Cop, Not Capo, Busted for Illegal Gambling Ring

An illegal Staten Island gambling operation was uncovered by the FBI. Early Thursday more than a dozen were arrested on federal charges – among them a police detective and two firefighters. So reports the New York Times, among other newspapers.

Also among the arrested: a retired police sergeant and a retired firefighter, according to an anonymous source quoted in the Times piece.

Those arrested are expected to be arraigned Thursday afternoon in Federal District Court in Brooklyn.

OK: an illegal gambling ring. On Staten Island. Which Mafia family, or families, was behind it?

Not a one, according to the published reports.

The investigation was conducted by a New York-based FBI squad responsible for making cases against public officials in the New York City area.

According to the New York Daily News, Detective Richard Palase, who worked in Brooklyn, is charged with conspiracy to operate illegal card games at 2298 Arthur Kill Road, along with firefighter Michael Bergen.

A second firefighter, Gerald Parsons, is charged with dealing out the cards, the News reports.

The games were apparently held at a funeral parlor on Victory Blvd., according to the indictment unsealed in Brooklyn Federal Court, which explains why one of the arrestees was Joseph (The Undertaker) Fumando, a Staten Island funeral director. But the “casino of choice” would change – there were three locations at which games were held. Text messaged invitations including locations were how these horrible criminals touched base with one another.

“The gambling does not appear to be related to organized crime,” the News reports.

“The indictment offers little information about the scope of the gambling operation, except to say that each location grossed more than $2,000 a day,” the Times reports.

No wonder the mob stayed away from this one -- though I find it hard to believe “the Undertaker” isn’t somehow connected.