8 takes pleas today in Yonkers, NYC gambling ring bust

A father and son from Yonkers agreed today to serve 30 days in jail on charges that they attempted to run a $2 million-a-year gambling ring in Westchester County and New York City.

Roberto Rodriguez Sr., 74, (left) and  his son, Roberto Jr., 47, were accused of running the illegal enterprise with help from family members and  others who accepted weekly wagers for the state Lotto, horse races and other numbers games that shadowed legitimate drawings.

Authorities said the so-called “Rodriguez Enterprise” operated out of several stores, including ones at 204 Ashburton Ave. and 28 Point St. in Yonkers, accepting bets of about $40,000 a week for at least a couple of years. The group also was accepting wagers for the state Lotto midday and evening drawings and a “three-five-seven” horse-racing scheme, authorities said.

According to the charges, bettors would place their wagers by phone or in person from clerks and other individuals. Money would be laundered at an actual laundromat on west 177th Street in Manhattan, and sent to a “bank” located in two apartments at 216th Street and Broadway in Inwood.

Rodriguez, who was said to control the day-to-day business, and his son, who officials said was the comptroller, pleaded guilty to attempted enterprise corruption, a felony. They will be sentenced Nov. 15 to five years’ “shock” probation, with 30 days in the Westchester County jail.

The father and son were among eight family members and associates who admitted their role in the enterprise today.

Lidia Arce, Eduardo Espinal and Alcides Silva also pleaded guilty to attempted enterprise corruption and will serve five years’ probation with no jail time. The younger Rodriguez’s wife, Betel “Jessica” Rodriguez, Carlos Portella and Diego Torres pleaded guilty to promoting gambling, a misdemeanor. They agreed to serve three years’ probation, but acting state Supreme Court Judge Richard Molea said he would consider giving Betel Rodriguez a condition discharge. All will be sentenced Nov. 15.

Four others — Esperanza Castro, Fanny Cano, Rose Lantiguadeleon Berkis Valera — previously pleaded guilty to charges of promoting gambling. Castro’s sentencing is set for Sept. 27, the others for Oct. 4.

The mass arrests in June 2010 followed a nine-month investigation by the prosecutor’s office and state police Authorities seized thousands of dollars, an array of computers and gambling receipts, and four stolen, loaded handguns, according to the Westchester County District Attorney’s office.

All 12 originally were charged with one felony count of enterprise corruption. That charge carries a minimum sentence of one to three years in state prison and a maximum sentence of eight and one-third to 25 years in prison.