Alleged gambling ring suspects appear in court Tuesday

Updated: 07/01/2014 5:48 PM
Created: 07/01/2014 4:33 AM WHEC.com
By: Brett Davidsen

Prosecutors say they have broken up an illegal gambling operation. On Tuesday, two of the men arrested in that case appeared in federal court.

The government is claiming $76 million in wagers was passed through an illegal gambling operation in Rochester. Three men are charged in an indictment that accuses them of illegal gambling and money laundering.

News10NBC learned a little more in court Tuesday about what prosecutors are planning to base their case on after breaking up the alleged gambling ring last week.

When the evidence comes out in the case against Paul Borrelli and Joseph Ruff, prosecutors say it will be voluminous and involves wire taps, search warrants and electronic data. The two men appeared in court Tuesday morning with their attorneys answering to a 23 count indictment.

Ruff’s brother, Mark, is also charged, but was not in court Tuesday. The U.S. Attorney says gambling cases, like this one, are not too common. 

William Hochul, U.S. Attorney, said, "But where we do have evidence of large scale enterprises such as what was alleged in our indictment, we can and will act."

Last week, investigators raided the men’s homes and the Marina Restaurant and Bar in Charlotte and charged Borrelli and the Ruff with running an illegal gambling business. Authorities claim the men used offshore internet gambling sites, providing bettors with an account and password to bet on sporting events. Hochul says the men took cash payments at the Marina Restaurant and Bar to settle the wagers.

Hochul said, “We also layout that some of the proceeds of the gambling business was then laundered -- was put through different accounts, different businesses in order to conceal or disguise where that money came from."

Authorities say, over a two year period, the men took in gross wagers of $76 million which they say they will try to recover through forfeiture. Ruff's attorney questions the numbers.

Matthew Parrinello, Ruff’s attorney, said, "It's always overstated when they go into gross bets. It doesn't accurately reflect what actually went on."

News10NBC also learned that Paul Borrelli and Joseph Ruff were both arrested on gambling charges in 2006 and pleaded guilty to a lesser violation of disorderly conduct. They’ll be back in court next month.

If convicted of the charges, the men face a maximum sentence up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

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