EIGHT ARRESTED IN LUCRATIVE ORGANIZED CRIME, GAMBLING AND LOAN SHARKING OPERATION

DA’S PRESS RELEASE

Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe on Thursday announced the arrests of eight individuals on charges of operating a large-scale gambling and loan sharking enterprise in Rockland and Westchester counties, New York City, Long Island, Pennsylvania and Florida. The arrests culminate a ten-month undercover investigation into illegal loan sharking activity, as well as an illegal gambling operation which had associations to organized crime in Rockland County.

“Illegal gambling has always been the fuel that drives organized crime because of the huge profits it generates, which are often used to fund other forms of criminal activity, including drug trafficking and prostitution,” said District Attorney Zugibe. “Illegal gambling is not a victimless crime.”

Through the investigation, dubbed “Operation Rock Bottom,” it was learned that several of the defendants engaged in an illegal loan sharking operation, providing high interest or usurious loans to individuals who were unable to secure funds through normal means. These subjects were then pressured to make weekly or bi-weekly payments back at high interest and often never able to satisfy or pay off these loans.

Said District Attorney Zugibe, “Today’s arrests close down a highly lucrative gambling operation that benefitted organized crime and send a loud and clear message that law enforcement will keep up the pressure.”

The illegal gambling operation was conducted through an online “offshore” gambling website where the players or bettors were assigned a “username” and password in order to access the website and place wagers on sporting events such as football, basketball, etc. The named individuals would monitor the website’s activity and then collect or pay out to the players or bettors any monies owed on a weekly basis.

The money collected through the illegal gambling and loan sharking activity is typically paid upward and is connected to and assists funding organized crime activity.

On April 1, 2015, over a dozen search warrants were executed in Rockland County, Bergen County, New Jersey, Matamoras, Pennsylvania, Franklin Square, New York, Ft. Lauderdale and Orange County Florida. Investigators seized evidence of illegal gambling records, computers and large sums of cash in excess of seven hundred fifty thousand dollars ($750,000.00).

The following individuals surrendered and were charged with the following offenses in connection with this investigation:

 

Ronald Ayes, age 71, of 26 College, South Nyack, New York: charged with Promoting Gambling in the First Degree (a class “E” felony), Possession of Gambling Records in the First Degree (a class “E” felony), Money Laundering in the Fourth Degree (a class “E” felony) and Criminal Usury in the Second Degree (a class “E” felony);

Nicholas Farese, age 51, of 8 Clearwater Court, Nanuet, New York: charged with Promoting Gambling in the First Degree (a class “E” felony), Possession Gambling Records in the First Degree (a class “E” felony) and Money Laundering in the Fourth Degree (a class “E” felony);

Richard Herman, age 75, of 20 Waterside Place, Apt. 36-K, New York, New York: charged with Promoting Gambling in the First Degree (a class “E” felony), Possession Gambling Records in the First Degree (a class “E” felony) and Money Laundering in the Fourth Degree (a class “E” felony);

Anthony Moschella, age 75, of 5 Church Lane, Valley Cottage, New York: charged with Promoting Gambling in the First Degree (a class “E” felony), Possession Gambling Records in the First Degree (a class “E” felony) and Money Laundering in the Fourth Degree (a class “E” felony);

Mark Moschella, age 52, of New Jersey: charged with Money Laundering in the Fourth Degree (a class “E” felony) and Promoting Gambling in the Second Degree (a class “A” misdemeanor);

Peter Reda age 57, of 238 Madison St, Franklin Square, New York: charged with Promoting Gambling in the First Degree (a class “E” felony), Possession Gambling Records in the First Degree (a class “E” felony) and Money Laundering in the Fourth Degree (a class “E” felony);

Vincenzo Reda, age 34, of 1013 Maple Ave, Franklin Square, New York: charged with Promoting Gambling in the First Degree (a class “E” felony), Possession Gambling Records in the First Degree (a class “E” felony) and Money Laundering in the Fourth Degree (a class “E” felony);

John Reyes, age 72, of 37 South Monsey Road, Monsey, New York: charged with Promoting Gambling in the First Degree (a class “E” felony), Possession of Gambling

 

 

Records in the First Degree (a class “E” felony), Money Laundering in the Fourth Degree (a class “E” felony) and Criminal Usury in the Second Degree (a class “E” felony).

 

 

The eight defendants were arraigned in the Town of Clarkstown Justice Court before the Honorable Judge Scott Ugell. All were released on their own recognizance pending a future court appearance.

District Attorney Zugibe acknowledges several Law Enforcement Agencies who assisted and participated with this investigation, including, the New York State Police Special Investigative Unit, the Town of Clarkstown Police Department, the Town of Ramapo Police Department, the Federal

 

Bureau of Investigation, the New York City Police Asset Forfeiture Unit, the Village of South Nyack Grandview Police Department, the Bergen County Prosecutors Office, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Orange County Florida Sheriff’s Office and the Broward County Florida Sheriff’s Office.

“Operation Rock Bottom” is ongoing and additional arrests are anticipated.

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