Two Howard Beach residents were among the four men indicted in Queens Supreme Court last Wednesday on charges of running a sports gambling ring that took in more than $8 million over the past two and a half years.
According to media reports, Michael Palmaccio, 39, of Howard Beach, the alleged ringleader of the operation, is allegedly a member of the Bonnano family crime organization.
Prosecutors said Palmaccio used offshore accounts through the gambling website arrowaction.net. According to the charges, Palmaccio recruited Gerry Gullotti, 45, of Long Island to manage the offshore accounts and their usurious loans operations. Gullotti allegedly threatened individuals to receive their money.
Prosecutors also charged Cono Natale, 46, of Maspeth with being a “runner” for the gambling operation. As a runner, Natale allegedly recruited new bettors and managed individual accounts.
A fourth man, Ronald Salerno, 33, of Howard Beach is charged with collecting and distributing money from bettors and borrowers.
The investigation began in October 2008 by the Queens District Attorney’s Organized Crime and Rackets Bureau. District Attorney Richard Brown said the operation’s clever use of technology allowed the small group of men to “reap huge profits through their unlawful gambling operation.”
“Today’s indictments will send a clear signal that when it comes to illegal gambling in Queens County, all bets are off,” Brown added.
All four men are charged with 64 counts of promoting gambling. Natale and Salerno face up to four years in prison if convicted. Palmaccio and Gullotti face additional charges of criminal usury, conspiracy and grand larceny. They face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.