On any other day, he’d look like a normal guy.
On this day, however, he faced charges of leading an illegal gambling site called Stakestake.com.
A $13 million operation
According to numerous reports, the supposed mobster was part of a six-man ring who took home more than $13 million from their site.
Though Castelle and his men are dealing with the charges, the website still appears to be functioning.
The home page features a somewhat outdated design – green background, two different “Stake Stake” logos, a banner photo of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Cadillac Williams and basic username/password fields.
The New York Daily News reports that bettors logged into the site with a username and password (or called the site via a toll-free number) and placed wagers on professional and college sports.
Network extended to Costa Rica, DA says
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson announced the arrests last week and his office sent out a press release with details of the arrests and scope of the operation.
According to the press release:
“Those defendants are charged with running a lucrative gambling ring that took in millions of dollars in bets and stretched all the way to Costa Rica. We’ve now shut down this illegal enterprise that was controlled by organized crime and will fully prosecute those who have been indicted.”
Details of Castelle’s alleged accomplices
Castelle’s right-hand man, according to the DA’s indictment, is Anthony Grecco, who oversaw the gambling activities from Costa Rica.
Grecco is also facing charges for “running a loanshark operation” in which he loaned money to three people at interest rates surpassing 25 percent.
The four other members of the Castelle ring performed various administrative duties and, according to the Daily News, were responsible for collecting “a percentage of lost wages.”
The names of the men, according to the DA’s press release, are:
- Gaetano “Tommy” Zuccarello
- Theodore “Teddy” Vasilakis
- Ioannis “John” Dinos
- Vincent Mormile
Though the DA’s office didn’t release any specific details about how the men collected debts, they did say that, each week, the men would review each bettor’s wins and losses and then talk with Grecco about how they’d “settle up” the accounts.
Castelle is no newcomer to New York’s courtrooms and jail cells.
About a week before Christmas in 2001, Castelle, a sanitation worker at the time, and several other alleged members of the Lucchese crime family pleaded guilty to a variety of charges including drug trafficking, extortion, illegal gambling and loansharking.
He was released in 2008 after serving seven years, then was promptly back under the authorities’ watchful eye when a raid of his Staten Island home revealed a small arsenal of weapons.
Previous to his 2001 conviction, Castelle was implicated, but never charged, in a less nefarious crime in which he bribed guards to allow him to smuggle mozzarella, provolone, olives and other Italian staples to prisoners in a New York jail.