Newsweek Reports Letitia James Unveils Fresh Wave of Arrests

Seventeen individuals have been arrested and indicted by New York Attorney General, Letitia James, for their involvement in illegal gambling and loan-sharking activities. These operations are reported to have been under the control of alleged members of the notorious Gambino crime family and are said to have been highly profitable.

On Wednesday, an 84-count indictment was unsealed, accusing several individuals of participating in an illegal sports gambling operation that processed over $22.7 million in illegal bets. Additionally, the indictment charged them for running a loan-sharking operation that resulted in weekly payments on roughly $500,000 in usurious loans.

Authorities have apprehended several individuals, including reputed Gambino soldiers John LaForte, Anthony Cinque Jr., and John Matera, as well as alleged associates Edward LaForte, Frederick Falcone Sr., Giulio Pomponio, and Daniel Bogan. Charles Fusco, an alleged Colombo crime family associate, was also taken into custody and charged.

The Gambino crime family, one of the five traditional Mafia families of New York, has been in the news again due to recent arrests. This latest round of arrests involved alleged members and associates of the family. In the previous year, 10 individuals were arrested and charged for their alleged roles in attempting to control the carting and demolition industries in New York City. These arrests are part of ongoing efforts to combat organized crime in the city.

On Wednesday, 17 individuals were indicted on various charges, which include enterprise corruption, first- and second-degree criminal usury, and first-degree promoting gambling. The indictment carries severe penalties, with enterprise corruption, a Class B felony, punishable by a maximum of 25 years in prison.

A mortgage fraud scheme resulted in the indictment of John LaForte, his wife Tracy Alfano, and two other individuals. The group was charged separately for their involvement in the purchase of a $600,000 home in New Jersey.

James stated on Wednesday that “Illegal gambling and loan sharking schemes are some of the oldest rackets in the mob’s playbook.”

“We are taking down several members of the Gambino family today, putting an end to their criminal activities and protecting New Yorkers from their harmful schemes,” said the spokesperson. The organized crime group had stolen millions of dollars from innocent people, leaving them in dangerous levels of debt.

James’ office has released a statement revealing that the investigation into illegal gambling and loan-sharking operations involved a range of covert measures. These included court-authorized wiretaps and bugs, covert video surveillance cameras, and search warrants on an offshore illegal gambling website, as well as search warrants of certain residences.

According to prosecutors, Edward LaForte was managing an illegal sports gambling operation through a website that was not authorized in New York state. The investigation disclosed that the operation took place between September 2022 and March 2023 and involved more than $22 million worth of bets.

According to the indictment, Edward LaForte oversaw a group of co-defendants known as “sheetholders.” These individuals were responsible for managing bets and collecting money from individual bettors. The following people were identified as part of this group: Fusco, Pomponio, Matera, Bogan, Falcone Sr., Frederick Falcone Jr., Robert Carter, Arthur Geller, Daniel Scarabaggio, Daniel Shah, Vincent Ricciardi, and Louis Palombo.

According to prosecutors, 44-year-old Amy McLaughlin aided in the upkeep and coordination of the gambling operation. Her responsibilities included keeping track of the weekly betting amounts, as well as gathering and dispersing funds.

According to the indictment, James Miranda, son of McLaughlin, has been charged with collecting and distributing the profits of the loan-sharking and gambling operations as a courier. He is 23 years old.

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