Philly Mob in Atlantic City, Borgata Poker Room Staff Busted

MJMANDALAY

Registered User
Jan 26, 2005
0
#1
Borgota-based illegal betting ring is shuttered

Well, you can't say the mob doesn't have chutzpah.
In a daring comeback, the Philadelphia-South Jersey Mafia allegedly made a move inside Atlantic City's hottest casino, the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, by taking $22 million in illegal sports bets from young, hip gamblers in the casino's high-stakes poker room.

It could be the biggest mob infiltration of a casino since the Atlantic City gambling parlors opened in 1978, if defendants are convicted.

Yesterday, reputed mob capo Michael "Mikey Lance" Lancellotti, 45, and alleged soldier Anthony Nicodemo, 36, both of Philadelphia, were charged with conspiracy to promote gambling.

New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram identified the ringleader as Andrew Micali, 32, of Ventnor. He worked with a partner, a reputed major bookmaker, Jack M. Buscemi, 50, of Mullica Hill, N.J., who allegedly received a percentage of the gambling proceeds.

A total of 23 managers, bankers, casino employees and agents were charged in the ring.

"Micali frequently communicated with Lancellotti," according to a law-enforcement source familiar with the probe.

Micali allegedly worked with poker-room supervisor Joseph Wishnick, 42, of Brigantine. Both were charged with promoting gambling. Micali was also charged with money laundering and criminal usury.

Like a few others in the ring, Micali, Lancellotti and Nicodemo were longtime pals of jailed mob boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino. No mention was made of reputed current mob boss Joseph Ligambi yesterday.

Alleged mob associate Vincent Procopia, 41, of Brigatine, was charged with promoting gambling, while reputed associates Steven "Stevie Gongs" Casasanto, 37, and William DePena, 39, both of Philadelphia, were issued complaint summonses along with 16 others.

The 18 were charged with promoting gambling, money laundering or conspiracy.

Lancellotti was the highest-ranking alleged mobster arrested in a New Jersey gambling ring since 2004, when reputed underboss Joseph "Mousie" Massimino was jailed for 10 years for operating a large-scale sports-gambling ring in South Jersey and Philadelphia - a ring similar to the alleged current one.

You might say the mob operated under the nose of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission - except that the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement; the state police-organized crime, gambling-bureaus and digital-technology units; and 10 other law-enforcement agencies worked on the 18-month probe.

Milgram said that investigators were tipped off in March 2006 by an informant as to what to look for in the overhead surveillance cameras in the poker room.

The Borgata security and surveillance departments helped investigators watch six casino employees, reputed mob associates and others in off-the-books exchanges of cash and casino chips during illegal betting in the poker room.

Gamblers learned of the illegal gaming - which authorities claimed siphoned $22 million from legitimate casino games - by word-of-mouth.

Losing gamblers were forced to borrow money at 50 percent annual interest to cover their debts.

Investigators followed the money to three Philadelphia "wire rooms," including one in a Micali-owned home, where each bettor's winnings and losses were calculated so that payouts or paybacks could be made.

During its "massive" money laundering, Milgram said, the ring used a method called "chip washing" - "taking cash, turning it into chips, 'washing' them by betting and then turning them in, and taking cash out."

During court-approved searches, Micali's bank account - with more than $200,000 - was frozen.

Also seized was $40,000 in chips and cash in Micali's safe deposit box at the Borgata, as well as gambling records, a laptop and a .357 caliber semi-automatic handgun inside his Ventnor home.

In Philadelphia, gambling records, computers, a handgun and $20,000 in cash were seized at three homes, including one owned by Micali.

This was Milgram's first big mob case, yet she was reluctant to mention the mob at an Atlantic City news conference, according to observers, even when reporters bombarded her with mob questions.

Usually in mob cases, defendants are charged with the more serious charge of racketeering conspiracy, but the AG's office charged the suspects with promoting gambling in a casino. It also issued the complaint summonses, which are like traffic tickets. The illegal operation did not affect the normal daily gaming on the casino floor, Milgram said.

"They sought to escape detection by enlisting casino employees in their crimes," Milgram said.

The casino employees charged with promoting illegal gambling included: Borgata poker-room supervisor Paul Parks, 31; Borgata poker dealers Austin Johnson-Brown, 35, and Robert McEwen, 26; Borgata bartender Matthew Weyler, 26; and Tropicana poker-room supervisor Jeffrey Ebert, 45. Ebert was also charged with criminal usury.

"I'm pleased to say they greatly underestimated our vigilance and determination to keep organized crime out of Atlantic City casinos," added Milgram.

If convicted, casino employees could lose their licenses. *
 

Sinn Fein

Infidel and White Interloper
Wackbag Staff
Aug 29, 2002
898
#2
Oh, sports betting. That means Anthony's definitely not involved. I got nervous for a second.
 

MJMANDALAY

Registered User
Jan 26, 2005
0
#4
Not just a casino, a joint for bookies
State says ring used Borgata poker room
Thursday, November 15, 2007

They walked among the tables in the poker room of the Borgata, taking bets on football and basketball games from cardplayers looking for a little extra action. The wagers were illegal, but the bookies had the room's supervisors in their pockets.

They did not know state authorities were watching.

After a 20-month investigation, officials yesterday charged 23 people, including three reputed Philadelphia mobsters, with running an illegal betting ring inside the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City.

During the time it was under surveillance, authorities said, the ring took in more than $22 million in wagers, even accepting casino chips as payment.

Attorney General Anne Milgram, who announced the charges, declined to comment on whether the investigation indicated the Mafia had infiltrated New Jersey's casino industry. "Any allegation or potential that the mob would be involved in Atlantic City, I can tell you, we take extremely seriously," she said.

State casino regulators have worked to prevent organized crime from penetrating the casinos ever since gambling was legalized in 1977, with Gov. Brendan Byrne warning the mob to "keep your filthy hands off Atlantic City."

Milgram said investigators found no problems with "integrity of the gaming operations in the poker room" at the Borgata, whose management cooperated with the investigation.

Milgram said the leaders of the ring were Andrew Micali, 32, of Ventnor and Jack M. Buscemi Jr., 50, of Mullica Hill. Both are accused of taking a percentage of the gambling proceeds collected by bookies taking bets from the poker room floor.

Micali has been identified by law enforcement officials and news accounts as an associate of the Bruno crime family, a Philadelphia-based mob organization that has seen its hold over Atlantic City crime wither in the past few decades with increased enforcement. Micali is charged with promoting gambling, money laundering and criminal usury.

Authorities said Micali involved two reputed soldiers of the Bruno family: Anthony Nicodemo and Michael Lancellotti, both charged with conspiracy to promote gambling. Micali also utilized two "wire rooms" in Philadelphia, which took the calls from bookies placing the bets made on the poker room floor.

It was unclear yesterday how long the ring had been operating at the Borgata, the hotel, casino and spa that opened in the summer of 2003 with the idea of turning Atlantic City into a tourist destination rather than a day trip for gambling.


50 PERCENT INTEREST

The investigation began after the State Police received a tip in March 2006 that bets on college and professional football and basketball were being taken on the poker room floor.

State Police set up surveillance and saw bookies accept bets and settle up with bettors. In some cases, bettors short on cash were forced to take out loans from the ring with annual interest rates exceeding 50 percent, Milgram said.

They also saw casino employees, lured in by the ring, either taking bets or ignoring the exchange of cash and casino chips between the ring's bookies and its bettors, Milgram said.

The state charged the following Borgata employees with promoting gambling: poker room supervisors Joseph Wishnick, 42, and Paul Parks, 31; card dealers Austin Johnson-Brown 35, and Robert McEwen, 26; and bartender Matthew Weyler, 26. A poker room supervisor at the Tropicana Casino & Resort, Jeffrey Ebert, 45, also was charged as a bookie at the Borgata.

If convicted of the charges, the 23 suspects face up to five years in state prison and $35,000 in fines on each count.

As part of the bust, a judge froze a bank account in Micali's name containing more than $200,000, and investigators seized a Borgata safety deposit box that held more than $40,000 in cash and chips. Milgram said gambling records, laptop computers, handguns and cash were seized from the homes of four suspects and the two wire rooms in Philadelphia.

State Police Lt. Col. Thomas Gilbert called the ring a "very complex criminal enterprise."

"This matter is not done," Gilbert said. "This is more of a start than a finish."

It was second time in six months that state authorities busted a gambling ring at the Borgata. In June, the State Police charged a group of men -- including renowned Las Vegas gaming expert Steve Forte, author of two books on how to avoid gaming scams -- with rigging a high-stakes card game using hidden video cameras, marked cards, laptop computers and tiny earpieces.
 
Aug 27, 2002
678
#5
Saw this on the news last night I grew up with some of the individuals involved though I haven't seen them in years, and from the looks of it won't be seeing them for a while...