NYPD, FDNY members arrested in illegal gambling bust

June 2, 2011 2:10:10 PM PDT
A sweep of suspected illegal gambling operations across the city netted 15 arrests.

The FBI's Public Corruption Unit made the busts, which included current and former members of the NYPD and the FDNY.

Among those arrested, NYPD Detective Richard Palase, Retired NYPD Sergeant Ralph Mastrantonio, FDNY Firefighter Michael Berge, FDNY Firefighter Gerald Parsons and Retired FDNY Firefighter James Bergen.

They were arrested for providing security while off duty at illegal gambling locations on Staten Island, authorities said.

Federal prosecutors say the charges pertain to four gambling parlors, all on Staten Island, that hosted illegal card games, including poker. Those indicted are charged for their various roles in the operation: Collecting the winnings, distributing the chips, dealing the cards, providing the security and maintaining the premises.

Prosecutors listed the locations as a gym on Arthur Kill Road, a storefront on Victory Boulevard marked "Triple Crown," and a tavern on Hylan Boulevard where a sign reads, Smile, you're on camera."

Investigators say most of the parlors had been in operation for roughly six months. One parlor, at 2228 Victory Boulevard in Westerleigh, had been in operation for more than a year. Each location allegedly raked-in more than two thousand dollars a day in profits.

Sources tell Eyewitness News that federal agents seized surveillance video from the locations to aid in the investigation.

All of suspects were taken into custody this morning.