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Rockville Centre man indicted in sports gambling ring, DA says

A Rockville Centre man was indicted Tuesday as part of a Bayside sports gambling ring, Queens prosecutors said.

Jason Levine, 45, was among five men charged in connection with the ring, which the Queens district attorney’s office said booked upward of $750,000 in illegal sports bets each year.

The four other men, all from Queens, were identified as Theodore Simon, 77, of Flushing; Frank Nista, 64, of Bayside; James Greene, 70, of Bayside; and Russell Bellaterra, 69, of Bayside.

Each man was charged with one count of enterprise corruption — a violation of the state’s Organized Crime Control Act — 12 counts of first-degree promoting gambling and one count of fifth-degree conspiracy.

Levine, Simon, Nista, Greene and Bellaterra were awaiting arraignment in Queens County Supreme Court.

“Over the last few years — working with our law enforcement colleagues — we have taken down a number of these gambling operations and put them out of business,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement. “These cases, I believe, have put a significant dent in illegal gambling nationwide — and have saved individuals across the country millions of dollars in gambling losses.”

Police said they began an investigation in January 2014 when the NYPD’s Organized Crime Investigation Division, the district attorney’s office’s Organized Crime and Rackets Bureau and the Waterfront Commission learned of a Queens betting ring that was taking place online and through traditional means.

Investigators used physical surveillance, intelligence information and court-authorized electronic eavesdropping to listen in on thousands of hours of conversations. They said those who wished to place bets would call into one of two phones located in a wire room on 45th Road, Bayside.

Police said Simon was in charge of the operation, while Nista served as manager of the wire room. Greene allegedly paid to rent the room and for service to the two phones while Levine and Bellaterra are believed to have taken the bets and ran the money.

Search warrants also revealed cash, gambling records and gambling paraphernalia at the homes of the five men, officials said.

It was not immediately clear when the men would be arraigned or whether they had attorneys. All five men face up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

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