FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 26, 2016
Six Defendants Indicted for Running
Internet-Based Sports Gambling Operation
Allegedly Controlled by Organized Crime Member;
Accepted $13.2 Million in Wagers over Six Months
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that six men from Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island have been variously charged in a 37-count indictment for running an illegal Internet gambling operation that took over $13 million in wagers on various professional and collegiate sporting events and wired payments to an off-shore location.
District Attorney Thompson said, “These defendants are charged with running a lucrative gambling ring that took in millions of dollars in bets and stretched all the way to Costa Rica. We’ve now shut down this illegal enterprise that was controlled by organized crime and will fully prosecute those who have been indicted.”
The District Attorney identified the defendants as Eugene (“Boopsie”) Castelle, 56, of 66 Topside Lane in Charleston, Staten Island; Anthony Grecco, 62, of 157-43 97th Street in Howard Beach, Queens; Gaetano (“Tommy”) Zuccarello, 67, of 2405 82nd Street in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn; Theodore (“Teddy”) Vasilakis, 40, of 63-74 Austin Street in Rego Park, Queens; Ioannis (“John”) Dinos, 67, of 24-29 26th Street in Astoria, Queens; and Vincent Mormile, 54, of 990 Lamont Avenue in Rossville, Staten Island.
They were arraigned today in front of Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on a 37-count indictment in which they are variously charged with enterprise corruption, first- and second-degree promoting gambling, fourth-degree money laundering and fifth-degree conspiracy. The defendants were ordered held on bonds ranging from $25,000 to $250,000. They face up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the top count with which they are charged. Grecco is additionally charged in a separate indictment with three counts of first-degree criminal usury for running a loansharking operation. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison for each of those counts.
The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, between September 1, 2015 and March 15, 2016, the defendants used the website www.stakestake.com to accept bets on professional and collegiate sporting events, including football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer and horse racing. Access to the website was obtained by a user name and password that were unique to each user and wagers were placed directly on the website or by calling toll free numbers associated with it. During the time period charged in the indictment, the gambling operation accepted $13,200,000 in wagers.
It is alleged that Castelle, a reputed soldier in the Lucchese crime family, was the de facto leader of the enterprise and received payments for his authority and for protection from rival criminal enterprises. The day-to-day management was delegated to Grecco, who acted as the Master Agent. As such, he controlled his Agents’ access to the website and made regular payments to the “wireroom” of www.stakestake.com, located in Costa Rica, according to the indictment. He also supervised and monitored the activities of his Agents, or “sheetholders,” as well as his own individual customers and arranged weekly meetings in Brooklyn and elsewhere, where Agents and customers would “settle-up,” or pay and collect debts from the previous week’s betting activities.
It is further alleged that Zuccarello, Vasilakis, Dinos and Mormile each acted as an Agent or “sheetholder.” Each maintained a “sheet” of bettors with the enterprise and contacted Grecco regarding administrative matters, like opening and closing accounts, changing betting limits and extending credit to bettors. Each earned money by collecting a percentage of losing wagers placed by their bettors. On a weekly basis, each of these defendants allegedly reviewed the gambling “figures,” or the amount of money won or lost by each bettor on their respective “sheets,” and made arrangements, in consultation with Grecco, to “settle up” the gambling accounts.
The indictment additionally charges Grecco with money laundering for making payments approximately every six weeks to the www.stakestake.com “wireroom” in Costa Rica to pay the “per-head” fees that he was charged for each active betting account.
In a separate indictment, Grecco has been charged with running a loansharking operation for allegedly lending money to three individuals while not being authorized to do so and charging high interest rates that exceeded 25%.
The case was investigated by Detective Investigator John Mullen of the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau, who was assisted by Detective Investigators Brad Miller, Frank Garguilo, John Beale and other Detective Investigators from the Special Investigations Unit, under the supervision Supervising Detective Investigator Michael Seminara and Edwin Murphy, Deputy Chief.
Senior Assistant District Attorney John Genovese, of the District Attorney’s Asset Forfeiture and Crimes Against Revenue Bureau, Gregory Mitchel, Bureau Chief, Supervising Financial Investigator Susan Ryan and Financial Investigator Juel Fenty, also of the Asset Forfeiture and Crimes Against Revenue Bureau, assisted in tracing assets and civilly suing the defendants for their liability.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Theresa Robitaille and Senior Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Batsidis of the District Attorney’s Organized Crime and Racketeering Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Christopher Blank, Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division and Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.