Seven charged with running international sports betting scheme based in Astoria

By David Brand

Seven residents of Queens and Long Island were indicted in Queens Supreme Court Tuesday for allegedly running an international gambling operation out of Astoria.

The alleged enterprise used an 800-phone number and wire room based in Costa Rica, where sports betting is legal and where customers could place bets beginning in January 2016, said Queens Acting District Attorney John M. Ryan

“This Office — working collaboratively with our law enforcement colleagues — have taken down a number of illegal gambling operations over the years,” Ryan said in a statement. “Putting these kinds of illegal enterprises out of business, saves untold numbers of people from financial devastation.”

The seven defendants, including five from Queens, charged in a 39-count indictment that includes enterprise corruption, first-degree promoting gambling, third-degree money laundering and fifth-degree conspiracy. They were arraigned before Queens Supreme Court Justice Leslie Leach Tuesday.

The alleged ringleader, Michael Regan, worked as the bookmaker and oversaw the operation, prosecutors said. Other defendants include the alleged “master agent,” head clerk and accounts manager; a close associate of Regan; and four lower-level operators who worked as wire room managers, runners, agents or clerks.