Joanna Mastronardo, the daughter of former Philadelphia mayor Frank Rizzo, has been charged with running an illegal gambling business, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
In addition to the 62-year old daughter of the late Philly mayor, others named in the indictment include Joseph “Joe Vito” Mastronardo, Mastronardo’s husband and son-in-law of Rizzo, his brother, John, and the couple’s son, Joseph F. “Joey” Mastronardo.
In total, the indictment, which was unsealed in Philadelphia, named 16 people involved in the bookmaking organization that took in sports betting action amounting in the millions of dollars from 2005 to 2011 and reached New Jersey and as far south as Florida and Costa Rica.
The indictment charges also pointed to the gambling ring’s use of the Internet, Skype, text messaging and telephones to communicate with thousands of customers who bet millions of dollars. In addition, two websites, ww.betroma.com and www.betrose.com, were also pinpointed as being run by the ring, which had an an office in Costa Rica where bets were being processed. The indictment also listed wire transfers gambling profits to a number of banks in other countries, including Malta, Portugal, Sweden, and Antigua.
The organization, which was led by Joe Vito and John Mastronardo, was also charged with stashing away more than $1 million in cash and burying them in the yard of Mastronardo’s home in Philadelphia, laundering the gambling proceeds through check cashing agencies and private bank accounts, and offering instructions to losing bettors to pay debts through charitable donations, according to a Department of Justice news release said.
The arrests come two year after charges were initially filed in 2010. Back then, Montgomery County investigators found millions in cash buried in the yard of the Mastronardo couple’s mansion before turning it over to the Feds given the interstate nature of the alleged crimes.
“This alleged racketeering operation was anchored in Montgomery County, but had tentacles spreading across the U.S. and beyond,” Risa Ferman, district attorney in suburban Montgomery County, said, according to UPI.com.
The 16 indicted individuals were arrested and eventually released on bail. “Joe Vito” Mastrornado’s bail was set at $250,000. His brother, John, was also released on bail set at $100,000 while the rest, including Joanna Mastronardo, were set at $50,000.