NEWARK, N.J. JULY 28, 2015 – A website owner involved in an illegal sports betting conspiracy with the Genovese Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra was sentenced today to 18 months in prison, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Joseph Graziano, 78, of Springfield, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before District Judge Claire C. Cecchi to an information charging him with one count of racketeering conspiracy. Judge Cecchi imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Graziano was the principal owner of Beteagle.com, a website located in Costa Rica and used to facilitate illegal online sports betting. Dominick J. Barone, 45, of Springfield, New Jersey, worked with Graziano in carrying out the daily activities of the website and both men conspired with the Genovese Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra in the operation of Beteagle.
Joseph Lascala, 83, of Monroe, New Jersey, was the alleged “capo” and a made member of the Genovese family operating in northern New Jersey. He directed the criminal activities of a smaller group of associates, referred to as a crew, whose activities included illegal gambling and the collection of unlawful debt.
As part of the conspiracy, associates of the crew were given access to Beteagle and were considered “agents.” Before the advent of computerized betting, these agents would have been referred to as “bookmakers” or “bookies.” The agents had the ability to track the “sub-agents,” under them and the wagers placed by their bettors. The agent or sub-agent maintained a group of bettors (the “package”) and were responsible for those bettors.
To place bets online, the agent or sub-agent issued the bettor a username and password to access Beteagle. This access was not given online and no money or credits were made or transferred through the website. Associates of the crew paid out winnings or collected losses in person. If a bettor failed to pay his gambling losses, the crew used their La Cosa Nostra status and threats of violence to collect on these debts.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Cecchi ordered Graziano to serve three years of supervised release and pay a $16,000 fine. As part of his plea agreement, Graziano has forfeited $1 million to the United States.
Barone previously pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme and was sentenced to 18 months in prison on June 16, 2015. Charges against Lascala are still pending. The charges and allegations against him are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel in Newark; the Bayonne Police Department, Special Investigations Unit, under the direction of Chief Drew Niekrasz; IRS-Criminal Investigation under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen; the N.J. State Police, under the direction of Superintendent Rick Fuentes; and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Moscato of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.
Defense counsel: Lawrence S. Lustberg Esq., Newark