It’s like an episode of The Sopranos. Well, actually, it’s a little more sophisticated than most of the The Sopranos rackets.
13 alleged mob members with ties to the Genovese crime family have been arrested for their role in an enormous bookmaking operation. But this wasn’t the old-fashioned mobster bookmaking operation where bets are written in notebooks. Nope, not even close.
This Jersey group was using an offshore sportsbook – based in Costa Rica, of course – to facilitate their clients’ betting action.
U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman noted that while this case contains traditional mob moneymaking tactics like bookmaking, loan-sharking, and cargo theft, “the new wrinkle here is the use of offshore sites and the Internet for processing bets.”
Michael Ward, FBI agent in charge of the Newark office, said “the use of Internet gambling and off shore locales demonstrates an evolution and increased sophistication” in how crime families handle their bookmaking activities.
Sam Borden of the New York Times detailed the growing trend of local bookies using offshore operations and this Jersey crew fits that profile. Using these offshore operations can help local bookmaking operations more efficiently handle volume and, ultimately, help bookies make more money.
In this case, the proprietor of the bookmaking operation was able to make more than $1 million per year, tax-free of course:
“If at the end of the year I can make two million and I gotta give away, like four or five hundred thousand … that’s a million and a half, you know. … My money,” said Graziano, 75, of Springfield, Union County.
At another point, Graziano boasted about the amount of money he was making, claiming that “sometimes I put the money in the bushes, you know. You got money in the bag. … I don’t pay no [expletive] income tax. I mean, I wish I had done it all my life.”
This arrest comes on the heels of a previous investigation dubbed “Operation Heat.” That criminal investigation uncovered another New Jersey betting ring with a base in Costa Rica that allegedly generated $2.2 billion in betting during 16-month period. Now that is some serious action.
If New Jersey is going to legalize sports betting, they may want to hurry up as the competition is making a lot of money while the government dithers.