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Hearing in offshore betting case expected

PHILADELPHIA, May 16 (UPI) -- A bail hearing in New Jersey is expected Monday for Nicodemo S. Scarfo, accused of helping to run an international betting operation, authorities say.

Scarfo, arrested Friday outside his Atlantic City home and taken to Morris County Jail, stands accused of being part of a sports-betting operation that used the Internet, Web sites, passwords and a wire room based in Costa Rica to allegedly move more than $2 billion in a 15-month span, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Sunday.

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Scarfo, 44, faces charges of conspiracy, gambling and racketeering.

The New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice conducting Operation Heat swept up Scarfo along with 33 other reputed members or associates of the New York Luccese crime family, the Inquirer said.

Scarfo is also the target of a federal investigation into money-laundering and fraud charges linked to the Texas firm FirstPlus Financial.

Investigators say they suspect Scarfo and Elkins Park, Pa., businessman Salvatore Pelullo to be behind-the-scenes figures in a scheme to loot the firm of several million dollars.

The FBI seized documents tied to FirstPlus in Texas, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but there have been no additional arrests so far, the Inquirer reported.

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