U.S. Indicts 16 in Alleged Pannsylvania Gambling Ring

Aug. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Federal authorities indicted 16 people in an alleged Pennsylvania sports-betting ring through which more than 1,000 bettors used phones and the Internet for gambling.

Those indicted for conspiracy and conducting an illegal gambling business were members of the Mastronardo Bookmaking Organization, prosecutors said. The organization, headed by Joseph Vito Mastronardo Jr., operated on the websites www.betroma.com and www.betrose.com, prosecutors said today in a statement.

“This alleged racketeering operation was anchored in Montgomery County, but had tentacles spreading across the U.S. and beyond,” District Attorney Risa Ferman of Montgomery County said in the statement. “Today’s indictment reflects the work of many law enforcement agents across multiple agencies. These defendants tried to ‘game’ the system. Today they crapped out.”

Those accused used Costa Rican residents to staff Internet and telephone sites allowing bettors to wager on football, baseball and other sports from Jan. 1, 2005, to Jan. 1, 2011, according to the 23-count indictment. The government asked for forfeiture of more than $6.3 million as alleged proceeds of the illegal enterprise.

Mastronardo, 62, of Meadowbrook, Pennsylvania, is charged with racketeering conspiracy, illegal gambling, money laundering conspiracy and transmission of wagering information, prosecutors said.

His wife, Joanna, was charged only with structuring transactions to evade reporting requirements. Prosecutors said she made 72 deposits in a year of less than $10,000. Financial institutions are required to report deposits of more than $10,000 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

Joanna Mastronardo is the daughter of the late ex-Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo.

All but one of those charged are in custody, according to the statement.

The case is U.S. v. Mastronardo, 12-00388, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia).

To contact the reporter on this story: Sophia Pearson in Philadelphia at spearson3@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.