Poker Pro Jay Sharon Charged with Illegal Bookmaking

Poker pro Jay Sharon has been arrested for his part in an illegal online sports betting ring that operated from New York, and could face up to 25 years behind bars if found guilty. The enterprise is believed to have handled around $3.5 million in bets each year, and amongst the accusations levelled against eight people, including Sharon, are charges of conspiracy, corruption, promoting gambling, and money laundering. Commenting on the case, New York City Police Department Commissioner William Bratton said:
“Across the country, this group operated an illegal sports betting ring with impunity. Today, the house won with the arrest of eight defendants in and around Queens.”
In December 2014, Queens County District Attorney Richard Brown together with the NYPD’s Organized Crime Investigation Division started investigating the group’s activities. According to the information they collected over the following 16 months, the men acted as either master agents, agents, or sub-agents, while Jay Sharon was identified as “the bookmaker who controlled and oversaw the entire operation.” The other men involved in the case includes Christopher Hansen, 43; Vincent Zaccario, 29; Gary Schreiber, 56; Emilio Testa, 50; Frank Nista, 63; Joshua Handler, 27; and Jonathan Cianciotto, 40.
Subsequent raids targeting locations across Queens and Nassau counties then resulted in $93,000 in cash being seized, as well as records of their gambling activities, and other incriminating evidence. Commenting on the investigation, QDA Richard Brown explained:
“Over the last few years, working with our law enforcement colleagues, we have taken down a number of these operations and put them out of business. These cases, I believe, have put a significant dent in illegal gambling nationwide, and have saved individuals across the country millions of dollars in gambling losses.
Jay Sharon is a professional poker player with $214,258 in career earnings to his name. The 47 year-old’s biggest result came in 2014 after winning the $500 Parx Big Stax for $85,926, while he also finished last year’s WSOP Main Event in 116th place for a $46,890 payday.

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