Long Island man arrested in Douglaston betting ring

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A New Hyde Park man was arrested and charged with running an illegal sports betting operation out of a Douglaston apartment, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said last Thursday.

Thomas Ambrose, 58, of New Hyde Park, L.I. was charged in First District Court in Central Islip with promoting gambling, said a spokeswoman for Spota.

Ambrose was the alleged ringleader of a sports betting operation at an apartment at 68-15 Douglaston Parkway, where he and several other people allegedly took bets on professional and college football, basketball and hockey, Spota told a Hauppauge news conference.

The apartment was raided Feb. 9 and $400,000 has been seized from the alleged ring, Spota said.

“On Super Bowl Sunday, Ambrose and his colleagues record(ed) $70,000 in bets,” he said. “Including the business they took in on the day before the game, it was a lucrative weekend as they took in $131,120.”

Spota said police intentionally waited until after the Super Bowl before raiding the operation because “our surveillance did indicate that Mr. Ambrose took a low profile in the week leading up to the game.”

A spokesman for the Suffolk DA said the office was investigating whether the alleged betting operation was connected to organized crime. The DA said Ambrose had operated the ring since 1999, taking in about $7.3 million a year.

Ambrose’s attorney could not be reached for comment.

He was arraigned Feb. 10 before Judge Paul Hensley, who set bail at $20,000 cash or $40,000 bond.

Also charged with gambling promotion in the sports betting operation were Joseph Cachia, 53, of Valley Stream; Ralph Viviano, 47, of New Hyde Park; Robert Hachemeister, 33, of Kings Park; Melvil Bloncourt, 68, of Manhattan; and Corey Lonergan, 25, of East Rockaway, the DA’s office said.

The Douglaston gambling bust was announced along with two others by Suffolk police: a lottery run out of a home in North Bay Shore, L.I. and video poker at a Shirley, L.I. social club.

Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

Updated 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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