New York prosecutors are whittling away at the list of Santa Clarita Valley men arrested in a massive joint forces series of raids carried out almost two years ago in connection with an illegal $32 million nationwide sports betting ring,
Jeffrey Metelitz, 55, of the Santa Clarita Valley, one of five local men accused of participating in the ring received a conditional discharge on Apr. 29, after pleading guilty to first-degree attempt to promote gambling.
Metelitz became the third of the five local betting ring suspects to make a deal with prosecutors at the Queens District Attorney’s Office in New York.
“Julio Alvarenga, 40, and Andres Arriaga, 41, each pleaded guilty (in March) to first-degree ‘attempted promoting gambling,’ a Class A misdemeanor, and were sentenced to conditional discharges,” Kevin R. Ryan, spokesman for the Queens County District Attorney’s Office, told The Signal in March.
The two Santa Clarita Valley men were given conditional discharges when the court determined that “neither the public interest nor the ends of justice would be served by a sentence of imprisonment and that probation supervision is not appropriate,” according to the New York Penal Code.
Two suspects – each of them Santa Clarita Valley residents – remain charged and scheduled to appear in court early next week.
“Defendant (Cyrus) Irani has a court appearance on Monday, August 21, 2017 and defendant (Saul) Salama is due in court again on Tuesday, August, 22, 2017,” Ikimulisa Livingston, spokeswoman for the Queens County District Attorney’s Office told The Signal Tuesday.
The five local men were among 17 suspects across the country indicted Oct. 28, 2015, by a Queens County grand jury on charges of unlawfully operating a highly sophisticated sports gambling enterprise that stretched from New York to California and used offshore-based gambling websites.
According to the grand jury indictment, the online gambling enterprise, which is alleged to have booked more than $32 million in bets annually, is also accused of laundering its criminal proceeds by depositing and withdrawing large sums of cash from various banks throughout the United States.
Members of a multi-agency police operation led by New York Police Department investigators surrounded a Saugus home Oct. 28 and arrested Irani, alleged to be the ring’s kingpin, law enforcement officials said.
In March 2016, each of the five suspects from Santa Clarita Valley pleaded not guilty in New York to the criminal charges against them, a spokesman for the Queens County District Attorney’s Office told The Signal.
Each of the defendants posted bail and were released from custody with no stipulation that they remain in New York, and ordered to appear in court Oct. 19.
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