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NYPD detective and city firefighters arrested in gambling ring



An NYPD detective and two city firefighters were among the 14 suspects charged Thursday for allegedly running an extensive gambling ring in Staten Island, authorities said.

FBI agents and the NYPD’s Internal Affairs unit rounded up the suspects in Staten Island and New Jersey early Thursday, following at least a year of undercover work.

According to the indictment, the ring would text message gamblers to four different locations where they could play illegal card games, primarily poker.

Among those arrested were Det. Richard Palase, 46, and firefighters Michael Bergen, 35, and Gerald Parsons, 41. Bergen’s father, James, 59, a retired firefighter, and Ralph Mastrantonio, 51, a retired cop, were also arrested, authorities said.

It was unclear how much money was being moved by the ring, although it was at least $2,000 in a single day. The active police and firefighters have been suspended without pay, and all 14 defendants pleaded not guilty Thursday.


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