TRENTON – A multistate, multimillion-dollar gambling bust Wednesday has led to 225 charges against 25 people, including four arrested in New Jersey, the State Commission of Investigation announced today.
The SCI said Thursday it participated in the operation that included arrests in Pennsylvania, New York, Nevada and California, and which centered on illegal sports betting and money laundering.
The defendants, including two owners of a sports betting Internet website, are charged with operating an illegal sports betting enterprise in Queens County, N.Y., and elsewhere that profited by more than $50 million during an 18‐month period by accepting wagers on various sporting events – including horse racing and professional and college football, basketball, hockey and baseball, SCI reported.
Those arrested in New Jersey include Andrew Belardino, 50, of Upper Freehold, Monmouth County, who was taken into custody at his home early Wednesday by SCI agents working in conjunction with New York City Police detectives, agents and personnel of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and an investigator for the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.
Also arrested was Daniel Belardino, 58, of Fair Lawn, Andrew’s brother, who was taken into custody by the SCI at a separate location in Hamilton Township, Mercer County.
According to the indictment, Andrew Belardino was one of 15 defendants charged as “bookmakers” who were responsible for overseeing “agents” whose job was to recruit bettors who would regularly place wagers, SCI reported.
The indictment charges that Daniel Belardino was employed as a “collector” or “bank” to handle the illegal flow of money between the bookmakers and agents.
The arrests were the culmination of a wide‐ranging investigation, “Operation World Wide Wagers,” begun last year and led by the New York City Police Department’s Organized Crime Investigation Division.
Authorities said they seized more than $7.6 million in cash and gambling chips.