An illegal sports betting ring in New Jersey allegedly run by the Genovese crime family that took in an alleged $1 million dollars of wager per week has been busted up. FBI and local law enforcement agencies combined on the eight month long investigation dubbed “Operation Strikeout” focusing on what they called traditional organized crime activities in the area of Bergen county. Thirty four arrest were made and approximately $1.3 Million dollars in cash was seized as arrest and search warrants were executed in Essex County, Bergen County, Monmouth County, and Somerset County. According to authorities the illegal sports betting operation was run by John “Blue” DeFroscia and Thomas Conforti. DeFroscia is a made member of the Genovese family and Conforti is a high level family associate according to the feds.
Conforti and DeFroscia were both running their own respective bookmaking operation with large networks of “agents” running gambling packages for them. These agents were paid a percentage or “commission” of the profits being made. Money was also kicked up by both DeFroscia and Conforti to the hierarchy of the Genovese family. A wire room located in Costa Rica took wagers via telephone numbers and the internet from players and agents collected losses and paid out winning to players. Mid-level members of the organization would then meet the individual agents to collect the profits and then pass it along to Conforti and DeFroscia. The pair used these middle men in an attempt to insulate them from direct contact to the agents and law enforcement.
Authorities claim that Conforti employed Michael Cirelli as his middle man to help run the operation for him and DeFroscia did the same with Gerald “Jay” Napolitano and Paul “Shortline” Weber among others. According to authorities who infiltrated the illegal sports betting ring Napolitano would drop off envelopes of cash at a store in New Jersey and Nicholas “Pigeon” Restaino would hold on to it until DeFroscia was able to pick it up. Meeting were being held in parking lots , diners, and even book stores for co-conspirators to drop off cash to ranking members of the organization. Paul Weber was even observed by detectives with help of MLB security having meetings with underlings to collect payments at both CitiField and Yankee Stadium where he is employed as a vendor.
The following individuals were all charged in the roundup:
(click to enlarge)