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FBI, NYPD search 2 Orange County farms as part of mafia investigation

FBI, NYPD search 2 Orange County farms as part of mafia investigation


A former shoemaker pleaded guilty Tuesday to allegations that he ran an illegal gambling operation for the Mafia out of his shop in Brooklyn. Prosecutors said Salvatore Rubino was among five defendants who pleaded guilty, including one who allegedly threatened to kill a delinquent debtor.

Rubino, also known as “Sal the Shoemaker,” admitted in court to running card games and operating illegal gambling machines inside his former shoe repair business and to kicking profits to the Genovese crime family. He pleaded guilty to federal gambling charges.

Four co-defendants pleaded guilty earlier this month to charges including racketeering, attempted extortion and illegal gambling stemming from long-running Mafia gambling operations in New York, prosecutors said.

Those defendants were identified as Carmelo “Carmine” Polito, Joseph Macario, also known as “Joe Fish,” Joseph Rutigliano, also known as “Joe Box,” and Mark Feuer.

Prosecutors allege that  Polito, a former captain in the Genovese crime family, also operated an illegal sports betting website called “PGWLines” and allegedly tried to extort an individual who lost thousands of dollars in bets. Prosecutors say Polito threatened to “break” the debtor’s face and then later instructed another individual to relay a new message to the debtor: “Tell him I’m going to put him under the f——g bridge.”

The five defendants were indicted in August 2022 as part of a larger federal investigation.

Sal’s Shoe Repair closed in 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, prosecutors said.

“As long as the Mafia doesn’t get it that illegal gambling is a losing proposition, they can bet on this office and our partners vigorously enforcing the law and flushing them out of the shadows, as in this case, where they operated secretly in a coffee bar and a shoe repair shop,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement.

While the heyday of organized crime is long past in New York – and many types of gambling that were once the exclusive domain of the Mafia are now legal in the state – Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly said at the time that the indictments were proof that “organized crime is alive and well in our communities.”

Last August, two Genovese family captains, two Genovese family soldiers and two Genovese family associates were sentenced to prison following guilty pleas to racketeering conspiracy. 

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