Sunday, July 29, 2007

Vegas gambler introduced ref to mob

Peter Ruggieri, 38, once convicted of running an illegal sports gambling operation in Las Vegas, introduced former NBA referee Tim Donaghy (right) to mob-connected gamblers, according to a story by Jana Winter, Samuel Goldsmith and Chuck Bennett of the New York Post. The Post specifically mentioned the New York-based Gambino Crime Family.

Law enforcement and the NBA are investigating charges that Donaghy influenced the outcome of professional basketball games on which he and others had placed bets. Officials allege that Donaghy went into debt and fell under the influence of organized crime figures.

Ruggieri is reportedly from Glen Mills, PA, a short distance from the hometown of Donaghy and his friend James Battista. Ruggieri and Battista, now 42, later moved to homes just over a mile apart in Las Vegas.

A Donaghy friend told the newspaper that Ruggieri was Donaghy's connection to mob gamblers. Ruggieri once worked as a bagman for an illegal sports bookmaking operation in Las Vegas. He was convicted of wire fraud in 2002 for taking bets from bookies in New Jersey and New York City.

Battista has faced some minor charges, including gambling, but has never been convicted of a serious offense, the newspaper reported.

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Editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer. Publisher of American Mafia history website Moderator of Mafia-related Google+ community and Yahoo discussion group. Author of Wrongly Executed? Coauthor of Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia and DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime. Contributor of American Mafia history to Australian-published Mafia: The Necessary Reference to Organized Crime. Writer/co-writer of crime history articles for Informer, On the Spot Journal, Cigar City Magazine, Tampa Mafia Magazine.