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Gambino mobsters among 17 charged in $22M illegal gambling ring on Staten Island

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Seventeen individuals have been arrested in connection to a thriving network of illegal gambling and loansharking on Staten Island, under the control of the notorious Gambino crime family.

The charges — detailed in an 84-count indictment — revealed the inner workings of an illicit enterprise that raked in a staggering $22.7 million in illegal bets while doling out half a million dollars in usurious loans.

At the center of the operation were alleged Gambino soldiers John LaForte, Anthony Cinque and John Matera, alongside a cadre of associates.


“Illegal gambling and loan sharking schemes are some of the oldest rackets in the mob’s playbook,” Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement on Wednesday. AP

The accused have been slapped with charges including enterprise corruption, promoting gambling, criminal usury and conspiracy, officials said.

“Illegal gambling and loan sharking schemes are some of the oldest rackets in the mob’s playbook,” Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement on Wednesday.

“While organized crime may still be active in New York, today we are putting several Gambino family members out of business.”

Former NYPD members Frederick Falcone Sr. and Edward LaForte acted as linchpins in the loansharking operation, meticulously logging victims and their exorbitant debts.

Meanwhile, LaForte played a pivotal role in managing the sprawling illegal sports gambling enterprise leveraging an offshore website to facilitate bets.

The operation involved more than 70 bettors with the proceeds allegedly shared among the accused.

Amy McLaughlin — LaForte’s common-law wife, according to SILive.com — has also been accused of assisting in maintaining and organizing the gambling ring by “keeping records of the weekly gambling figures, and collecting and distributing proceeds.”

“These criminal enterprises took tens of millions of dollars from New Yorkers and trapped many in dangerous amounts of debt,” James added.

Using wiretaps, covert surveillance and offshore gambling site warrants authorities collaborated to dismantle the syndicates’ alleged operation.


Staten Island District Attorney Michael E. McMahon
All defendants were arraigned at the Staten Island Courthouse on Tuesday. Staten Island District Attorney Michael E. McMahon pictured. Paul Martinka

Members would meet to discuss the operation at Eltingville Shopping Center and the Greenridge Shopping Center, officials alleged.

The infamous Gambino crime family makes up one of the “Five Families” and is known for their racketeering, gambling and loansharking.

The structure of the American Mafia family has been memorialized in pop culture through the years in movies such as the “Godfather” and TV shows like “The Sopranos.”

What little is known about the hierarchy reveals there is a boss at the top who runs the syndicate, his second-in-command known as an underboss and the consigliere, a counselor or adviser for the family.

Underneath them are the capos, or captains, who run crews of soldiers — the lowest formal members of a Mafia family, who have usually proven themselves and have taken an oath to the organization or “been made.”

The explosive investigation also unearthed a separate mortgage fraud scheme.

It revealed John LaForte and his wife Tracy Alfano recruited their nephew, Joseph LaForte Jr. to apply for and accept a mortgage loan to purchase a $600,000 home in New Jersey. 

John Palladino is accused of acting as a mortgage broker to guide the others through the process of obtaining a mortgage.

All defendants were arraigned at the Staten Island Courthouse on Tuesday, according to SILive.com.

Bail arguments were made over three hours by an “army of defense attorneys,” the publication reported.

Defense attorneys claimed to have been aware of the impending charges for the past year — after authorities executed warrants in May 2023.

The case has been adjourned to Aug. 13.

It comes after 10 alleged mafioso from the Gambino crime family were indicted for alleged violent attempts to take over the Big Apple’s garbage hauling and demolition industry late last year.

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