19 charged in mob gambling bust

October 1, 2009 11:50:10 AM PDT
Officials on Thursday announced the indictment of 19 people on charges relating to an illegal gambling, sports betting and loan sharking enterprise controlled by the Luchese Organized Crime Family. The morning raids capped a two-year investigation dubbed "Operation Crooked House," which allegedly uncovered that members of the Luchese enterprise bribed undercover members of the NYPD for protection of their illegal card clubs.

In total, 19 individuals were indicted on federal felony charges. Twelve of them were charged in the federal indictment with participating in a racketeering conspiracy as members, associates, or co-conspirators of the Luchese Organized Crime Family. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Seven other defendants were charged federally with other crimes relating to the illegal gambling, loan sharking and bribery activities.

"These defendants not only allegedly operated a highly-organized criminal enterprise, but actually attempted to infiltrate and corrupt the NYPD to protect themselves and their profits," Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said. "This multi-agency investigation revealed a complex web of illegal gambling, sports betting and loan sharking, whose mob-connected principals are charged with bribing and cheating their way into business. My office will continue to work with our fellow law enforcement officials to uncover this kind of corruption and conspiracy, and hold the alleged perpetrators accountable."

According to the indictment, twelve of the nineteen defendants are charged as members, associates and co-conspirators of the Luchese Organized Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra. All of these defendants are charged with conspiring to conduct and participate in the racketeering activities of the Luchese Organized Crime Family. Eighteen of the defendants are also charged with operating various illegal gambling and sports bookmaking businesses. Additionally, four of the defendants are charged with conspiring to operate a loansharking business and conspiring to use extortionate means to collect loans from victims.

The indictment also charges that from approximately 2006 through August 2007, nine of the suspects participated in a scheme to bribe a sergeant and a detective with the NYPD to protect various illegal gambling parlors in the New York City metropolitan area. The sergeant and detective who accepted the bribes, however, were actually acting undercover as corrupt police officers.

Authorities say income for the Luchese Organized Crime Family was generated, in part, through the operation of illegal gambling parlors, sports bookmaking, and loan sharking. Its members and associates used various techniques to avoid or obstruct law enforcement scrutiny, including the use of coded language to make arrangements for meetings and to refer to other members and associates of the enterprise, meeting in locations with loud background noise, and not specifying the names of those about whom they were speaking.

The following individuals were named in the indictmentL

  • Andrew DiSimone, 46, of Tuckahoe, NY
  • Dominick "Nicky Pepsi" Capelli, 52, of Bronx, NY
  • Tomislav Dobrilovic, 31, of West Nyack, NY
  • "Baby" John Alevis, 57, of Rockville Center, NY
  • Peter Veltri, 47, of New Rochelle, NY
  • Seth Trustman, 28, of New York, NY
  • Steven Mayer, 48, of New York, NY
  • Clemente Castracucco, 48, of Tuckahoe, NY
  • Edgar Concepcion, 31, of Queens, NY
  • Paul Cuzzo, 54, of Thornwood, NY
  • Anthony Cuzzo, 40, of Yonkers, NY
  • Ernest Cuzzo, 68, of Yonkers, NY
  • Vincent LaFace, 31, of Pittston, PA
  • Thomas Mantey, 61, of City Island, NY
  • Paul Aust, 37, of Queens, NY
  • Philip Mercurio, 48, of New Rochelle, NY
  • Michael Silverman, 31, of New York, NY
  • Anthony Garcia, 39, of Queens, NY
  • Osama Ghoubrial, 46, of Queens, NY

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