Qns.-Based Ring Took Web Wagers
A Staten Island bookmaker has admitted to participating in a highly sophisticated illegal sports gambling enterprise-that stretched westward from Queens to Nevada and as far south as Florida and Costa Rica-and utilized sports betting websites to manage numerous gambling accounts, out of which criminal proceeds were collected and distributed throughout the United States.
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said that Charles Cicalo, 49, of Oakley Place in Staten Island appeared last Tuesday, June 26, before Acting Queens Supreme Court Justice Fernando M. Camacho and pled guilty to first-degree promoting gambling and agreed to forfeit $1,371,000 in unlawful profits and financial gains.
Camacho set sentencing for Sept. 6 and indicated that he would order Cicalo to serve between one to three years in prison.
Cicalo had been named in an enterprise corruption indictment filed in Queens County Supreme Court in April 2010, which charged that he and 25 other individuals were involved in non-traditional computerized wire rooms in Costa Rica and engaged in a criminal enterprise that promoted illegal gambling activities and generated illegal wages.
“With [this] disposition, 24 of the 26 individuals charged as part of ‘Operation Crown Sports One’ have been successfully convicted and more than $2.7 million in illegal proceeds have been forfeited by the defendants,” said Brown. “Illegal sports betting reaps millions of dollars in cash profits that are easily diverted to more insidious criminal enterprises. These are not victimless crimes. In fact, participants often use threats, intimidation and even physical force to collect debts. We will continue to work closely with the NYPD and our other law enforcement colleagues to close down such gambling operations. When it comes to illegal gambling in Queens County, all bets are off.”
According to the charges filed in April 2010, Cicalo worked as a bookmaker and utilized two sports gambling websites, crownsports.com and jazzsports.com. Cicalo also employed a number of “super agents”- who, in turn, had several subordinate agents reporting directly to them who were responsible for soliciting new bettors to the organization, maintaining existing bettor relationships and meeting with bettors to collect gambling losses and payout winnings.
It was additionally charged that one of Cicalo’s super agents lived in Florida and through whom Cicalo directed gambling proceeds from his organization to a money collector for Michael Flynn III, who is charged with serving as both a bookmaker and bank and allegedly often transferred accounts from website to website to accommodate bookmakers and agents who utilized the websites, while charging them a percentage for the transfers.
Brown noted that arrest warrants remain outstanding for Flynn-who is believed to be in Costa Rica-and David Carazo of River Ridge, La., who is alleged to be a money collector
Assistant District Attorney Antara D. Kanth of the District Attorney’s Organized Crime and Rackets Bureau prosecuted the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Gerard A. Brave, bureau chief, and Mark L. Katz, deputy bureau chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Investigations Peter A. Crusco and Deputy Executive Assistant District Attorney for Investigations Linda M. Cantoni.