One Bensonhurst man, and five other men – two from Staten Island and three from Queens — have been charged in a 37-count indictment for allegedly running an illegal Internet gambling operation, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson announced on Thursday, May 26.
Along with the charges, which include enterprise corruption, first and second-degree promoting gambling, fourth-degree money laundering and fifth-degree conspiracy, Thompson revealed that the six took in over $13 million in wagers on both professional and collegiate sporting events, and wired payments to an off-shore location.
“These defendants are charged with running a lucrative gambling ring that took in millions of dollars in bets and stretched all the way to Costa Rica,” said Thompson. “We’ve now shut down this illegal enterprise that was controlled by organized crime and will fully prosecute those who have been indicted.”
Arraigned on Thursday in front of Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun, Gaetano “Tommy” Zuccarello, 67, of Bensonhurst, Eugene “Boopsie” Castelle, 56, of Staten Island; Anthony Grecco, 62, of Howard Beach, Queens; Theodore “Teddy” Vasilakis, 40, of Queens; Ioannis “John” Dinos, 67, of Queens; and Vincent Mormile, 54, of Staten Island, are being held on bonds ranging from $25,000 to $250,000 and face up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the top count with which they are charged.
Fifty-six-year-old Castelle was allegedly identified as a “reputed soldier” in the Luchhese crime family, according to the DA’s office, and the leader of the enterprise run through a website called www.stakestake.com. It is alleged that Castelle received payments for his “authority and for protection from rival criminal enterprises” and that Grecco handled the day-to-day management of the operation.
Thompson also revealed that Grecco is being charged in a “separate indictment with three counts of first-degree criminal usury for running a loansharking operation.” If convicted, he could face up to 15 years in prison for each of those counts.
Zuccarello, Vasilakis, Dinos and Mormile allegedly acted as agents or “sheetholders” in the operation, each maintaining a “sheet” of bettors and contacted Grecco regarding matters, like opening and closing accounts, changing betting limits and extending credit to bettors.