The Genovese Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra operated an Internet sports betting ring, prosecutors say.
The bookie business may be headed online.
On Tuesday, Joseph Graziano, 78, of Springfield, was sentenced to 18 months in prison in Newark federal court for his part in an illegal, online sports betting operation that was allegedly run by the Genovese Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra.
According to court documents and statements, Graziano was the principal owner of Beteagle.com, a website located in Costa Rica that was used to facilitate illegal online sports betting. Prosecutors have charged that along with another suspected conspirator, Dominick J. Barone, 45, of Springfield, Graziano carried out the daily maintenance of the website for the Genovese Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra.
Prosecutors are alleging that the operation was run by Joseph Lascala, 83, of Monroe, the alleged “capo” and a made member of the Genovese family operating in North Jersey.
As part of the conspiracy, members of Lascala’s crew were allegedly given access to Beteagle as “agents,” the digital equivalent of “bookies,” prosecutors stated.
These agents had the ability to track “sub-agents,” under them and the wagers placed by their bettors. The agent or sub-agent maintained a group of bettors (the “package”) and were responsible for those bettors. To place bets online, the agent or sub-agent issued the bettor a username and password to access Beteagle. This access was not given online and no money or credits were made or transferred through the website.
Associates of the crew paid out winnings or collected losses in person. If a bettor failed to pay his gambling losses, the crew allegedly used their La Cosa Nostra status and threats of violence to collect on the debts.
In addition to the prison term, a federal judge ordered Graziano to serve three years of supervised release and pay a $16,000 fine. As part of his plea agreement, Graziano has forfeited $1 million to the United States.
Barone previously pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme and was sentenced to 18 months in prison on June 16.
Charges against Lascala are still pending.