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Bergen Prosecutor's Office Smashes Tri-State Gambling Ring

Among those arrested. Photo Credit: MUGSHOTS: Courtesy BERGEN COUNTY PROSECUTOR
Among those arrested. Photo Credit: COURTESY: BCPO
More mugshots. Photo Credit: COURTESY: BCPO
Mugshots. Photo Credit: COURTESY: BCPO

HACKENSACK, N.J. -- Forty-six people were arrested in New Jersey, New York and Florida, and $2 million seized, as the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office led a sweep that smashed a large-scale gambling, money laundering and racketeering operation, authorities announced Wednesday.

Robert "Elvis" D'Alessio, 62, of Little Falls led the ring in and around Bergen County with the help of an offshore wire room in Costa Rica, acting Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal said in announcing the results of "Operation: Return to Sender."

He utilized various “1-800” numbers and a website that bettors used to place tens of millions of dollars in bets, Grewal said.

D'Alessio, who is unemployed, assembled a hierarchy that included more than 50 "package holders" or "agents" responsible for managing nearly two dozen accounts with 320 or so bettors -- collecting on losses and paying out winnings, the prosecutor said.

D'Alessio's former brother-in-law, Esteban "Steve" Cueli, 56, of Doral, FL played a key role.

In addition to managing several in and around South Florida, Cueli helped D'Alessio launder the proceeds. The two also conspired with a Miami businessman, Enrique Larach, 54, in the money laundering operation.

Also identified as major players were Robert Beatty a 40-year-old restaurant owner from Wayne; Alfon Pilinci, 59, of Franklin Lakes and Dante Monaco of Hackettstown.

Local residents charged include retiree Louis Seminerios, 69, of Elmwood Park; Neil Eskow, 43, of Fair Lawn; Joseph D'Alessio, 55, a teacher from Wyckoff; Corey Arrajj, a 31-year-old salesman also of Wyckoff;

Also charged were three Wayne men: Jeffrey Badaan, a 33-year-old liquor store clerk; Jared Petruska, a 30-year-old construction worker and Paul Jon Siliee, 26; as well as Eric Orozco, 39, of Paterson; Joseph Loforese, 30, of Little Falls; James Manganiello, 56, of Totowa; and Ronnie Fox, a 57-year-old swim instructor from Woodland Park

The investigation was continuing, Grewal said.

The prosecutor cited several assisting law enforcement agencies: The New Jersey State Police, Bergen County Sheriff’s Office, Broward County (Florida) Sheriff’s Department, Miami-Dade (Florida) County Police Department, and the NYPD.

D'Alessio, Beatty, Monaco, Pilinci and another defendant, Gregory Farae, were being held in the Bergen County Jail.

Several of those arrested out of state were being held pending extradition proceedings. The rest were released on court summonses.

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