Rockland Prosecutors Garner $1M from Illegal Lottery Case

Rockland County prosecutors hit the lottery with the prosecution of nine people for running a gambling operation out of storefronts, primarily in Spring Valley.

The District Attorney’s Office scored more than $1 million in forfeiture money as a result of breaking up an estimated $10-to-$12 million-a-year gambling ring in June 2008. Forfeiture money can be used for investigation and buying law enforcement equipment

Police ended up arresting nine people and seized about $450,000 in cash, nine high-end vehicles, and one of the defendant’s home located at 5 Gooler Court in Stony Point that’s worth more than $700,000 at 2010 value.
Authorities even gave the investigation the fancy name of “Dinero de Diablo.”

The ringleaders – living in Stony Point and driving high-end cars – ran the Dominican Lottery out of three storefronts in working-class Spring Valley, along with one in Ramapo and two in New Jersey. Illegal immigrants paid off the $15,000 costs of being smuggled into the United States by running numbers for the operation. The lottery also had national connections.

The investigation was run by the Rockland Intelligence Center based on information first obtained by Spring Valley Police Officer Ronnie Charles in 2007. Spring Valley police said violence in collecting debts and robberies results from the operation.

It took more than 18 months to settle the forfeiture issue, including the sale of houses and fancy cars. The people arrested got jail time and probation as part of their sentences.

“This was not a harmless neighborhood lottery or sports book,” Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said today. “This gambling ring was fraught with violence and a variety of criminal dealings.”

The Dominican lottery is similar to the New York Lottery’s Pick 3 game. If the player hits the three numbers picked in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, the player could win up to $600 on a $1 investment.

Read more about the case in Friday’s edition of the Journal-News and at www.lohud.com

Steve Lieberman

Steve Lieberman joined The Journal News as an editor in February 1984 and became a reporter during the spring of 1986. He has covered police, courts and legal issues for more than a decade, after reporting on county, town, village and state governments and general issues. He received more than a dozen state awards for writing and reporting. Born and raised in The Bronx, he has lived in Rockland since 1988.