Posted on: Dec 25, 2021 at 1:48 am
Last updated: December 25, 2021, 2:38 am.
A South Florida sheriff wants to keep more than $ 1.2 million in cash along with other items. The bounty was confiscated earlier this year during searches related to an illegal bookmaker investigation that has not yet resulted in criminal charges.
the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Thursday that prosecutors had told four men that they were being investigated. Although no one is currently charged, court records show that Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony attempted to confiscate the money for the first time on May 7, three weeks after searches at four locations. The loot included nine $ 1,000 poker chips and 25 gold coins valued at over $ 44,000.
Tony then filed an amended petition on August 23rd.
Like all other US states, Florida has civil forfeiture laws that allow law enforcement to hold onto assets taken during searches or stops. According to FindLaw.com, the Florida statute only requires law enforcement agencies to “prove beyond doubt that the property is related to a crime.”
Loud on Orlando Sentinel Items seized more than $ 265 million in cash and personal belongings in Florida law enforcement agencies in 2018. That was more than any other state in the country.
According to the Institute for Justice, state and federal law enforcement agencies have used civil forfeiture laws to collect more than $ 68.8 billion, according to the Institute for Justice.
Investigation started three years ago
According to Tony’s petition, his office’s organized crime department received a tip from a phone call from Crime Stoppers in December 2018. The news said that a man named William Cascioli was part of a group running an illegal gambling and money laundering ring in South Florida.
“The tipster said that members of the organization run an illegal sports betting operation that consists of multiple partners and that the organization receives hundreds of thousands of dollars in income every week,” the complaint said.
After the call, the sheriff’s officers began tracking down Cascioli. During that time, officials discovered that Cascioli was holding multiple meetings in Davie, a Broward County parish. He was also found picking up an unidentified white man with a backpack from Terminal 3 of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The two drove off, but returned minutes later to the departure building of Terminal 1. There the unknown man got out of the car with his rucksack.
From the airport, the civil forfeiture petition states that officials saw Cascioli go to a CVS pharmacy where he bought two Yahtzee board games. Less than an hour later, he went to a FedEx location to ship the Yahtzee games. One went to Texas and the other to California.
While in line with the clerk, Cascioli was overheard using his cellular device to communicate with a person he referred to as a ‘Stevie Boy’ and discuss points distribution, the odds of winning the Super Bowl and horse racing . it says in the complaint.
FedEx officials would open the boxes as part of company policy against illegal contraband shipments. They found more than $ 200,000 in cash in both Yahtzee boxes.
That money was eventually confiscated, and further investigation revealed that the illegal bookmaker’s ring was allegedly widespread in Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Collier and Martin counties.
Civil law confiscation attempt fought
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office also claims the ring used the betbigcity.ag website to run its operations using an account set up by Cascioli. The complaint states that 23 agents on the ring had accounts, 115 of which were customers using the site.
Last April, the sheriff’s office filed search warrants for Cascioli’s Palm Beach County home and the homes of three other people, Todd Schettino, Harris Steinhart, and Martin Zarcadoolas. Warrants have also been submitted for accounts related to Zarcadoolas, Cascioli and Voehringer Realty LLC.
The sheriff’s petition alleges that Zarcadoolas was a senior member of the organization and accounts on his behalf were used to “hide the proceeds of their illegal bookmaking activities”.
The property confiscated from Zarcadoolas included the gold coins and poker chips and more than $ 183,000 from a safe in his apartment. Law enforcement also seized several electronic devices including a MacBook, Chromebook, iPads and cell phones, as well as men’s watches from Breitling, Cartier and Rolex.
Bank seizures from Zarcadoolas included nearly $ 600,000 from an account with Chase Bank and more than $ 165,000 from an account with Bank of America.
Zarcadoolas has denied his involvement in the illegal gambling ring. Court documents show that he opposed efforts to seize his property through civil forfeiture.
“The seizing law enforcement agency conducted an unconstitutional search of Zarcadoolas’ home in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Florida Constitution and the United States Constitution.” Zarcadoolas’ response to the amended complaint is.