NYC Shoemaker Admits Shop Was a Mafia Front

'Sal the Shoemaker' pleads guilty to running illegal gambling operation
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 18, 2024 4:38 AM CDT
NYC Shoemaker Admits Shop Was a Mafia Front
   (Getty Images/Andrei Iakhniuk)

A former shoemaker has pleaded guilty to allegations that he ran an illegal gambling operation for the Mafia out of his shop in Brooklyn. Salvatore Rubino, also known as "Sal the Shoemaker," admitted in court to running card games and operating illegal gambling machines inside his former shoe repair business and to kicking profits to the Genovese crime family. He pleaded guilty to federal gambling charges Tuesday, the AP reports. Four co-defendants pleaded guilty earlier this month to charges including racketeering, attempted extortion, and illegal gambling stemming from long-running Mafia gambling operations in New York, prosecutors said.

"As long as the Mafia doesn't get it that illegal gambling is a losing proposition, they can bet on this office and our partners vigorously enforcing the law and flushing them out of the shadows, as in this case, where they operated secretly in a coffee bar and a shoe repair shop," US Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement.

Sal's Shoe Repair closed in 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, prosecutors said. The five were indicted in August 2022 as part of a larger federal investigation. While the heyday of organized crime is long past in New York—and many types of gambling that were once the exclusive domain of the Mafia are now legal in the state—Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly said the indictments were proof that "organized crime is alive and well in our communities." (More organized crime stories.)

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