Authorities have broken up a global sports gambling ring, leading to the arrest of four men who were arraigned Wednesday in Brooklyn.
Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson announced that the four men were variously charged with enterprise corruption, first-degree promoting gambling, second-degree possession of gambling records and fifth-degree conspiracy in a 57-count indictment that targeted several online gambling sites that operated as one organization.
Gordon Mitchnick, 58, Joseph Schneider, 39, and Claude Ferguson, 43, all of California, and Arthur Rossi, 66, of Manhattan, were accused of involvement in the large-scale gambling ring that operated via the websites wagerabc.com, thewagerspot.com and hustler247.ag, the DA stated. During the 2015 NFL season alone, the ring allegedly took in approximately $927,000,000 in wagers.
"Illegal gambling is not a victimless crime — it preys on people's vulnerabilities and directly leads to money laundering, loansharking and a host of other crimes," DA Thompson said.
The large operation, centralized at an offshore "wireroom" in San Jose, Costa Rica, required a $200,000 per month cash flow to maintain, according to the DA.
"The principals of this huge gambling operation — possibly the biggest one ever to be dismantled by a local prosecutor’s office — allegedly moved millions of dollars around the United States and the world," Thompson said.
The enterprise utilized a variety of methods to launder its proceeds including transporting cash, electronic wire transfers and the purchase of over 20 houses as a means to hide gambling profits, the DA elaborated. Ferguson allegedly traveled between U.S. airports with a suitcase filled with over $50,000 in cash on at least one occasion.
To keep profits high, the organization consistently solicited new clients via word of mouth and the internet, according to DA Thompson. The defendants each face up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the top counts.