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NY Authorities Dismantle $22m Illegal Gambling Operation

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The New York authorities took down a major illegal gambling and loansharking operation run by the Gambino crime family, arresting 17 people. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Major enterprises

The New York authorities have taken down a Mafia-run illegal gambling and loan sharking ring. Officers arrested 17 people as part of the investigation into the Gambino crime family-run operation on Staten Island and in New Jersey.

handled $22.7m in sports bets and issued about $500,000 in loans

The indictment outlines the details of the enterprise that handled $22.7m in sports bets and issued about $500,000 in loans to people between June 2021 and July 2023. The loans had hefty interest rates attached and were often given to gamblers to cover their debts.

Some of the charges that the suspects are facing include the promotion of gambling, enterprise corruption, and criminal usury. Many of them were reportedly aware of the impending arrests as the authorities carried out search warrants in May 2023.

The nitty gritty

Gambino soldiers Anthony Cinque, John Matera, and John LaForte allegedly oversaw the illegal enterprises and often provided financing when necessary. Their bonds were set at $500,000 apiece and they left custody after posting their residences as collateral. A hearing will take place on August 13.

Edward LaForte and retired NYPD police officer Frederick Falcone Sr. were allegedly the key figures behind the loansharking, keeping track of the borrowers and their escalating debts.

covert surveillance, wiretaps, and warrants for an offshore gambling site

The authorities managed to take down the illegal operations through covert surveillance, wiretaps, and warrants for an offshore gambling site named ubet1288t that Edward LaForte was running.

The illegal bookmaking operation had over 70 clients and one of the mobsters’ wives allegedly kept track of the results, overseeing the distribution of profits to bettors or the collection of debts.

Welcoming the crackdown

Talking about the culmination of the investigation, New York Attorney General Letitia James said on Wednesday that these schemes are among “the oldest rackets in the mob’s playbook.”

The probe involved the NYPD, the US Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, and the New York Waterfront Commission.

District Attorney for Richmond County Michael McMahon welcomed the news of the arrests and commended the efforts of all the agencies involved. He spoke about how illegal gambling isn’t a victimless crime and that the actions of the suspects sunk “countless New Yorkers into crippling debt.”

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