Written On 4/8/11 By Frank Polliern :
Illegal sports betting operation allegedly brought in over $ 8 million in two and a half years
Four men have been arraigned before the Queens County Supreme Court on indictment charges which include various degrees of promoting gambling, committing criminal usury and grand larceny by extortion.
The men; Michael Palmaccio (39), Cono Natale (46), Ronald Salerno (33) all of Queens and Gerry Gullotti (45) of Long Island allegedly ran a sports gambling operation in both Queens County and via offshore accounts that brought in over $8 million in two and a half years.
The Queens County District Attorney's Organized Crime and Rackets Bureau have been running an investigation since October 2008 when it received information on the betting ring. The investigation included physical surveillance, intelligence information and court authorised electronic eavesdropping.
It was revealed that the group of men accepted bets on sporting events placed through the gambling website arrowaction.net while also running a loan sharking operation that charged interest charges higher than allowed by law in violation of New York's criminal usury statute. Intimidatory tactics and threats of physical harm were allegedly used to make borrowers pay back monies owed.
Queens County District Attorney, Richard A. Brown said: “Illegal gambling is not a victimless crime. Those who participate in these criminal operations often use threats, intimidation and even physical force to collect debts and often times charge usurious interest rates on outstanding debts. Today’s indictments will send a clear signal that when it comes to illegal gambling in Queens County, all bets are off.”
Bail was set at $35 000 for Palmaccio and Gullotti and $2 500 for Natale and Salerno and the case will resume in court on 4 May 2011.