Leader of Sports Betting Ring Sentenced to 20 Months for Racketeering and Related Charges
PHILADELPHIA—Joseph Vito Mastronardo, Jr., 64, of Meadowbrook, PA, was sentenced today to 20 months in prison, to be served in a Level IV Bureau of Prisons Medical Facility. The sentence follows his guilty plea on January 31, 2014, for conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise (RICO), conducting an illegal gambling business, conducting four conspiracies to launder money, interstate travel in aid of racketeering, transmitting wagering information, and aggravated structuring of cash deposits. The defendant was the leader of the Mastronardo Bookmaking Organization, a multi-million dollar sports betting operation with bettors throughout the U.S. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Jan E. DuBois ordered the forfeiture of approximately $3.7 million, a fine in the amount of $100,000, and three years of supervised release.
Mastronardo, Jr., was one of 16 defendants indicted in case, 15 of whom were charged with conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise (RICO) and conducting an illegal gambling business. All of Mastronardo, Jr.’s co-defendants pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing; charges against Joanna Mastronardo will be dismissed.
At its peak, the Mastronardo Bookmaking Organization had more than 1,000 bettors and was generating millions of dollars a year. 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 $2.1 million 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.
Other indicted defendants who pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing include: Mastronardo’s brother, John, who managed a number of bettors and collected gambling debts; 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, and Ronald Gendrachi.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations, 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.