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In Staten Island, New York, 17 people were arrested by the NYPD last Wednesday. They were involved in a $23 million illegal sports betting ring linked to the Gambino Crime Family. An indictment stated that this unlawful operation had roughly 70 people entangled in massive amounts of debt. These mobsters ran a high-interest predatory loan-sharking scheme that made $500,000 in weekly payments. 

Altogether, the illegal operation had a betting handle of $22,753,964 from September 2022 to March 2023. They were using an illegal Costa Rican-based website, ubet1288.com. During the arrest, several Gambino associates were taken into custody. They include John J. LaForte, Anthony J. Cinque Jr., and John Matera. Mr. Matera is a convicted racketeer.

Who was involved in this massive offshore sports betting market run by the mob?

An 84-count indictment noted that alleged Gambino associate Edward LaFonte was supervising offshore betting activities. That included overseeing bets and collections, and managing “sheet holders” who handled individual bettors. Additionally. Amy McLaughlin assisted in the maintenance and organization of the illegal gambling record. She kept records and managed the distribution of proceeds. John LaFonte and Anthony Cinque Jr. helped fund part of the illegal gambling activities. They would assist in helping to pay winning bettors. 

Retired NYPD officer Frank P. Falcone Sr. was working as a loan shark for this offshore market. The arrests of all the people mentioned above were part of a broader investigation. It involves the New York Attorney General’s Office, NYPD, New York Waterfront Commission, and the United States Department of Labor Office of Inspector General. New York Attorney General Letitia James has this to say.

Illegal gambling and loansharking schemes are some of the oldest rackets in the mob’s playbook,” said Letitia. “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.”

Transcripts were able to detail what happened at the illegal sports betting ring

Those involved in the case could face up to 25 years in prison. They face multiple charges including enterprise corruption, criminal usury in the first and second degree, and promoting gambling in the first degree, In the indictment, they detailed that these mobsters were using code to discuss gambling and debts. The defendants are scheduled to appear in a state court on August 13.