The New York police shut down a mafia betting ring

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The New York police shut down a mafia betting ring

The New York Police Department (NYPD) arrested 17 individuals on Wednesday, June 7, for their involvement in a $23 million illegal gambling ring allegedly run by the mob.

According to an 84-count indictment, these individuals are accused of operating various loan sharking and illegal gambling enterprises on Staten Island. Prosecutors claim the ring was overseen by members of the Gambino crime family, one of New York’s infamous “Five Families.”

Prosecutors stated that the ring managed more than $22.7 million in illegal bets through an unlicensed offshore gaming site,

Among those arrested were alleged Gambino foot soldiers John J. LaForte, Anthony J. Cinque, Jr., and John Matera, along with several other alleged associates.

New York Attorney General Letitia James remarked:

Illegal gambling and loan sharking schemes are some of the oldest rackets in the mob’s playbook. While organized crime may still be active in New York, today we are putting several Gambino family members out of business. These criminal enterprises took tens of millions of dollars from New Yorkers and trapped many in dangerous amounts of debt.

Edward LaForte, an alleged Gambino associate, is accused of having a managerial role within the enterprise. From September 2022 to March 2023, over 70 bettors wagered approximately $22,753,964 through the ring’s offshore gambling site. Amy McLaughlin is accused of helping to maintain and organize the gambling ring, including record-keeping and managing proceeds. John LaForte is said to have had a supervisory role over the operation.

The indictment alleges that gamblers betting illegally through the operation often fell into debt. Members of the operation would then offer usurious loans, collecting exorbitant interest on the debts.

New York State Gaming Commission Chairman Brian O’Dwyer said:

As we have seen for over a century and once again here, illegal bookmaking is often intertwined with organized crime. This is why we have regulated gaming with strong safeguards, player protections, and revenue to make our communities better. With the numerous legal gambling opportunities available in our state, there is no legitimate reason to wager with offshore operations and blindly line the pockets of alleged gangsters.

The defendants face multiple charges, including Enterprise Corruption, Criminal Usury in the First Degree and Second Degree, and Promoting Gambling in the First Degree. If convicted of Enterprise Corruption, they could face up to 25 years in prison.