WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Some of the New York metropolitan area's biggest sports gamblers weren't able to place their wagers Monday because officers arrested 18 operators and bookies and dismantled a $2 million-a-week Internet betting ring.
The bets — on professional and college sports, with limits as high as $100,000 — had been funneled by computer to a "wire room" in Costa Rica, said Westchester District Attorney Janet DiFiore.
"You name it, they were betting on it," said Steven Vandervelden, head of DiFiore's criminal enterprise division. There was some online casino betting as well as the sports wagers, he said.
The district attorney held a news conference behind a display of guns, steroid-filled syringes, marijuana, computers, printers, and nearly $1 million in cash, all confiscated from the suspects during the weekend arrests, which were enabled by 44 search warrants at 30 locations. Thirty eavesdropping devices helped in obtaining the search warrants.
The display even included a small pile of the suspects' gold and silver watches, taken by police on the grounds they had been bought with illegal betting profits. Fifteen vehicles were also confiscated, DiFiore said.
Arrests were made in Manhattan, the Bronx and Westchester, along with Essex and Somerset counties in New Jersey, DiFiore said.
"These are very extensive operations," she said.
Bettors, once they were established with bookies, could place their wages in any of three ways: online, at one of the 60 affiliated Internet sites, using a username and password; calling the central business office in Costa Rica; or calling a bookie, or "sheetholder," Vandervelden said.
Among those arrested was Adam Green, 34, of Manhattan, identified as the creator of the enterprise and many of its Internet sites and domain names. Vandervelden said Green was "at the top of the food chain."
Also arrested was Anthony Giovaniello, 37, of Hawthorne, N.Y., who allegedly led the Westchester operation and made sure the bookies collected. Both were charged with enterprise corruption, which carries a maximum sentence of eight-to-25 years in prison. They were to be arraigned later Monday in Harrison.
There were no lawyers of record for Green or Giovaniello in the Harrison Town Court. A call to Green's home was not answered. There was no phone listed for Giovaniello's Hawthorne address.
Sixteen others also were charged, all but two with enterprise corruption; one was accused of promoting gambling and one was charged with weapon possession. Vandervelden said one suspect was a stockbroker.
The investigation began in October 2005 with information obtained by the police in Harrison, of Westchester County, said Harrison police chief David Hall. He said more arrests were possible.