Ex-trooper stands accused
US Attorney Trini E. Ross has announced charges against a former New York State Police (NYSP) trooper that include tipping off members of an illegal $10m sports gambling ring in Rochester to ongoing investigations.
obstruction of a state or local law enforcement investigation”
On Tuesday, Ross read out a criminal complaint that charged Thomas J. Loewke, 51, of Rochester with “obstruction of a state or local law enforcement investigation and obstruction of an official proceeding.” The news arm of the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York took to Twitter to share the federal ruling:
The illegal gambling operation involved in the case was managed by multiple owners through accounts on the website sport700.com. With unusually wide stakeholder access to the site and a questionable corporate structure, the ring’s sports betting operations combined to contravene multiple New York State gambling laws.
According to the release, the charges come with a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
Giant probe pays off
Investigators unearthed the ex-trooper’s name as they probed deeper into sport700.com from October 2020.
In a criminal complaint filed Monday in US District Court in Buffalo, prosecutors said the illegal gambling business raked in illicit profits of more than $10m on a five-year spree that ended in 2021. The complaint accused Loewke of tipping off co-conspirators who:
conducted, financed, managed, supervised, directed and owned an illegal gambling business.”
One piece of evidence used by prosecutors is a wiretapped recording of two high-profile members of the ring following a search warrant executed on January 3, 2021. One suspect spoke of a tip-off by “a member of the State Police named ‘T.J.’” During this time, Loewke served as a sergeant with the NYSP.
Allegedly, the DOJ news release reveals, T.J. tipped the suspect off about the joint federal, state, and local law enforcement probe headed-up by Homeland Security Investigations. The wiretaps revealed talk of altering passwords and domain names, and evading prosecution by erasing the site’s online betting history.
New York cops in the spotlight
After Loewke’s first appearance in US District Court on Tuesday, US Magistrate Judge Marian W. Payson ruled that the ex-NYSP man was “released with conditions” ahead of his next court date.
Loewke’s case echoes that of Ludwig Paz, a former New York Police Department (NYPD) vice detective who received a prison sentence in 2019 for masterminding a gambling and prostitution ring in NY State. Paz recruited cops to his ring who would warn of raids and undercover stings.