9 accused of gambling, loansharking
PHILADELPHIA — A Philadelphia-area gambling ring used a gun and hatchet to threaten at least one customer as they operated out of bars, pizzerias and restaurants, federal authorities charged on Friday.
The racketeering indictment said one person alleged to be a ringleader, Ylli Gjeli, slammed a hatchet onto the table as a customer pulled his hand away and put a gun to his head while threatening him in the basement of a bar.
The gambling and loansharking activities allegedly took place at several Philadelphia-area bars, pizza parlors and coffee shops.
Gjeli, 48, and eight other defendants were arrested Friday morning. All are from the Philadelphia area. It was not clear whether they have lawyers.
The case is being prosecuted by the Justice Department's organized crime and gang section.
“The defendants allegedly victimized people twice over,” said FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Ed Hanko, “preying on them financially by providing loans at outrageous interest rates to those unable to obtain them from traditional sources, then using threats and violence to collect on these illegal loans.”
The defendants used coded language to hide their activities and patted down participants to be sure they weren't armed or wearing recording devices, the indictment said.
Gjeli and the other alleged ringleader, 41-year-old Fatimir Mustafaraj, face life in prison if convicted of all of the charges, while the others face a maximum of 20 years, authorities said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Family wins back rare gold coins
- Allentown Mayor Pawlowski to run for U.S. Senate
- Another PennDOT contractor charged with corruption
- Goodyear deal with PennDOT blurs lines of business, government
- Greene County Veterans Affairs office plans meetings to offer info, assistance with benefits
- Wolf criticizes UPMC wages; health giant suggests union motivations
- Legislators ask Pennsylvania AG Kane to examine claims of fraud in racino agreement
- Sandusky adopted son joins call to widen lawsuit time limits
- Johnstown police search for suspect after man fatally shot in car