members of alleged sports betting ring plead guilty to racketeering charges
PHILADELPHIA – Joseph Vito Mastronardo, Jr., 63, of Meadowbrook, PA, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise (RICO), conducting an illegal gambling business, four counts of conspiring to launder money, eight counts of interstate travel in aid of racketeering, transmitting wagering information, and aggravated structuring of cash deposits. The guilty pleas stem from his leadership of the Mastronardo Bookmaking Organization, a multi-million dollar sports betting operation with bettors throughout the U.S. No sentencing date has been scheduled.
Mastronardo, Jr., is one of 19 defendants charged in the case; three defendants were charged by information and sixteen defendants were charged by indictment. In the indictment, fifteen of the sixteen defendants were charged with conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise (RICO) and conducting an illegal gambling business. With today’s guilty plea, 11 of the 16 defendants charged in the indictment have pleaded guilty.
At its peak, the organization had more than 1,000 bettors and was generating millions of dollars a year. According to the indictment, between January 1, 2005 and January 1, 2011, the organization utilized internet websites (www.betroma.com and www.betrose.com) and telephone numbers that allowed bettors to place sports bets on football, baseball, basketball, golf, horse racing, and other sporting events. Residents of Costa Rica staffed the internet websites and answered the telephones. In 2006 and 2010, law enforcement seized over $2,100,000 of cash that Mastronardo hid in and around his home, including in specially-built secret compartments and in PVC pipes that were buried in his backyard.
Joseph Vito Mastronardo, Jr., ran the organization by using the internet, telephone, Skype, e-mail, United States mail, and in-person communication. The Mastronardo Bookmaking Organization laundered the gambling proceeds by using a check cashing agency, two private bank accounts, and numerous international bank accounts. On occasion, Mastronardo, Jr., also provided instructions so that a losing bettor could pay a gambling debt through a charitable donation.
Joseph V. Mastronardo, Jr., supervised the agents, sub-agents, office employees, and websites. He laundered millions of dollars of betting proceeds, collected debts, and instructed others to collect debts. Other indicted defendants who have pleaded guilty include: Mastronardo=s son, Joseph F. Mastronardo, who worked as an office employee, collected debts, and performed other financial duties; Eric Woehlcke, who worked as an office employee, collected debts, and was a sub-agent; Joseph and Anna Rose Vitelli, who owned J & A Check Cashing, which was used to launder the gambling proceeds; and Patrick Tronoski, Schuyler Twaddle, Michael Loftus, Michael Squillante, David Rounick, and Ronald Gendrachi.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, the Montgomery County Detective Bureau, and the Montgomery County District Attorney=s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jason P. Bologna and Department of Justice Trial Attorney Kelly Pearson.
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, EASTERN DISTRICTof PENNSYLVANIA
Suite 1250, 615 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
PATTY HARTMAN, Media Contact, 215-861-8525