New York Police Bust Gambling Operation
By Bob Garcia
New York Police arrested and indicted ten people on Tuesday in what the state Attorney General said was the biggest loan-sharking operation his office had ever investigated. The group is allegedly connected to the notorious Lucchese family and an illegal gambling ring in New Rochelle.
Operation “The Vig is Up,” was a year-long investigation into the activities of a member of the Lucchese family business, Dominick Capelli. The investigation uncovered a loan-sharking operation coordinated by Capelli’s henchmen that involved usurious interest payments charged on loans made through a bookmaker.
The operation trapped gamblers in a cycle of impossible debt. Just during the duration of the investigation, the collective sum of the interest payments exceeded $1 million. Around 50 victims were in debt to the bookmaker through multiple loans. They were charged exorbitant weekly interest that compounded to 200 percent annually.
The defendants personally collected weekly payments from debtors at New Rochell businesses including a bar and a vape shop. The henchmen used force to obtain weekly payments from victims.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said the defendants are part of a “brazen ring of criminals” that lure victims into their loan-sharking operation through illegal gambling. His office used wiretaps, covert surveillance cameras, a car bug, undercover officers, and hidden cameras to bust the ring and make the first ten arrests.
Schneiderman says his office continues to work with law enforcement to take down the group and prosecute the criminals. The gambling operation for the group was run on bxbets.com, which reportedly generated more than $500,000 per year.