Police charge 15 in Ozone Park betting ring
By Herbert Lowe, N.Y. Newsday
A reputed Gambino crime family captain, his son and 15 others were arrested yesterday on charges of running a sports gambling operation in Queens that took in $ 30 million in wagers a year, authorities said.
The alleged captain, Ronald Trucchio, 51, of South Ozone Park, and his son, Alphonse Trucchio, 25, a reputed Gambino soldier from Howard Beach, operated the gambling ring out of two Ozone Park locations, authorities said.
A 36-count, enterprise-corruption indictment alleges the ring handled wagers - some up to $ 15,000 - on college and professional basketball and football, and on professional baseball and hockey.
"It allegedly took bets on just about everything," Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said of the operation.
A seven-month undercover investigation found that the ring depended on runners who gave bettors telephone numbers and access codes for two "wire rooms," and who met weekly with bettors to settle accounts, Brown said.
"There were some pretty heavy bettors operating through this enterprise," he said.
The indictment also alleges that several men served as clerks by answering phones in the wire rooms and recording on tally sheets wagers called in by bettors. The rooms were in a third-floor apartment on North Conduit Avenue and in the basement of an attached, one-family house on 122nd Street, authorities said.
Authorities said Ronald Trucchio had ultimate control over the operation and that his son served as its bookmaker and supervisor of the alleged controller, Anthony Moscatiello, 32, of Ozone Park.
Ronald Trucchio was also charged with failing to file state tax returns for 1999, 2000 and 2001.
Brown said his office has filed a civil lawsuit seeking a judgment of $ 6.5 million in proceeds earned by the gambling enterprise.
All 17 co-defendants were arraigned in State Supreme Court in Kew Gardens on charges of enterprise corruption, conspiracy, promoting gambling and possession of gambling records, authorities said.
The Trucchios each posted $ 150,000 bail and most of the remaining defendants all posted bail set at smaller amounts by Justice Richard Buchter.
The defendants face up to 25 years each in prison if convicted.
Brown and other authorities seemed especially delighted to have finally snared Ronald Trucchio, who is nicknamed "One Arm" because his arm was run over by a car in his youth.
Ronald Trucchio's attorney, Joseph Corozzo, said his client could not been involved in a gambling ring because he had been in and out of a hospital since having hip-replacement surgery in April.
"My client was absolutely not running anything," Corozzo said.