NY Sportsbetting bust

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ANOTHER MAJOR SPORTS BETTING RING DISMANTLED IN N.Y.

$2 million ring used Internet sites offshore to place bets

New York law enforcement authorities mounted another major sportsbetting raid this week, deploying over 200 police officers in an operation that dismantled a $2 million organisation. Local police departments from New Rochelle, Mount Pleasant, Pleasantville, White Plains, Yonkers and Yorktown provided assistance in the raids on 30 different locations, in which 18 operators and bookies were arrested.

Associated Press reports that the bets - on professional and college sports, with limits as high as $100 000 - had been funneled by computer to a "wire room" in Costa Rica, Westchester District Attorney Janet DiFiore told the news service.

"You name it, they were betting on it," said Steven Vandervelden, head of DiFiore's criminal enterprise division. There was some online casino betting as well as the sports wagers, he said.

The district attorney held a news conference behind a display of guns, steroid-filled syringes, marijuana, computers, printers, and nearly $1 million in cash, all confiscated from the suspects during the weekend arrests, which were enabled by 44 search warrants at 30 locations. Thirty eavesdropping devices helped in obtaining the search warrants. Also seized were 15 vehicles and 2 illegal handguns along with computers, cell phones and other evidence.

Claiming that the ring was "very extensive," DiFiore said that the arrests were made in Manhattan, the Bronx and Westchester, along with Essex and Somerset counties in New Jersey.

Bettors, once they were established with bookies, could place their wages in any of three ways: online, at one of the 60 affiliated Internet sites, using a username and password; calling the central business office in Costa Rica; or calling a bookie, or "sheetholder," Vandervelden said.

Among those arrested was Adam Green (34) of Manhattan, identified as the creator of the enterprise and many of its Internet sites and domain names. Vandervelden said Green was "at the top of the food chain." The operation worked through approximately 60 related offshore websites.

Also arrested was Anthony Giovaniello (37) of Hawthorne, N.Y., who allegedly led the Westchester operation and made sure the bookies collected. Both were charged with enterprise corruption, which carries a maximum sentence of eight-to-25 years in prison. They were to be arraigned later Monday in Harrison.

Sixteen others also were charged, all but two with enterprise corruption; one was accused of promoting gambling and one was charged with weapon possession. Vandervelden said one suspect was a stockbroker.

Officials revealed that the investigation began in October 2005 with information obtained by the police in Harrison, of Westchester County, said Harrison police chief David Hall. He said more arrests were possible.

Westchester DA's office issued a press release which described how part of the operation used the Internet, explaining: "These Internet gambling website companies have numerous bookmakers utilizing their services and apparently charge the bookmakers, among other things, a price per head (PPH) for each active bettor a bookmaker has betting with that enterprise."
 
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