NYSP Sergeant Charged With Tipping Off Targets Of Gambling Investigation
CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
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ROCHESTER, NY--U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced today that Thomas J. Loewke, 51, of Rochester, NY, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with obstruction of a state or local law enforcement investigation and obstruction of an official proceeding. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan K. McGuire, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, in October of 2020, Homeland Security Investigations joined an ongoing joint federal, state, and local law enforcement investigation into illegal gambling businesses. One of the businesses was an illegal bookmaking operation, which was managed through accounts on the website sport700.com. Multiple members of the business had access to the website in order to manage and operate the business, violating multiple New York State laws.
During the course of the investigation, investigators intercepted a series of calls and text messages between targets of the investigation, sub-agents and individual bettors discussing the placement of bets, collection of winnings, and payment of losses. Investigators also monitored accounts on sport700.com.
On January 3, 2021, a search warrant was executed on one account belonging to an individual identified as Target 1 of the investigation. A review of the account indicated that Target 1 had 16 sub-agents, who collectively managed 221 individual bettor accounts. Throughout the duration of the account, April 25, 2019, through January 3, 2021, Target 1 generated $1,241,172 in gambling profits. In February 2021, a search warrant was executed on an account belonging to a second target (Target 2) of the investigation. Target 2’s account was created on April 25, 2016, had 128 sub-agent accounts managing 1,789 individual bettors, and profits totaling $8,945,629.
During the investigation, investigators overheard a phone call between Target 1 and Target 2, during which Target 1 said that a member of the New York State Troopers named “TJ” had tipped him off to the ongoing investigation. The Targets then discussed changing the passwords and domain name of the website and erasing the betting history in order to avoid detection. At the time, Loewke was a Sergeant with the New York State Police.
Subsequent investigation determined that, on December 17, 2020, a uniformed New York State Trooper performing maintenance on the computer of an NYSP Senior Investigator involved in the investigation observed a draft affidavit, which included Target 1’s name in plain view at the top of the document. Access to the Senior Investigator’s office was controlled by a swipe card system. Records indicate that on December 17, 2020, the Trooper accessed the office three times in the morning. A review of the Trooper’s cell phone shows that during those times, the Trooper sent an outgoing text message and made two calls to a cellular phone number registered to Loewke. Two additional calls were made to Loekwe’s cell phone that afternoon. The text message stated “Call me ASAP.” The Trooper subsequently confirmed that he had disclosed the existence of the investigation to Loewke. A search of Loewke’s phone also uncovered evidence that he engaged in illegal sports betting by placing numerous bets with another individual.
Loewke made an initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Marian W. Payson and was released on conditions.
The criminal complaint is the result of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Matthew Scarpino, the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Thomas Fattorusso, the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Brian Ratajczak, the Greece Police Department, under the direction of Chief Michael Wood, and Rochester Police Department, under the direction of Chief David Smith. Additional assistance was provided by the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
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