June 6, 2024 3 min read

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Fact-checked by Velimir Velichkov

New York: 17 Individuals Face Charges in Illegal Gambling Sting

The suspects, some of whom are allegedly related to the infamous Gambino crime family, benefitted from usurious loans

More than a dozen individuals, suspected of being involved in a massive illegal gambling and loan shark operation on State Island, New York, were charged Wednesday. Announcement about the charges came from the New York State Attorney General Letitia James, who uncovered that a total of 17 individuals suspected of the unlawful activities faced a range of charges.

Besides running illegal gambling and loan shark operations, the individuals are suspected of being closely related to the Gambino organized crime family. Charges face a number of alleged Gambino associates and soldiers.

The infamous Gambino family is recognized as one of New York’s “Five Families,” that are often connected to unlawful activities. The list includes the Lucchese, the Genovese, the Bonanno and the Colombo families, all recognized as Mafia crime families that operate across New York.

Charges against the 17 individuals include multiple crimes, such as Criminal Usury in the First and Second Degree, Enterprise Corruption and Promotion of Gambling in the First Degree, the 84-page indictment reveals. Some of the charges carry a significant penalty such as Enterprise Corruption which is recognized as a Class B felony, subject to imprisonment of up to 25 years.

Several Gambino Family Members Out of Business

New York’s Attorney General revealed that loan sharking and illegal gambling are recognized as some of the oldest methods used by the mafia for racketeering. “While organized crime may still be active in New York, today we are putting several Gambino family members out of business,” she added.

According to James, the unlawful activities conducted by the suspects resulted in the loss of tens of millions of dollars for New Yorkers. Moreover, she warned that the criminal group “trapped many in dangerous amounts of debt.” The Attorney General did not miss to thank everyone involved in the comprehensive process that resulted in the charges filed against the 17 individuals, suspected of being involved in the criminal activities.

Illegal gambling and loan sharking schemes are some of the oldest rackets in the mob’s playbook.

New York Attorney General Letitia James

The recently filed charges come after a multi-agency investigation. This extensive probe was conducted by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) in collaboration with the US Department of Labor Office of Inspector General and the New York Waterfront Commission. Throughout the investigation, law enforcement leveraged a range of specialized equipment in order to gather evidence, including covert video surveillance, bugs and wiretaps.

The Group Provided Usurious Loans, Preyed on Gamblers in Debt

The criminal group is suspected of operating an offshore illegal online gambling website. Operating between September 2022 and March 2023, the website saw more than 70 bettors place wagers that were estimated at $22.8 million. The criminal organization kept records of the activities of each gambler.

Besides the illegal gambling activities, the group was also involved in usurious loans. Gamblers who wagered via the illegal operation would often get into debt. This is when the alleged Gambino soldiers and associates would offer usurious loans.

It is not unexpected that those loans came with an illegally high-interest rate, which enabled the criminal group to profit heavily from the gamblers. The charges claim that the usurious loans brought $500,000 in illegal proceeds per week for the criminal organization.

Journalist

Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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