Brooklyn D.A. Takes Down $1 Billion Gambling Ring

Posted on July 10, 2016

The Brooklyn District Attorney charged four men from California and New York on 57 counts related to running a nearly $1 billion dollar gambling ring.

According to a press release from the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, one of the men lived in Manhattan: Arthur Rossi, 66. The three other men charged by the Brooklyn DA lived in California: Gordon Mitchnick, 58; Joseph Schneider, 39; and Claude Ferguson, 43.

“The principals of this huge gambling operation – possibly the biggest one ever to be dismantled by a local prosecutor’s office – allegedly moved millions of dollars around the United States and the world and used various tactics to launder these proceeds,” District Attorney Ken Thompson said in the release.

My Office’s diligent and long-term investigation has now put an end to this criminal enterprise and we intend to see that these defendants face justice here in Brooklyn.”

A big-money enterprise

A press release from the DA’s office provided an in-depth look at the scope of the gambling, which raked in “some $927,000,000 in wagers on NFL games played during the 2015 season.”

The gambling operation allegedly accepted bets on college football, basketball, baseball, hockey and soccer games as well.

The quartet ran the operation through various websites, including www.wagerabc.com, www.thewagerspot.com and www.hustler247.ag.

Operational expenses at $200K/month

The DA’s press release noted that the gambling ring needed about $200,000 a month to operate. Expenses included:

  • Rent
  • Salaries
  • Travel
  • Hardware
  • Software development

The operating expenses did not hamper the ring’s ability to make money, though. The more than $900 million handled during the NFL season had to be stashed somewhere.

According to the DA’s release, Mitchnick, the alleged ringleader, laundered the money a variety of ways, including the purchase of 20 houses. The  gambling operation moved money around through electronic wire transfers, cash and “other financial institutions.”

The release went on to say that Ferguson, a “runner” who transported money, traveled through various U.S. airports with a suitcase filled with $50,000 in cash.

Two different operations locations

The gambling ring’s main office was located in San Jose, Costa Rica. It was there that employees, where Mitchnick would communicate with workers via text messages, WhatsApp messages and emails.

The release also said that there were times when the group operated out of a Brooklyn location, “giving the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office jurisdiction for a criminal prosecution.”

Senior District Attorney Nicholas Batsidis, Assistant District Attorney Robert Basso and Assistant District Attorney Theresa Robitaille will prosecute the case, the release said.

Second gambling ring indictment in two months

The most recent indictment from the DA’s office is the second such investigation this year. In late May, Thompson announced that his office had indicted a ring of six men from Brooklyn, Staten Island and Queens.

Similar to the recent investigation, the DA’s office found that the men were running their operation out of Costa Rica.

J.R. Duren Avatar
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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey gambling beats for Catena Media. His past reporting experience includes two years at The Villages Daily Sun. J.R. is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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