Nassau County Police Detective Hector Rosario, 49, is accused of taking bribes from mobsters operating illegal gambling dens
Nine men have been charged in connection with a Mafia gambling ring in New York, which prosecutors say operated out of innocuous fronts including a gelato shop, soccer club, and shoe repair store.
In a federal indictment unsealed on Tuesday, prosecutors said that eight mobsters from the Genovese and Bonanno families operated the illegal gambling dens with the protection of a crooked cop.
The mobsters – including those with the nicknames Joe Fish, Sal the Shoemaker, and Little Anthony – were charged for racketeering.
Prosecutors also accused Nassau County Police Detective Hector Rosario, 49, of taking bribes from the mob crews in return for orchestrating raids on competing gambling dens.
The collaboration between the two crime families dates back at least a decade, to 2012, when they jointly opened a ‘lucrative illegal gambling operation’ out of the Gran Caffe Gelateria in Lynbrook on Long Island, the indictment claims.
Management at the gelato shop, which boasts a wide range of rotating and seasonal flavors, did not immediately respond to phone and email inquiries from DailyMail.com on Tuesday afternoon.
Bonanno captain ‘Little Anthony’ Pipitone (left) teamed up with the Genovese family’s acting caporegime Carmelo Polito (right) to jointly run a gambling den in the back of a family gelato shop on Long Island, federal prsoecutors say
The crime families jointly opened a ‘lucrative illegal gambling operation’ out of the Gran Caffe Gelateria (above) in Lynbrook on Long Island, the indictment claims
Three of those charged in the gambling scheme were from the Bonanno family: caporegime Anthony ‘Little Anthony’ Pipitone, 49; soldier Vito Pipitone, 40; and associate Agostino Gabriele, 35.
From the Genovese family, the five charged were: acting caporegime Carmelo Polito, 63; soldier Joseph ‘Joe Fish’ Macario, 68; and associates Salvatore ‘Sal the Shoemaker’ Rubino, 58; Joseph ‘Joe Box’ Rutigliano, 63; and Mark Feuer, 59.
Eight of the defendants were arrested on Tuesday morning, while officials say that Joseph Rutigliano remains at large.
Vito Pipitone was arrested in Wellington, Florida while the other seven were arrested in the Eastern District of New York. All were expected to make their initial appearances in court on Tuesday afternoon.
The nine defendants are charged with with racketeering, illegal gambling, money laundering conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and related offenses.
‘Today’s arrests of members from two La Cosa Nostra crime families demonstrate that the Mafia continues to pollute our communities with illegal gambling, extortion, and violence while using our financial system in service to their criminal schemes,’ said US Attorney Breon Peace in a statement.
‘Even more disturbing is the shameful conduct of a detective who betrayed his oath of office and the honest men and women of the Nassau County Police Department when he allegedly aligned himself with criminals,’ added Peace.
Families and children who visited the popular gelato shop had no idea that the back room was a gambling parlor operating video poker and poker games, as the indictment alleges
La Nazionale Soccer Club in Queens was allegedly a front for a Bonanno gambling den
In addition to the gelato shop in Lynbrook, prosecutors say the gangsters used a web of other seemingly legitimate shops as fronts for the gambling dens.
The indictment alleges the following locations were mob fronts: La Nazionale Soccer Club in Queens, Glendale Sports Club in Queens, ‘Soccer Club’ at 129 Rockaway Avenue in Valley Stream, Sal’s Shoe Repair in Merrick, Centro Calcio Italiano Club in West Babylon.
Prosecutors say that the businesses secretly operated ‘illegal joker poker-type gambling machines’ as well as poker games, and that each of the dens could bring in more than $2,000 in illicit proceeds in a single day.
The profits earned through gambling dens were laundered through cash transfers to the defendants and through ‘kicking up’ to the crime families’ leaders, prosecutors say.
Genovese crime family ran the gambling parlors in Sal’s Shoe Repair and the Centro Calcio Italiano Club, the indictment says.
The Bonanno crime family ran the fronts at the Soccer Club, La Nazionale Soccer Club and Glendale Sports Club, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors accused Nassau County Police Detective Hector Rosario, 49, of taking bribes from the mob crews in return for orchestrating raids on competing gambling dens
Genovese crime family ran the gambling parlors in Sal’s Shoe Repair (above) and the Centro Calcio Italiano Club, the indictment says
Polito, an alleged acting captain in the Genovese crime family, is also charged with operating an illegal online sports gambling scheme through a website called ‘PGWLines.’
In connection with the gambling website, Polito is charged with attempting to extort an individual who lost several thousand dollars in bets he placed through the website.
In one disturbing incident, prosecutors say that Polito called a delinquent debtor in October 2019 and threatened to ‘break’ his ‘face’.
Afterwards, the indictment says that Polito instructed another individual to relay a new message to the debtor: ‘Tell him I’m going to put him under the f***ing bridge.’
‘This case is further proof that organized crime is alive and well in our communities,’ said Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly in a statement.
‘These violent criminal organizations operated secret underground gambling parlors in local commercial establishments, generating substantial amounts of money in back rooms while families unknowingly shopped and ate mere feet away,’ she added.
‘The Mafia has brought untold violence and extortion into our neighborhoods for decades, even threatening the life of an individual as part of this case,’ said Donnelly.