Husband and Wife Members of Sports Betting Ring Sentenced for Racketeering
PHILADELPHIA—Joseph and Anna Rose Vitelli, of Conshohocken, PA, were sentenced today for their roles in a Racketeering conspiracy involving the Mastronardo Bookmaking Organization. Joseph Vitelli, 71, was sentenced to five months in prison and three years of supervised release, with the first five months served on house arrest. His wife, Anna Rose, 67, was sentenced to five months in prison and three years of supervised release, with the first five months served on house arrest. Harry Murray, 62, of Boca Raton, FL, was also sentenced today for his role in the Racketeering conspiracy. Murray was sentenced to eight months in prison and two years of supervised release, with the first eight months served on house arrest. U.S. District Court Judge Jan E. DuBois handed down the sentences.
The Mastronardo Bookmaking Organization was a multi-million dollar sports betting operation with bettors throughout the U.S. At its peak, the organization had more than 1,000 bettors and was generating millions of dollars a year. The Vitellis and Murray were among 15 defendants charged by indictment with Racketeering conspiracy in the case. All 15 of those defendants pleaded guilty prior to trial. The government will forfeit approximately $3.7 million as a result of the guilty pleas in this case.
Joseph Vitelli and Anna Rose Vitelli owned J & A Check Cashing in Philadelphia. From 2005–2010, J & A Check Cashing laundered over $500,000 of checks to assist the Mastronardo Bookmaking Organization. And, in 2005 and 2006, the couple allowed the Mastronardo Bookmaking Organization to use a second floor office to run the illegal gambling business.
Murray was a bookmaker in Florida. He pleaded guilty to his role in three separate money laundering conspiracies, including the use of J & A Check Cashing to launder gambling proceeds. In March 2010, Joseph V. Mastronardo, Jr., in a conversation with Murray, commented “Well times like this I’m happy I’m a bookmaker,” to which Murray responded, “Me too.”
Between January 1, 2005 and January 1, 2011, the organization utilized Internet websites 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 and telephone sites. Members of the organization used telephone, Skype, e-mail, text messaging, and in-person communication to take bets and collect or deliver payments that ranged from $1,000 to more than $100,000.
Prior to today’s hearings, four other defendants had been sentenced. Joseph Vito Mastronardo, Jr., was sentenced to 20 months in prison and a $100,000 fine. His son, Joseph F. Mastronardo, was sentenced was sentenced to five months in prison, three years of supervised release, with the first five months served on house arrest, and a $5,000 fine. His brother, John Vito Mastronardo, was sentenced to nine months in prison, three years of supervised release, with the first five months served on house arrest, and a $5,000 fine. An associate, Eric Woehlcke, was sentenced to eight months in prison, three years of supervised release, with the first eight months served on house arrest, and a $3,000 fine.
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.