High-Stakes Poker Club Owner Gets 16 Years In PrisonDecember 15, 2009 10:20 am
Jeffrey Castardi (48) has been sentenced to 16 years in prison, after been found guilty of violating Colorado’s Organized Crime Control Act, including running an illegal professional gambling and bookmaking business, loan-sharking, money laundering, tax evasion, theft and unlawful debt collection.
Castardi is believed to have Mafia connections and was often heard boasting that he had been a Gambino crime family bookie for most of his life. Together with his associates, Castardi operated a Denver based gambling club from July 2003 until April 2008, when it was shut down by the Denver Police Department. Millions of dollars was said to have passed through the club, with many gamblers falling into debt and forced to take out 40 percent interest loans from Castardi, leading to at least two suicides.
Attorney General Robert Shapiro, said, “Castardi’s been conning, he’s been grifting, he’s been cheating people and is a harm to this state. He was the pulse, the brains, the purpose of the club that existed.” Relating to the tragic suicide of Eric Cox, he said, “He took his life because of shame and financial ruin that came from gambling at the club.”
Preceding his sentencing, Castardi said: “There was some gambling and I like money, but I never forced anyone to gamble..I do owe some apologies to some people, I am sorry for a lot of things and I will deal with that.”
However, District Judge Philip McNulty of Jefferson County had little reservations over handing down a 16 year prison sentence and said: “The Gin Rummy Club and Jeff Castardi were one and the same. This case is remarkable for the number of people whose lives were ruined, destroyed or ended because they had the misfortune of meeting you. You are a master of getting people to do things they wouldn’t otherwise do.”