News and Press Releases

six defendants sentenced for $3.5 million illegal gambling operation;
11 grand jury witnesses cited for contempt,
spent over 1,500 days in custody

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 16, 2010

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that six defendants were sentenced today, in separate but related cases, for their roles in a $3.5 million illegal gambling business that relied on a Web site with a computer server located in Costa Rica.

Gerlarmo Cammisano, also known as “Jerry,” 57, Vincent F. Civella, 53, Michael C. Sansone, 31, Anthony V. Sansone, 28, and Michael V. Badalucco, 27, all of Kansas City, Mo., and Charles J. Simone, 26, of Liberty, Mo., were sentenced in separate hearings before U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey.

Cammisano was sentenced to 14 months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Cammisano to forfeit $201,137 and two computers to the government. Civella was sentenced to eight months in federal prison without parole and ordered to forfeit $40,000 to the government.

Simone, Anthony Sansone, Michael Sansone and Badalucco were each sentenced to three years of probation. The court also ordered Simone to forfeit $10,000 and a laptop computer to the government and pay a $5,000 fine. Simone’s probation includes four months in a halfway house and four months of home detention. The court also ordered Michael Sansone to forfeit $4,039 and a laptop computer to the government. Michael Sansone’s probation includes six months of home detention. Anthony Sansone must also pay a $5,000 fine. Anthony Sansone and Badalucco’s probation includes three months at a halfway house and three months of home detention.

On April 28, 2010, Cammisano pleaded guilty to leading the illegal gambling operation. Cammisano oversaw the gambling business, which involved the management of nine other defendants (eight bookmakers and one manager/supervisor). The illegal bookmaking business was organized and started by Cammisano and others in March 2006, and resulted in gross wagers of at least $3.5 million.

Civella and Simone each pleaded guilty to conducting an illegal gambling business. Michael Sansone, Anthony Sansone and Badalucco, who were bookmakers in the illegal gambling operation, each pleaded guilty to the charge of transmitting wagering information in interstate or foreign commerce.

Bookmakers provided their bettors with a 1-800 toll-free telephone number and two Web sites. In order to place a wager on a sporting event, the bettor would call the number or access the Web site, then provide their account number and password. Bookmakers used a separate 1-800 toll-free telephone number, or the Web site, to track their bettors’ activities and account balances. Bookmakers paid out or collected cash in person from their bettors, usually on a weekly basis.

Both of the 1-800 numbers routed to a company located in Costa Rica that acted as a virtual wire room for the illegal sports bookmaking operation – taking wagers and keeping electronic records of bettors’ activities and results on a computer server located in Costa Rica. The Costa Rican company did not have an interest in the outcome of the wagers, but charged the illegal sports bookmaking business a price-per-head fee for managing each bettor’s account. Cammisano was responsible for collecting this fee from the bookmakers. The bookmakers would pay out or collect cash in person from their bettors, usually on a weekly basis.

According to court documents, the government attempted to obtain statements from the bettors through interviews with the FBI and testimony before a grand jury. Many of these witnesses were granted immunity but chose to disobey the court order to testify. Eleven witnesses refused to testify and were incarcerated for civil contempt; they served a total of 1,502 days in custody.

The government presented Simone, Civella, Anthony Sansone and Michael Sansone with the opportunity to have their bettors released from custody. These defendants, however, delayed their guilty pleas for several months, which forced their bettors to spend the holidays in custody and to remain in custody longer. Some of these bettors had accounts with more than one of the defendants.

Six of the witnesses who were held in contempt were bettors through Simone. Simone had the most civil contemnors of any of the bookmakers involved in the illegal gambling business. Two of Simone’s bettors served more than six months of imprisonment, one served more than four months, one served more than three months, one served two months and another served six days. In September 2009, the government conveyed an offer to Simone to plead guilty to the same charge to which he ultimately did enter a plea. The government would have then sought his bettors’ release from custody. However, Simone chose not to accept the government’s offer until Feb. 18, 2010. Simone’s delay caused at least four of his bettors to spend the holidays in custody; others served five months longer in prison, and some may not have had to serve any time at all.

Three of the witnesses who were held in contempt were bettors through Civella. Two of Civella’s bettors served more than six months of imprisonment and one served more than five months. In November 2009, the government conveyed an offer to Civella to plead guilty to the same charge to which he ultimately did enter a plea. The government would have then sought his bettors’ release from custody. However, Civella chose not to accept the government’s offer until March 3, 2010 – after five other defendants had already pleaded guilty. Civella’s delay caused his bettors to spend the holidays in custody and serve three months longer in prison.

Three of the witnesses who were held in contempt were bettors through Anthony Sansone. Two of Anthony Sansone’s bettors served over four months of imprisonment and one served two months. In November 2009, the government conveyed an offer to Anthony Sansone to plead guilty to the same charge to which he ultimately did enter a plea. The government would have then sought his bettors’ release from custody. However, Anthony Sansone chose not to accept the government’s offer until Feb. 19, 2010. His delay caused his bettors to spend the holidays in custody and serve three months longer in prison.

One of the witnesses who was held in contempt was a bettor through Michael Sansone and served over six months imprisonment. In November 2009, the government conveyed an offer to Michael Sansone to plead guilty to the same charge to which he ultimately did enter a plea. The government would have then sought his bettor’s release from custody. However, Michael Sansone chose not to accept the government’s offer until Feb. 19, 2010. His delay caused his bettor to spend the holidays in custody and serve three months longer in prison.

In separate but related cases involving the same gambling operation, James J. Moretina, 61, of Kansas City, William D. Cammisano, Jr., also known as “Willie,” 61, of Harrisonville, Mo., Michael J. Lombardo, 55, of Kansas City, and James L. Dicapo, also known as “Jimmy,” 58, of Parkville, have pleaded guilty to conducting an illegal gambling business and await sentencing.

These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul S. Becker and Jess E. Michaelsen. They were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.

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