Thursday—June 11, 2015 was a busy day for Rockland, New York District Attorney Thomas Zugibe when “Operation Rock Bottom” proved useful in eight arrests. The 10-month long investigation focused on Internet off-shore gambling websites and high-interest street loans. Investigators started the operation to crack down on mob operated gambling and loan sharking operations in New Jersey, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Investigators have seized illegal gambling records, over $750,000, and computers. The seizures were carried out with multiple warrants issued in Rockland, Bergen County, New Jersey; Fort Lauderdale and Orange County, Florida; Franklin Square, New York; and Matamoras Pennsylvania.
Four of the individuals arrested live in Rockland. Investigators states they believe the group is active in Westchester County, but would not comment on that aspect of the case.
All eight have been accused of collecting bets, as well as offering loans with 25 percent interest rates on a weekly or bi-weekly payment basis and pressuring the borrower.
The gaming website provided players and sports bettors with a user name and password to place bets on football, basketball and other events, according to Rockland Prosecutor Dominic Crispino. Those who have been charged were responsible for monitoring the website activity and maintaining information on losing bettors and winners.
Ronald Ayes, age 71, was arrested on counts of first degree promotion of gambling, possession of gambling records, fourth degree money laundering, and criminal usury (a second degree charge).
John Reyes, 72, was also charged with the same counts. Nicholas Farese, 51, was not charged with second degree criminal usury. Anthony Moschella, 75; Richard Herman, 75; Peter Reda, 57; and Vincenzo Reda, 34, were also charged the same as Nicholas Farese. The eighth man, March Moschella, age 52, was only charged with fourth degree money laundering and a second degree misdemeanor of promotion gambling.
All eight men are held without bail under the order of Clarkstown Justice Scott Ugell. This operation comes on the backend of a similar operation in 2014, which led to 21 people being arrested.