13 members of the Genovese crime family have been arrested by the FBI for allegedly running an illegal sports betting website based in Costa Rica.
Among those arrested were 80 year old Joseph “Pepe” Lascala, the head of a Genovese crew as well as his 72 year old top lieutenant Pat “Uncle Patsy” Pirozzi. Both men were the main targets in a 61 page criminal complaint filed by the FBI. The government's investigation spanned four years and led to the charges against the mobsters.
During phone conversations Graziano said that he had 49 people on his payroll and stood to make $2 million annually through his sportsbetting site. "....sometimes I put the money in the bushes, you know," Graziano reportedly said. "You got money in the bag. ... I don’t pay no (expletive) income tax. I mean, I wish I had done it all my life.”
The FBI also alleges that debts on the website were converted to loans that customers had to repay with huge interest rates. If the loans were not repaid, punters were threatened with violence through the Genovese crime family.
Speaking about the case, FBI Agent Michael Ward said: "The use of Internet gambling and off shore locales demonstrates an evolution and increased sophistication.”