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Philadelphia gambling ring busted, ran online betting operation

Philadelphia gambling ring busted, ran online betting operation Authorities in Philadelphia have busted a large gambling ring, arresting 17 people on charges from illegal bookmaking through loan-sharking and drug dealing. The operation dubbed "Delco Nostra" led to the arrests of 17 people spread around the city, with Nicholas Cimino, 49, also known as "Nicky the Hat," considered the top boss of the illegal gambling ring. According to police, Cimino operated a "large-scale" bookmaking operation from 2002 until March 2007 that included a "casino" on MacDade Boulevard in Folsom. As part of the illegal gambling ring, Nicky the Hat also ran a Web site for online sports betting, and an 800 number for bettors without computer access. The domain name of the sports betting website has not been released.

 According to the investigators, the gambling enterprise took over $1 million in various bets monthly. Among the arrested were Gregory "King" Triantafillou, Daniel Diedrich, Victor "Vic" Novelli and Spiro "Bart" Barbalois, who were allegedly employed to accept the sports bets, collect the losses from bettors and to pay bettors for winning bets. Police also said that Cimino's gambling ring was occasionally "laying off" bets, i.e. transferred the bets to other bookmakers in order to minimize the risk of loss to the organization. Grand jury testimony revealed that one of the ways to clean the money from the illegal sports betting business was to purchase winning Pennsylvania state lottery tickets, which were cashed in to show a "legitimate" source of income.

 Published on 07/24/2008

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