Aug. 16, 2022 By Christian Murray
Eight reputed mobsters—including two from Queens—who allegedly ran underground gambling parlors in Queens and Long Island have been arrested by the feds on racketeering, illegal gambling, money laundering and a host of other related offenses.
The eight men, who were either part of the Genovese or Bonanno organized crime families, played a role in the operation of several of the gambling parlors, which included four on Long Island and two in Queens. Both Queens gambling parlors were in Glendale, with one based out of the Glendale Sports Club at 74-03 Myrtle Ave. and the other out of the La Nazionale Soccer Club at 80-13 Myrtle Ave.
The Queens defendants included Carmelo Polito, 63, a Whitestone resident who is allegedly the acting captain of the Genovese crime family; and Agostino Gabriele, 35, a Glendale resident and Bonanno associate.
“Today’s arrests of members from two La Cosa Nostra crime families demonstrate that the Mafia continues to pollute our communities with illegal gambling, extortion and violence,” said Breon Peace, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. “The defendants tried to hide their criminal activity by operating behind the cover of a coffee bar, a soccer club, a shoe repair shop…but our Office and our law enforcement exposed their illegal operations.”
The scheme allegedly dates back to May 2012 when the Genovese and Bonanno families joined forces and began operating a lucrative illegal gambling operation out of Gran Caffe, a cafe in Lynbrook on Long Island. The profits, according to prosecutors, were then sent by associates to the leaders of the crime families.
In addition to the Gran Caffe, the Genovese crime family—through Polito and others—operated illegal gambling parlors at establishments called Sal’s Shoe Repair in Merrick and the Centro Calcio Italiano Club in West Babylon.
Meanwhile, the Bonanno crime family—through Gabriele and others—operated illegal gambling parlors at the Soccer Club in Valley Stream as well as at the Glendale Sports Club and La Nazionale Soccer Club.
“This is further proof that organized crime is alive and well in our communities,” said Anne Donnelly, Nassau County District Attorney. “These violent organizations operated secret underground gambling parlors in local commercial establishments, generating substantial amounts of money in back rooms while families unknowingly shopped and ate mere feet away.”
The mobsters were allegedly helped by a detective from the Nassau County Police Dept. who has been accused of taking money from the Bonanno crime family. Hector Rosario, 49, of Mineola, was allegedly receiving money in exchange for conducting police raids on competing gambling locations.
Polito has been additionally charged with operating an illegal online gambling scheme through a website called PGWlines. In connection with his website, he is charged with attempting to extort an individual who owed him thousands of dollars for lost bets. According to the feds, Polito had threatened to break the man’s face and instructed someone to relay a message to his debtor: “Tell him I’m going to put him under the f…ing bridge.”