Prosecutors say the "Mastronardo Bookmaking Organization," at its peak, had more than 1,000 bettors and generated millions of dollars per year.
Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman, who filed charges against some of the defendants in 2010 before handing the case to federal authorities, said the alleged racketeering operation "had tentacles spreading across the U.S. and beyond."
"These defendants tried to ‘game' the system," she said. "Today, they crapped out."
Everyone but Joanna Mastronardo was charged with gambling and racketeering conspiracy. She was charged only with "structuring" for allegedly making bank deposits that were deliberately less than $10,000 to remain under the radar.
Cogan emphasized that there were no allegations of violence or mob connections, calling the indictment a "step away" from a white-collar case. "We've made the streets safe," he said sardonically. "Safe for SugarHouse."
Joseph "Joe Vito" Mastronardo had a legendary reputation in the gambling world and was revered for his mathematical skills and ability to move betting lines, said Sean Patrick Griffin, a Penn State Abington criminal-justice professor and author of Gaming the Game, which examined the gambling scandal involving ex-NBA referee Tim Donaghy.
Griffin said Mastronardo was a mentor to James "Baba" Battista, a Donaghy coconspirator, and benefitted from some of Donaghy's inside information. Mastronardo's phone records were subpoenaed as part of that investigation, he said.
"It's Joe Vito's records that led them to Battista," Griffin said. "Battista initially thought Joe was a rat."
As the Mastronardos left the courthouse Wednesday, the 30-year-old son, wearing an orange Ron Hextall Flyers T-shirt, patted his father on the shoulder, then his mother, as they walked up Arch Street together.
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