A former NYPD officer has been charged with involvement in an illegal sports gambling operation.
Thomas Loewke, 51, of Rochester, NY, was arrested and charged with obstructing an investigation by state or local law enforcement agencies and obstructing an official proceeding, according to an announcement from the US Department of Justice. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Assistant US Attorney Meghan McGuire said Tuesday that, according to the complaint, in October 2020, Homeland Security Investigations joined an ongoing joint investigation by federal, state and local law enforcement into gaming activities of illegal gambling.
One of the activities was an illegal bookmaker operation operated via account on the website sport700.com. Several company members accessed the website to manage and operate the business, violating various New York State laws, the government said.
During the investigation, investigators intercepted a series of calls and text messages between investigation targets, sub-agents and individual bettors discussing placing bets, collecting winnings and paying losses.
On January 3, 2021, a search warrant was executed on an account belonging to an individual identified as Target 1. An account review indicated that Target 1 had 16 sub-agents collectively managing 221 individual bettor accounts.
Over the life of the account, from April 2019 to January 2021, Target 1 generated $1,241,172 in profit. In February 2021, a search warrant was executed on an account belonging to a second target of the investigation. Target 2 account was created on April 25, 2016, had 128 sub-agent accounts managing 1,789 individual bettors and profits of $8,945,629.
During the investigation, detectives overheard a phone call between Target 1 and Target 2, during which Target 1 claimed that a member of the New York State Troopers named “TJ” had informed them of the ongoing investigation. The targets then discussed changing the website’s passwords and domain name, and clearing their betting history to avoid detection.
At the time, Loewke was a sergeant in the New York State Police.