Nassau County Police Det. Hector Rosario of Mineola leaving federal...

Nassau County Police Det. Hector Rosario of Mineola leaving federal court in Brooklyn on Tuesday. Credit: John Roca

A Nassau County police detective was among nine alleged members and associates of the Genovese and Bonanno organized crime families indicted in connection with the alleged operation of illegal gambling parlors in a café, shoe repair shop and sports clubs in several Long Island communities and Queens, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

The defendants, who each pleaded not guilty at their arraignments in federal court in Brooklyn Tuesday afternoon, were charged in a pair of indictments with offenses including racketeering, illegal gambling, money laundering conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

“Today’s arrests of members from two La Cosa Nostra crime families demonstrate that the Mafia continues to pollute our communities with illegal gambling, extortion, and violence while using our financial system in service to their criminal schemes,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement. “The defendants tried to hide their criminal activity by operating from behind the cover of a coffee bar, a soccer club, and a shoe repair shop, but our Office and our law enforcement partners exposed their illegal operations. Even more disturbing is the shameful conduct of a detective who betrayed his oath of office and the honest men and women of the Nassau County Police Department when he allegedly aligned himself with criminals.”

The detective — Hector Rosario, 49, of Mineola — is charged with obstructing the grand jury investigation into the alleged mafia crimes and lying to the FBI. Rosario allegedly accepted money from the Bonanno crime family in exchange for offering to arrange police raids of gambling outfits they were in competition with, including a competitor of the now-closed Sal's Shoe Repair, an alleged Genovese-controlled gambling parlor in Merrick, prosecutors said. He later allegedly made false statements to FBI agents "denying any knowledge of Sal’s Shoe Repair and a member of the Bonanno crime family," prosecutors said.

Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said the department has been helping the FBI with the investigation and assigned Rosario to a restrictive assignment where he had no interaction with the public.

"Furthermore, he has been suspended without pay pending an administrative hearing," Ryder said in a statement. "The Nassau County Police Department continues to have a zero tolerance approach toward any member of the department who is involved in criminal activity.”

Rosario, who joined the department in 2007, was paid $166,531 last year, according to Newsday’s 2021 payroll database.  Rosario's defense attorney did not respond to a message seeking comment.

In addition to Rosario, the following defendants were also indicted: Anthony Pipitone, 49, of Deer Park, who prosecutors said is a captain and soldier in the Bonanno organized crime family of La Costra Nostra; his brother Vito Pipitone, 40, of Wellington, Florida, who prosecutors said is a Bonanno soldier; Agostino Gabriele, 35, of Glendale, Queens, who prosecutors said is a Bonanno associate; Carmelo Polito, 63, of Whitestone, Queens, an alleged acting captain in the Genovese organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra; Joseph Macario, 68, of West Islip, an alleged Genovese soldier; and alleged Genovese associates Salvatore Rubino, 58, of Bethpage; Joseph Rutigliano, 63, of Commack, and Mark Feuer, 59, of Oceanside.

Polito, who in addition to being indicted on racketeering charges, is also charged with operating an illegal online gambling scheme in which bets were placed on sporting events through a website called “PGWLines" and attempting to extort someone who lost several thousand follars in bets placed through the website, prosecutors said.

In an October 2019 call, prosecutors said, Polito allegedly threatened a debtor through a third party: “Tell him I’m going to put him under the [expletive] bridge."

Eight of the defendants were arrested Tuesday morning; Rutigliano remains at large, officials said. Magistrate Judge James Cho set bond for the defendants ranging from $150,000 to $2 million.

Prosecutors, in a bail letter to the judge, argued the defendants "pose a danger to the community and a risk of flight and should be released only with strict conditions and after posting substantial, heavily secured bonds signed by financially responsible sureties."

Prosecutors specifically cited Polito, who was sentenced to life in prison following his 2003 conviction on federal charges of planning the 1994 murder of two Genovese crime family associates and subsequently obstructing the federal investigation into the crime. An appeals court later vacated the conviction.

In 2007, Polito was acquitted of state murder charges for the same alleged crimes in Brooklyn Supreme Court.

Gerard McMahon, the Manhattan attorney who is representing Polito and won the 2007 acquittal, said in an interview that the new case is a "bag of donuts."

"I'm shocked," said McMahon, who also represented Macario at his arraignment. "Gambling is legal everywhere in America but apparently not in the Eastern District of New York."

Attorneys for the other defendants also did not respond to messages seeking comment.

The two families of La Costra Nostra allegedly joined forces, according to federal prosectors, beginning in at least May 2012, to jointly operate the "Gran Caffe" coffee shop in Lynbrook, bringing in $10,000 in weekly proceeds, according to federal prosecutors.Those proceeds, prosecutors said, were then allegedly laundered through secret cash transfers to the defendants, and through “kick ups” to the leaders of the crime families as tribute payments, prosecutors said.

The alleged illegal activity at the coffee shop stopped around January 2022, according to the indictment.

In addition to the Gran Caffe, the Genovese crime family — through Polito, Macario, Rutigliano, Rubino and others — allegedly operated illegal gambling parlors at Sal’s Shoe Repair in Merrick from 2017 to 2020 and the Centro Calcio Italiano Club in West Babylon from May 2012 to March 2019, prosecutors said. The businesses used illegal "joker poker-type gambling machines," federal prosecutors said. 

Prosecutors said the Bonanno crime family — through the Pipitone brothers, Gabriele and others — allegedly operated illegal gambling parlors at the Soccer Club in Valley Stream from May 2017 to June 2021; La Nazionale Soccer Club and Glendale Sports Club, both in Queens, from May 2012 to March 2019.

Prosecutors did not detail who owned the businesses at the time of the alleged illegal activity. 

A Nassau County police detective was among nine alleged members and associates of the Genovese and Bonanno organized crime families indicted in connection with the alleged operation of illegal gambling parlors in a café, shoe repair shop and sports clubs in several Long Island communities and Queens, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

The defendants, who each pleaded not guilty at their arraignments in federal court in Brooklyn Tuesday afternoon, were charged in a pair of indictments with offenses including racketeering, illegal gambling, money laundering conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

“Today’s arrests of members from two La Cosa Nostra crime families demonstrate that the Mafia continues to pollute our communities with illegal gambling, extortion, and violence while using our financial system in service to their criminal schemes,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement. “The defendants tried to hide their criminal activity by operating from behind the cover of a coffee bar, a soccer club, and a shoe repair shop, but our Office and our law enforcement partners exposed their illegal operations. Even more disturbing is the shameful conduct of a detective who betrayed his oath of office and the honest men and women of the Nassau County Police Department when he allegedly aligned himself with criminals.”

The detective — Hector Rosario, 49, of Mineola — is charged with obstructing the grand jury investigation into the alleged mafia crimes and lying to the FBI. Rosario allegedly accepted money from the Bonanno crime family in exchange for offering to arrange police raids of gambling outfits they were in competition with, including a competitor of the now-closed Sal's Shoe Repair, an alleged Genovese-controlled gambling parlor in Merrick, prosecutors said. He later allegedly made false statements to FBI agents "denying any knowledge of Sal’s Shoe Repair and a member of the Bonanno crime family," prosecutors said.

Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said the department has been helping the FBI with the investigation and assigned Rosario to a restrictive assignment where he had no interaction with the public.

"Furthermore, he has been suspended without pay pending an administrative hearing," Ryder said in a statement. "The Nassau County Police Department continues to have a zero tolerance approach toward any member of the department who is involved in criminal activity.”

Rosario, who joined the department in 2007, was paid $166,531 last year, according to Newsday’s 2021 payroll database.  Rosario's defense attorney did not respond to a message seeking comment.

United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York...

United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace. Credit: U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District

In addition to Rosario, the following defendants were also indicted: Anthony Pipitone, 49, of Deer Park, who prosecutors said is a captain and soldier in the Bonanno organized crime family of La Costra Nostra; his brother Vito Pipitone, 40, of Wellington, Florida, who prosecutors said is a Bonanno soldier; Agostino Gabriele, 35, of Glendale, Queens, who prosecutors said is a Bonanno associate; Carmelo Polito, 63, of Whitestone, Queens, an alleged acting captain in the Genovese organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra; Joseph Macario, 68, of West Islip, an alleged Genovese soldier; and alleged Genovese associates Salvatore Rubino, 58, of Bethpage; Joseph Rutigliano, 63, of Commack, and Mark Feuer, 59, of Oceanside.

Polito, who in addition to being indicted on racketeering charges, is also charged with operating an illegal online gambling scheme in which bets were placed on sporting events through a website called “PGWLines" and attempting to extort someone who lost several thousand follars in bets placed through the website, prosecutors said.

In an October 2019 call, prosecutors said, Polito allegedly threatened a debtor through a third party: “Tell him I’m going to put him under the [expletive] bridge."

Eight of the defendants were arrested Tuesday morning; Rutigliano remains at large, officials said. Magistrate Judge James Cho set bond for the defendants ranging from $150,000 to $2 million.

Prosecutors, in a bail letter to the judge, argued the defendants "pose a danger to the community and a risk of flight and should be released only with strict conditions and after posting substantial, heavily secured bonds signed by financially responsible sureties."

Prosecutors specifically cited Polito, who was sentenced to life in prison following his 2003 conviction on federal charges of planning the 1994 murder of two Genovese crime family associates and subsequently obstructing the federal investigation into the crime. An appeals court later vacated the conviction.

In 2007, Polito was acquitted of state murder charges for the same alleged crimes in Brooklyn Supreme Court.

Gerard McMahon, the Manhattan attorney who is representing Polito and won the 2007 acquittal, said in an interview that the new case is a "bag of donuts."

"I'm shocked," said McMahon, who also represented Macario at his arraignment. "Gambling is legal everywhere in America but apparently not in the Eastern District of New York."

Attorneys for the other defendants also did not respond to messages seeking comment.

The two families of La Costra Nostra allegedly joined forces, according to federal prosectors, beginning in at least May 2012, to jointly operate the "Gran Caffe" coffee shop in Lynbrook, bringing in $10,000 in weekly proceeds, according to federal prosecutors.Those proceeds, prosecutors said, were then allegedly laundered through secret cash transfers to the defendants, and through “kick ups” to the leaders of the crime families as tribute payments, prosecutors said.

The alleged illegal activity at the coffee shop stopped around January 2022, according to the indictment.

In addition to the Gran Caffe, the Genovese crime family — through Polito, Macario, Rutigliano, Rubino and others — allegedly operated illegal gambling parlors at Sal’s Shoe Repair in Merrick from 2017 to 2020 and the Centro Calcio Italiano Club in West Babylon from May 2012 to March 2019, prosecutors said. The businesses used illegal "joker poker-type gambling machines," federal prosecutors said. 

Prosecutors said the Bonanno crime family — through the Pipitone brothers, Gabriele and others — allegedly operated illegal gambling parlors at the Soccer Club in Valley Stream from May 2017 to June 2021; La Nazionale Soccer Club and Glendale Sports Club, both in Queens, from May 2012 to March 2019.

Prosecutors did not detail who owned the businesses at the time of the alleged illegal activity. 

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