Just days before America’s biggest betting day, New York authorities have dropped indictments on five defendants – including two former police officers – for operating an illegal online sportsbook that handled over $4m in wagers.
On Wednesday, the five defendants were arraigned in state Supreme Court on Staten Island, where each of them entered not guilty pleas to charges of conspiracy and promoting gambling before being released on their own recognizance. A conference date has been set for March 21.
Quoting from the Richmond County District Attorney’s indictment, SIlive.com reported that the two ex-cops – 68-year-old Ciro Barone and 78-year-old Francisco Muro – were key members of a classic credit betting ring that operated from December 2014 to January 2016.
Also indicted were Barone’s son Paul, Robert Rossi and Robert Glazewski. The latter two were described as “master agents” who managed betting activity from a wire room and set up online accounts for gamblers with password-protected websites.
The two Barones were responsible for recruiting new bettors, collecting debts and paying out winnings. A tapped phone recorded the elder Barone telling an unidentified person that he earned 30% “commission” on bettors’ losing wagers.
The elder Barone has already done a stint in prison, having been convicted in 1994 on charges of enterprise corruption for his role in a scam that tricked businesses into forking over cash for what they were told were advertisements in a Teamsters union newspaper.
Barone Sr’s lawyer said his client had been expecting the indictment after being subjected to a search warrant last summer and that he intended to fight the charges after a review of the evidence disclosed in court.
The bust of the elderly bookies comes following December’s indictment of 13 individuals accused of similar online credit betting activity. The youngest of the 13 was aged 46, while the two oldest were both 76. So you see, President Trump, this is what happens when senior citizens find out you’re planning to take away their health care.