Numbers racket busted in Philadelphia

A woman at a podium

Philadelphia District Attorney Kelley Hodge has launched an initiative focused on hate crime, She will leave office in January when recently elected Larry Krasner is sworn in to a four-year term. (Tom MacDonald/ WHYY)

A multi-million dollar gambling ring has been broken up in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia police have arrested nine people and charged them with running a illegal lottery.

District Attorney Kelly Hodge says the enterprise, allegedly run by Gary Creagh, offered more options than the legal lottery “including bets on numbers selected in Pennsylvania’s daily number, the Big 4 lottery drawings and designated horse races.”

“Players could cast bets between 10 cents and 20 dollars, and Creagh paid the winners 700-to-1, compared to the Commonwealth’s legal lottery that pays 500-to-1,” she said.

Hodge says this is one of the largest “numbers rackets” in Philadelphia. Creagh allegedly used his profits to buy homes including a $2.5 million condo in Miami, and a $1.2 million home at the Jersey shore.  He’s also accused of spending $500,000 on cars all with no visible, legal means of support.

The cash from the enterprise was allegedly cleaned by making small deposits in several banks.  They were designed to avoid an IRS investigation by falling under the $10,000 threshold that triggers examination.

The operation ran in about 40 buildings in Philadelphia, mostly in poor neighborhoods.  Those looking to place a bet had to knock on a door to fill out a betting slip that was split into two copies one for the client the other for the bookie.

If convicted of all charges, including racketeering, the accused could receive up to 65 years in prison.

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