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Financial Crimes
04/08/2010

ICE El Dorado Task Force dismantles sophisticated internet gambling operation

NEW YORK - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, New York and New Jersey assisted the New York Police Department in dismantling a multi-state Internet gambling operation.

ICE agents with the El Dorado Task Force Asset Identification and Removal Group in New York arrested nine suspects and seized 11 bank accounts and cash totaling more than $400,000. The people arrested allegedly used the bank accounts to move and store gambling proceeds. They face state charges of enterprise corruption, promoting gambling and money laundering.

ICE agents and officers arrested a total of 38 people in Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, New York, New Jersey and Nevada on charges of operating two highly sophisticated illegal sport gambling enterprises stretching from Queens, N.Y. to Costa Rica.

"The seizures made by ICE today destroy the backbone of this criminal organization, said James T. Hayes, Jr., special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in New York. "We remain committed to working with law enforcement at every level to ensure there is no reward, or profit, for those individuals and organizations who seek to engage in systematic criminal activity as a business model."

"The defendants are accused of being involved in two distinct nationwide gambling rings that booked nearly $178 million in wagers over a 32-month period on professional and college basketball and football, professional baseball and hockey and other sporting events," said Richard A. Brown, Queens County district attorney. "In carrying out their alleged gambling operations, the defendants used sports betting websites - which are literally computerized betting sheets accessible both online and via an "800" toll-free telephone number - thereby allowing them to manage numerous gambling accounts, out of which criminal proceeds were collected and distributed throughout the United States."

"Illegal gambling and money laundering are not victimless crimes. The proceeds from illegal sports betting are used to fuel organized crime and support harmful criminal enterprises," said Raymond W. Kelly, police commissioner City of New York. "Because of today's arrests the very same illegal gambling outfit that had spread its reach from Queens to Nevada will now be confined to a significantly smaller space."
The two enterprise corruption indictments filed in Queens County Supreme Court charge that the gambling rings promoted illegal sports betting in Queens County and elsewhere and that the defendants were involved in non-traditional computerized wire rooms in Costa Rica.

Eighteen of the defendants are also being sued civilly and have been named as respondents in a $178 million civil forfeiture action filed in Queens Supreme Court by the District Attorney's Special Proceedings Bureau, which alleges that they engaged in criminal enterprises that promoted illegal gambling activities and generated illegal wages.

The enterprises allegedly handled thousands of wagers each month that generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in monthly gross revenue or approximately $178 million between July 2007 and March 2010.

It is alleged to have relied on modern technology to generate its criminal proceeds, including toll-free telephone numbers and five known gambling Web sites - www.crownsports.com; www.jazzsports.com;www.5dimes.com; www.bigonsports.com; and www.betcris.com - which, in effect, served as computerized wire rooms through which the enterprises conducted much of its illegal gambling activity.

CROWN SPORTS I
DEFENDANTS AND THEIR ALLEGED ROLES (26)
* named as respondent in civil forfeiture action

BOOKMAKER/BANK (1)
Michael Flynn III (a.k.a. Mickey Richardson), 39, is believed to be in Costa Rica.

BOOKMAKERS (2)
Robert J. Baselice, 38, Staten Island, N.Y *
Charles L. Cicalo, 49, Staten Island *

MONEY COLLECTORS/DISTRIBUTORS (9)
Mitchell Baevitz, 54, Boynton Beach, Fla.
David E. Carazo, 41, River Ridge, La.
Guillermo R. Carnales, 59, Key Biscayne, Fla.
Nicholas R. Coon, 41, Highland Beach, Fla.
Joseph Fredette, 44, Hackensack, N.J.
Marcel J. Grasso, 62, Boynton Beach
Michael F. Guarino, 45, Hackensack
Lance J. Matias, 40, Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Gina C. Zelinka, 54, Lauderhill, Fla.

SUPER AGENTS (9)
Joseph F. Calabrese, 42, Staten Island *
Nicholas L. Calabrese, 72, Staten Island *
Drew Casen, 59, Las Vegas, Nev.
Carmine F. Malara, 60, Staten Island *
Frank J. Malara, 31, Staten Island *
Josef Monro, 62, Beverly Hills, Mich.
Frank G. Rupolo, 48, Parkland, Fla.
Harry H. Tudor, 48, Miami
Anthony Vollaro, 72, Indian Shores, Fla. *

AGENTS (5)
Matthew C. Fopeano, 38, Monroe Township, N.J. Fopeano is a FDNY employee.
Emil Ganzerla, 55, Woodside, N.Y. *
Tito Grenga, 70, Cranford, N.J.
Michael A. Labetti, 46, Howell, N.J. Labetti is a DOT employee
Wayne M. Murray, 62, Terrace in Miami

CROWN SPORTS II
DEFENDANTS AND THEIR ALLEGED ROLES (12)
* named as respondent in civil forfeiture action

BOOKMAKERS (2)
Lewis M. Ackrish, 66, Staten Island *
Robert E. Ackrish, 31, Staten Island*

MONEY COLLECTORS/DISTRIBUTORS (2)
Ralph E. Bauer, 63, Miller Place, N.Y. *
George W. Beglin, Jr., 61, Glen Cove, N.Y. *

SUPER AGENTS (3)
John D. Campbell, 59, Floral Park, N.Y. *
Walter G. Ghirlando, 68, Las Vegas
Frank J. Sapienza, 56, Staten Island *

AGENTS (5)
Frank Campanello, Jr., 72, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Wen Han Chen, 36, Brooklyn, N.Y. *
Robert J. McAllister, 47, Brooklyn *
Vincent A. Messina, 47, Staten Island *
Francis M. Stanford, 31, Staten Island *

Assistant District Attorney Nicole D. Sharples, of the District Attorney's Organized Crime and Rackets Bureau, is prosecuting the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Gerard A. Brave, Bureau Chief, and Mark L. Katz, Deputy Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Investigations Peter A. Crusco and Deputy Executive Assistant District Attorney for Investigations Linda M. Cantoni.