Cops: 15 arrested in NYC gambling-ring crackdown

NEW YORK - A city police detective assigned to Brooklyn's Criminal Justice Bureau, two firefighters and afuneral arranger nicknamed "The Undertaker" were involved in anillegal gambling ring that ran high-stakes poker games, federalauthorities said Thursday. The four men were among 15 people arrested early Thursday oncharges of conspiracy to operate an illegal gambling business andillegal gambling. All the defendants - including New York Police DepartmentDetective Richard Palase, firefighters Michael Bergen and GeraldParsons and funeral planner Joseph Fumando, a retired policesergeant and Bergen's retired firefighter father - pleaded notguilty in federal court in Brooklyn. A federal magistrate releasedeach on $75,000 bond. Outside court, a lawyer for the detective said his 46-year-oldclient had an unblemished record in his 15 years on the force. "He's never been in trouble before," said the lawyer, PeterBrill. Other defense attorneys expressed surprise at the scale of theinvestigation in a case with no allegations of violence or ties toorganized crime. "I don't understand the expenditure of resources just for acard game," said Joseph Sorrentino, a lawyer for one of theaccused. The probe was launched last year by the NYPD's Internal AffairsBureau. Indictments say investigators learned the defendants rangames that rotated between four locations on Staten Island, and onsome nights took in more than $2,000. Evidence includes intercepted text messages and phone calls ofPalase and other defendants, the court papers said. Some of thedefendants acted as card dealers while others recruited players,the papers said. Unlike the other defendants who left the courthouse out thefront door to face news photographers, Palase never appeared,sparking speculation that he was allowed to duck out a restrictedback exit. NYPD spokesman Paul Browne later said the detective "was givenno special consideration" during the arrest process. AP wire services contributed to this report

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Trending Video

VIDEO: Suspected gang members arrested in the Bronx 1 VIDEO: Suspected gang members arrested in the Bronx
Police have released an image of the man 2 Police release image of alleged Beekman Ave. shooter
A whale stranded at Orchard Beach Sunday was 3 Crews euthanize stranded whale after rescue attempts fail
The New York City nonprofit Guardian Angels stepped 4 Guardian Angels step up patrols in Coney Island
News 12 Interactive 5 3 NYPD off-duty officers arrested in separate incidents

advertisement | advertise on News 12


Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.