3 to plead guilty in gambling ring
DA O’Keefe denies link to Cape operation
An investigation into illegal gambling on Cape Cod that triggered a wider federal probe of alleged public corruption involving Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael D. O’Keefe has resulted in charges against three members of an alleged gambling ring. All three are now cooperating with authorities and have agreed to plead guilty, according to documents unsealed yesterday.
Adam Hart, 84, and William Neofotistos, 60, both of Dennisport, and Timothy Reardon, 32, of Barnstable were charged with operating an illegal gambling operation. Hart and Neofotistos were also charged with conspiring to obstruct a Massachusetts State Police investigation into their activities, according to the documents. The documents state that the obstruction of justice charges relate to an “illegal gambling business where one or more of such persons was an elected official of the Commonwealth.’’ The official was not identified.
Also, according to the documents, “an elected law enforcement official’’ notified Hart that the gambling business was the subject of a state law enforcement investigation. The elected official was not identified.
In a telephone interview yesterday, O’Keefe, a 60-year-old two-term Republican district attorney, denied that he is the public official mentioned in the documents as being linked to a gambling ring.
“I have never been involved in any gambling ring, period,’’ he said.
The Globe, citing people with direct knowledge of the investigation, reported in April 2010 that the State Police probe of Hart had sparked a federal investigation of O’Keefe. The investigation was launched after a relative of Hart’s made a comment on a wiretap that suggested the district attorney may have protected illegal gamblers in the past.
US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz’s office then took the lead role in the investigation, which is being conducted by the FBI and State Police.
The Globe reported that authorities were looking into whether O’Keefe protected alleged bookmakers operating on the Cape and gave favorable treatment to Hart’s grandson in an unrelated criminal case.
The investigation was being presented to a federal grand jury in Worcester, and a number of witnesses testified. The full scope of the grand jury investigation is unclear, and there is no indication it will result in criminal charges against O’Keefe.
During the interview yesterday, O’Keefe reiterated a statement he made at the time: “I do not now, nor have I ever had any association with gaming. Any assertion of wrongdoing by me or my office is completely false.’’
He added that his record as a prosecutor and former Dennis police officer for more than 30 years is “one of integrity and speaks for itself.’’
The documents unsealed yesterday officially inform the federal court that Hart, Neofotistos, and Reardon have been charged with the crimes and that they plan to plead guilty. A hearing has not yet been scheduled.
The plea agreements were made and signed in summer 2010. Prosecutors would not say why the charges were unsealed this week, months after the plea agreements were reached, only saying that the investigation remains ongoing.
Robert A. George, a lawyer who represents Hart and Reardon, declined to comment yesterday. Andrew DiCarlo Berman, who represents Neofotistos, did not return a call for comment.
The documents state that the three men were leaders of an organized sports betting ring based on Cape Cod and that Neofotistos and Hart obstructed a State Police investigation into their ring from December 2006 through May 2007.
Hart, a convicted bookmaker, founded the Ocean House Restaurant and Three Seasons Lodge in Dennisport, both of which are still run by his family. Neofotistos was his partner in the betting ring, according to an FBI affidavit filed in an unrelated gambling case. Reardon is married to Hart’s granddaughter.
The Globe reported last year that federal prosecutors filed a sealed civil forfeiture complaint in US District Court seeking to seize Hart’s restaurant and lodge.
According to the documents made public yesterday, Hart agreed in the plea deal to forfeit $750,000 in cash and faces 24 to 30 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release as part of the agreement.
Reardon, who faces 12 to 18 months in prison, and Neofotistos, whose potential prison term could not be determined yesterday, also agreed to forfeit $17,000 seized in Florida, and $1,580 seized from a home in Barnstable.
Shelley Murphy of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Milton Valencia can be reached at email@example.com.