Today’s news:

Eight arrested in $2 million Mace Avenue gambling bust

Bronx Times

Indictments against three Bronxites and seven individuals total were unsealed in Bronx Supreme Court in what is being called a “quality” gambling bust on Mace Avenue.

The arrests in what the district attorney’s office has described as a $2 million a year sports betting gambling ring operating out of a “wire room” in a building at 1500 Mace Avenue, at the corner of Eastchester Road, were the result of wiretapping by the NYPD’s Organized Crime Investigation Division, said 49th Precinct commanding officer Deputy Inspector Kevin Nicholson.

Seven people who are allegedly either members or associates of the Genovese crime family were arrested and indicted on Thursday, March 1 with the charges of enterprise corruption, promoting gambling, possession of gambling records, criminal usury and conspiracy.

The seven allegedly involved were Joseph Sarcinella, 77, of Scarsdale, New York; Frank Mastracchio, 56, of the Bronx; Dominick Totino, 44, of the Bronx; Dominick Pietranico, 81, of Mahopac, New York; Bruno Travostino, 81, of Manhattan; John D’Ambrosio, 54, of Bronxville, New York; and Thomas McMahon, 29, of City Island, the Bronx.

McMahon is a New York City firefighter in Belmont, according to published reports. Sarcinella is reputedly the head leader of the wire room, according to the indictment.

“This hasn’t happened since I have been here [at the 49th Precinct],” Nicholson said. “This is a quality gambling arrest, a good job done by the Organized Crime Investigation Division Targeting an illegal gambling ring.”

An eighth suspect, William Cali, 58, of Belrose, Long Island was charged with one misdemeanor count of criminal usury.

The wire room, which allegedly operated from December 1, 2009 and June 19, 2011, took bets over the phone and served as a clearing house for collecting and dispensing money won and lost on sports bets, according to the indictment.

Mastracchio acted as a manager of the wire room and was a sheet holder, someone who took bets, the indictment stated. Totino, Pietranico, Travostino, D’Ambrosio, and McMahon were all sheet holders, with McMahon serving as runner picking up money and dispersing winnings, the indictment stated.

Usury also allegedly occurred, with money was loaned out at exorbitant rates to people who lost bets, the indictment stated.

Some of the charges can carry a sentence of up to 25 years in prison, but 49th Precinct Community Council president Joe Thompson, a former NYPD public morals detective, found sentences that high to be highly unlikely, he said. When he was a detective, there were a lot of anti-gambling operations conducted by police in the 49th Precinct’s territory, Thompson said.

“We haven’t seen any really large bookmaking arrests in a long time,” Thompson said. “It has been years since they made a major bookmaking bust.”

Most of the people arrested likely have ties to the community and will not be going anywhere, Thompson said.

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