of gambling records in the second degree
  • Richard Simko, 5 Herbet Ct, Tomkins Cove, NY charged with Promoting Gambling in the second degree and possession of gambling records in the first degree, and criminal possession of a weapon in the 4th degree
  • Richard Lacava, 622 Pelhamdale Ave, Pelham Manor, NY charged with Promoting Gambling in the First degree and possession of gambling records in the first degree
  • Eric Wachter, 2430 Stuart St, Brooklyn, NY charged with Money Laundering in the Fourth degree
  • John Tognino, 3191 Ampere Ave, Bronx, NY charged with Promoting Gambling in the First degree and possession of gambling records in the first degree.
  • Robert Wisiak, 7356 196th St, Queens, NY charged with Promoting Gambling in the First degree and possession of gambling records in the first degree.
The crackdown was the culmination of a 16-month probe led by the District Attorney’s Organized Crime Unit with the assistance of the New York State Police Special Investigative Unit, the Clarkstown Police Department, the Ramapo Police Department, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, the Queens District Attorney’s Organized Crime Division, the NYPD Asset Forfeiture Unit, the Department of Homeland Security, the Broward County Sheriff’s Department, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Department and the FBI.

"Illegal gambling is not a victimless crime. Those who participate in these criminal enterprises often use threats, intimidation and even physical force to collect debts and regularly charge usurious interest rates on outstanding debts. In addition to our local and state partners, I want to thank our federal law enforcement colleagues and out-of-state police authorities for their cooperation and
efforts in this sweeping probe,” said Zugibe.

All of the defendants were arraigned before Clarkstown Town Justice Rolf Thorsen. All defendants were released on their own recognizance.

This is an ongoing investigation and it is anticipated that there will be further arrests.

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