Sixteen people face racketeering charges in connection with what authorities say was a multi-million dollar sports betting operation with bettors throughout the U.S.
The alleged leaders of the sports betting ring are two brothers from Montgomery County, Joseph Vito Mastronardo Jr. and John Mastronardo, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Also in the list of defendants is Joseph's wife, Joanna Mastronardo, who is the daughter of former Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo.
The 23-count indictment was unsealed Wednesday in Philadelphia.
The indictment alleges that from 2005 until January 2011, the organization used websites as well as telephones to take bets on football, baseball, basketball, golf, horse racing and other sporting events.
Prosecutors also say that Skype, email, text messaging and in-person meetings were used as part of the operation, and payments ranged from $1,000 to more than $100,000.
A gas station on Norristown Road in Blue Bell, Pa., was apparently used as a mailing address and drop-off site to collect gambling payments.
The defendants allegedly hid more than $1 million in and around their homes, including in specially-built compartments and PVC pipes buried in a yard in Abington Township.
Fifteen of the defendants – all but Rizzo's daughter – are charged with conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise and conducting an illegal gambling business.
The other defendants were identified as: Joseph F. Mastronardo; Eric Woehlcke; Harry Murray; Joseph Vitelli; Anna Rose Vitelli; Patrick Tronoski; Edward Feighan; Kenneth Cohen; Schuyler Twaddle; Michael Loftus; Michael Squillante; David Rounick; and Ronald Gendrachi.
All, with the exception of Twaddle, were arrested Wednesday morning, prosecutors said.
The indictment says Joseph V. Mastronardo Jr. supervised the agents, sub-agents and websites (identified as www.betroma.com and www.betrose.com) as well as the office employees, and he laundered some of the betting proceeds, collected debts and instructed others to do the same. His brother, John, is accused of supervising agents and sub-agents, laundering proceeds, and collected debts.
Joanna Mastronardo faces one count for her alleged participation in making approximately 72 deposits in amounts less than $10,000 but totaling more than $500,000 over a 12-month period.
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