Two Men Sentenced for Illegal Sports Betting Operation Tied to the Genovese Crime Family

Two member of the Genovese Crime Family of the American mafia were sentenced to prison terms for operating an illegal sports betting operation. The two men, Dominick J. Barone and Eric Patten, were setentced in a federal court in Newawk, New Jersey on June 16.

U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said that Barone and Patten are members of a much larger racketeering conspiracy with ties to La Cosa Nostra, better known as the Italian mob. Earlier, the two men pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy before District Judge Claire C. Cecchi.

Dominick Barone and Eric Patten

Dominick J. Barone, who was sentenced to 18 months in prison, is a 45-year old man from Springfield, New Jersey. Eric Patten, who was sentenced to 22 months in prison, is a 38-year old man from Bayonne, New Jersey. Court documents indicate they each have ties to known mobsters.

The two men are thought to have worked for Joseph Lascala, an 80-year old resident of Monroe, New Jersey. Mr. Lascala is alleged to have been the “capo” in the operation. He is also thought to be a made member of the Genovese crime family, which operates in the northern areas of New Jersey.

Joseph Lascala: The Alleged Capo

Lascala is said to have directed the various criminal activities of a group of associates, who are referred to as his “crew”. The crew’s activity ranges from illegal gambling to the collection of unlawful debt (loansharking).

Joseph Graziano: Owner of Beteagle

Underneath Lascala was Joseph Graziano, a 78-year old resident of Springfield, New Jersey. Mr. Graziano is thought to be the principal owner of Beteagle.com, an illegal sports betting site. BetEagle is located in Costa Rica, from which it was used to facilitate illegal sports gambling activities beyond US authority.

Barone and Patten admitted to conspiring with members of the Genovese Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra to facilitate bets through Beteagle. They were considered associates of The Crew and thus “agents” working for Beteagle.

Beteagle’s Structure

The agents were not only in charge of a group of bettors called “the package”, but Barone and Patten were in charge of a book of sub-agents. These sub-agents each had their own package of bettors, so the illegal sports betting racket was an expansive and hierarchical structure of illegal wagers.

When an agent or sub-agent recruited a bettor, they would issue the person with a username and password to access Beteagle. The player could record their picks on Beteagle, though no money exchanged hands electronically. All wagers were handled personally by the agents or sub-agents, whether it was paying out winnings or collecting gaming debts from losses. If a player lost and did not pay their debts in a timely fashion, then the Crew used their connections to La Cosa Nostra and implied threats of violence to collect on those debts. The agents paid a fee to the website for each new bettor added to the service. These payments were made weekly.

In addition to the prison time each man received, Judge Cecchi ordered the men to pay $5,000 in fines and spend 3 years in supervised release. Dominick Barone also must forfeit $100,000 in assets.

Graziano and Lascala’s Cases

Joseph Graziano has pleaded guilty to his role in the sports betting scheme. He awaits sentencing on June 25, 2015. The charges against Joseph Lascala, whom FBI Special Agent Mark D. Lufburrow in a 2012 complaint said he once heard referred to as “The Godfather of New Jersey“,¬†are still pending. Mr. Lascala’s crimes are alleged and unproven in a court of law, so he is presumed innocent so long as charges are pending.

US Attorney Praises Task Force

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited a vast network of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in the Beteagle investigation. Fishman lauded the efforts of the special agents of the Newark FBI, who led the investigation under the direction of “Special Agent in Charge” Richard M. Frankel. He also credited other agencies with helping in the investigation, including the Bayonne Police Department’s Special Investigations Unit, which is headed by Chief Drew Niekrasz.

The attorney also credited the IRS-Criminal Investigation Division of New Jersey, which works under Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen. Fishman also lauded the efforts of the New Jersey State Police, who wroked under Superintendent Rick Fuentes. Finally, he pointed out the efforts of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, which helped with the investigation. The Monmouth County office is under the leadership of Acting Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni. Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Moscato represented the government on behalf of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division, based out of Newark, New Jersey.

About Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller has been an online writer for 14 years. He worked for Small World Marketing for a decade, where he covered topics like gaming, sports, movies, and how-to guides. Since 2014, he has blogged about US and international gambling news on BestOnlineCasinos.com, USPokerSites.com, and LegalUSPokerSites.com

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