A Dover man is among more than 30 people arrested Thursday in connection with a $1 million-a-week, multistate sports betting operation related to prominent organized crime families.
The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office said 36-year-old Dulo Bolijevic of Dover was charged with promoting gambling and conspiracy to promote gambling in connection with this week’s raids, which spanned Bergen, Essex, Somerset and Monmouth counties.
The was no immediate word, however, on what role Bolijevic, who works at Villa Pizza in Rockaway, played in the betting ring.
Authorities from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, the FBI and other agencies began executing search and arrest warrants beginning Tuesday night. More than 30 arrests were made and more than $1.3 million was seized.
The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office said the North Jersey investigation began in September 2008 and focused on money-laundering. Undercover detectives infiltrated the bookmaking operation being run by Thomas Conforti of Hawthorne and John “Blue” DeFroscia of Saddle Brook.
DeFroscia is a documented “made” member of the Genovese organized crime family, and Conforti is a high-level associate, authorities said. Each ran separate bookmaking and money-laundering enterprises. and passed a portion of their earnings to Genovese Family.
Conforti and DeFroscia had a large network of agents, who were paid a commission on their profits. Mid-level members were responsible for numerous gambling packages and would meet with the individual agents or package holders and then pass the proceeds to DeFroscia and Conforti.
Investigators found that hundreds of bettors used a system of code names and passwords to place bets on sporting events each week. It was the agents who collected losses from or paid winnings to bettors. The wagers were placed via toll-free telephone numbers or the Internet.
The actual wire room providing betting lines and accepting the wagers is located in Costa Rica — a common practice employed by organized crime families to avoid apprehension of those running the wire room, authorities said.
The investigation revealed that DeFroscia and Conforti used “middle men” as a buffer between themselves and their agents to insulate themselves from law enforcement detection. In the case of Thomas Conforti, an individual identified as Michael Cirelli of Belleville helped run the operation for him. John DeFroscia employed Paul “Shortline” Weber of Aramark, Pa., and Gerald “Jay” Napolitano of Summit, among others, to help run his network of agents.
Napolitano would deliver weekly profits to DeFroscia by dropping envelopes of cash at Racioppi’s Taralles, a store on Bloomfield Avenue, Bloomfield. Nicholas “Pigeon” Restaino of Bloomfield would temporarily hold the cash at the store until DeFroscia picked it up.
Weber, Napolitano and other ranking members would meet with agents in parking lots, bookstores, diners and on the street to exchange cash. Napolitano was seen several times meeting one of his agents, Louis Orangeo of Newark, in various parking lots in Clifton. Orangeo, a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, would meet with Napolitano while on duty in his mail truck. They would exchange an envelope through the mail truck window as if it were ordinary mail.
In addition, Weber, who is employed as a vendor at both CitiField and Yankee Stadium, arranged meetings and drop-offs in each stadium while working. Detectives who conducted surveillance of Weber at the stadiums with the assistance and cooperation of Major League Baseball security, observed him exchange cash proceeds from this enterprise with various co-conspirators.
Thanks to Daily Record
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