Thirteen alleged members of the Genovese crime family have been charged with federal racketeering in a case connected to Internet gambling. The individuals were rounded up on Wednesday (May 23, 2012), including an 80-year-old man.
Authorities allege that the multi-billion dollar sports betting business was run through an Internet website and office based out of the Web gambling hub of San Jose, Costa Rica. $2.2 billion in bets were taken over the past 16 months, according to the complaint. Payouts and collections are said to have been made on New Jersey soil via agents.
New Jersey is ironically one of the states at the forefront of pushing to legalize online gambling, including bets on sports.
“The use of Internet gambling and off shore locales demonstrates an evolution and increased sophistication” in what had traditionally been a staple of the mob’s underworld economy, said Michael Ward, the FBI agent in charge of the bureau’s Newark office.
Those arrested include Joseph “Pepe” Lascala, the reputed capo of a Genovese crew out of Hudson County. Lascala, 80, of Monroe, N.J., and Pat “Uncle Patsy” Pirozzi, 72, of Suffern, N.Y., were the lead targets named in the 61-page criminal complaint.
The investigation was dubbed “Operation Heat”.
- Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com