Loan-Sharking Crack-Down in NY Mob Bust

BROOKLYN, N.Y. CN) — Waiting until police took the suspects into custody, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman unveiled an indictment Thursday evening that charges 12 men with loan-sharking for the mob.

As laid out in the 56-page indictment, the Genovese crime family profited off wagers placed with the online sportsbook 4spades.org that operated a wire room in Costa Rica.

The website 4Spades.org was still operational Friday afternoon and is not named as a defendant in the indictment, which is dated Dec. 7 but not unsealed until late Thursday in Kings County Supreme Court.

By that time, police had in custody Salvatore DeMeo, 72, described in the indictment as a “made member” of the Genovese crime family, and alleged Genovese associates Gennaro Geritano, Eugene Orefice and Anthony “Buckwheat” Giammarino.

The indictment quotes recorded telephone conversations of the men talking shop with Giammarino, who oversaw bookmaking operations.

“I’m just calling to tell you that, I told you, remember I told you the other account the guys are gonna lay low probably until football season, just mine’s gonna be open, but a couple of the guys called me up today and asked me for the accounts, to open them up again, so, just keep an eye out, the, the other accounts are gonna be open too,” Brooklyn resident Rocco Maglione, 46, told Giammarino on July 25, 2015, according to the indictment.

Another conversation shows Michael Epstein, 48, appearing to talk about recruitment.

“I’m not going to give you no sours, I’m gonna give you all good people,” Epstein told Giammarino on Sept. 9, 2015, according to the indictment.

Joseph Tommasino, Thomas Alexiou, Windsor Lewis, Mario Leonardi, Vincent Taliercio, Jackie Charlton, and John Giglio are also named as defendants.

The gambling indictment levels 41 charges, and the top count of enterprise corruption alone carries a maximum penalty of 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison.

The website 4Spades.org did not appear to have contact information to seek comment.

“Loan sharks shamelessly saddle their victims with outrageous loan rates that are impossible to repay,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “These defendants allegedly went to great lengths to trap their victims with exorbitant rates, all while evading our gambling laws and taking offshore bets.”

In addition to the loan-sharking indictment, 62-year-old Geritano is charged separately with conspiracy to sell untaxed cigarettes. Mario Leonardi, a 76-year-old from Alabama, is named as a defendant to that indictment as well.

The cigarette indictment charges 29 separate counts.

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