News and Press Releases

KC man pleads guilty to illegal gambling operation

November 18, 2010

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Kansas City, Mo., man, pleaded guilty in federal court today to conducting an illegal gambling business that relied on a Web site with a computer server located in Costa Rica.

James J. Moretina, 61, of Kansas City, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert E. Larsen to the charge contained in a March 9, 2010, federal indictment.

Moretina admitted that he conducted an illegal sports bookmaking business from March 1, 2006, to March 31, 2009, during which time bettors wagered more than $3.5 million.

Co-defendant Gerlarmo Cammisano, also known as “Jerry,” 57, of Kansas City, pleaded guilty to leading the gambling operation. Cammisano oversaw six bookmakers in the illegal operation and paid bookmakers a percentage of the winnings at the end of each sports season. Co-defendants Michael J. Lombardo, 52, of Kansas City, and James L. Dicapo, also known as “Jimmy,” 58, of Parkville, have also pleaded guilty to conducting an illegal gambling operation.

Moretina, Lombardo, Dicapo and other 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.

By pleading guilty today, Moretina also agreed to forfeit $6,000 to the government.

In separate but related cases involving the same gambling operation, Vincent F. Civella, 53, of Kansas City, Mo., William D. Cammisano, Jr., also known as “Willie,” 62, of Harrisonville, Mo., and Charles J. Simone, 26, of Liberty, Mo., and have each pleaded guilty to the same charge of conducting an illegal gambling business; Michael V. Badalucco, 27, Michael C. Sansone, 30, and Anthony V. Sansone, 28, all of Kansas City, Mo., have pleaded guilty to being bookmakers in the gambling operation.

Under federal statutes, Moretina is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

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

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