NYPD Busts a Major Illegal Gambling Ring

A 17-person illegal sports betting ring running out of Staten Island was busted by the NYPD involving members of the Gambino family and nearly $23 million in illegal gambling handle.
June 14, 2024

17 individuals were arrested and indicted for the part they played in a mob-related illegal sports betting operation that handled nearly $23 million over a period of approximately six months.

Run out of Staten Island, the ring was under direct control of the infamous Gambino family, one of New York’s “Five Families,” depicted in numerous mafia movies.

This was not a movie script however, as the 84-count indictments alleges that the 17 individuals accepted illegal bets and handled proceeds of these bets over extended time, while also being involved in other related criminal activities.

An offshore gambling platform Ubet1288.com was used to place the bets, while Gambino family members Anthony J. Cinque, John L. LaForte, and John Matera, along with a number of associates, took care of collecting the bets and paying out the winnings.

New York Attorney General Letitia James commented on the case: “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.”

The gambling ring was discovered even after New York has legalized online sports betting and the process of New York online poker and casino operators becoming a reality is well underway.

Huge Illegal Gambling Operation Handles Millions

Edward LaForte, a known Gambino family associate, was arrested and indicted as the supposed manager of the illegal gambling operation, which collected $22.7 million in handle over the period between September 2022 and March 2023.

The ring allegedly collected most of this money from no more than 70 individuals who would place high-stakes bets, often without having the money to cover the losses.

Another Gambino family associate Amy McLaughlin was in charge of handling the money, both collecting the losses and paying out the wins in the name of the family.

John LaForte, a foot soldier for the family was in charge of overseeing the business, as is traditional in mafia-run businesses.

The real crime, of course, came from allowing their “players” to go over their head and get into debt by placing bets they could not cover.

The members of the ring would then give out usurious loans with extremely high interest rates and force debtors to pay off their loans and the interest over a period of time.

Among the 84 charges in the indictment, some of the most severe ones include Enterprise Corruption, Criminal Usury, and Promoting Gambling in the First Degree.

According to Brian O’Dwyer, the NY State Gaming Commission: 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.”

Gamble with Regulated NY Sports Operators

The crime syndicates have been involved with illegal gambling in New York for decades, with the absence of legal gambling options often giving air to such illicit gambling rings.

More recently, the state of New York has legalized both retail and online sports betting, giving little reason for players to bet with illegal bookmakers.

Yet, illegal bookies still exist, and players looking to gamble with money they don’t have often look to such bookies to fuel their gambling habits.

Instead of looking to make bets with illegal bookmakers, we highly recommend betting with legal online sportsbooks regulated by the state or looking for help with gambling problems, which can now be found with a number of organizations in New York and across the country.

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