Feds break up alleged illegal lottery

August 20, 2009 11:12:15 AM PDT
Federal investigators say they have broken up a huge lottery-based office pool played by hundreds of civil servants every month. Ten people who allegedly organized and ran the lottery were arrested on federal gambling charges.

Hundreds of employees of the MTA, United States Postal Service and Sanitation Department participated in the monthly pool, prosecutors said.

They paid $20 per month to select six numbers, and received a "lottery book" with all the participants' selections.

The first participant to have all six of the numbers drawn in the New York State Lottery won the monthly pool, which got as high as $100,000.

Federal prosecutors said the lottery ran for at least the past four years.

Among those charged:

  • James Monteleone, 52, a former MTA employee, who currently resides in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
  • Frank Linsalata, 46, currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Alvin Blank, 73, a former USPS employee, currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Juan DeJesus, 48, a USPS employee, currently resides in New York, New York.
  • John Alfonzo, 49, a DSNY employee, currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Ruben Chaves, 22, an MTA employee, currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Michael Farraj, 45, an MTA employee, currently resides in Staten Island, New York.
  • Maurice Palmer, 62, a USPS employee, currently resides in Queens, New York.
  • Romualdo Munoz, 59, a USPS employee, currently resides in Bronx, New York.

    Prosecutors said Monteleone was arrested Thursday morning in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He was presented in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and released on bail.

    The remaining eight defendants were arrested in New York City. They were expected to appear in Manhattan federal court later Thursday.

    The defendants each are charged with one count of conspiracy to conduct a gambling operation, which carries a maximum potential prison term of five years and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.

    The hundreds of civil servants who played are not expected to be charged.


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