A mortician in Staten Island, New York was found guilty in federal court of running an illegal poker game and may be sentenced to up to 16 months in jail.
Known as “The Undertaker,” Joseph Fumando and his attorney were not able to convince a Brooklyn Federal Court jury that Fumando was simply a participant in the game and not its operator. The jurors deliberated only 20 minutes before returning the guilty verdict, which may cause the 42-year-old to surrender his mortician’s license, the New York Daily News reported.
The feds were tipped off to the whereabouts of the underground poker game after a plainclothes detective with the NYPD happened to spill the beans about the Staten Island gambling club while wearing a wire. Twelve other suspects were arrested in addition to Fumando, including two firemen and a retired police sergeant.
One of the club’s dealers testified against Fumando after cutting a deal with prosecutors. Deborah Berardi told the court that the club provided food and shoulder massages for the players. But more damaging was her testimony that a rake of 5% was taken from each pot.
Shades of Molly Bloom
Just a few months ago, illegal poker in New York also took center stage when Molly Bloom received probation and community service for her role in hosting high stakes games and raking the pot. Poker games run by the “Poker Princess” seated a number of well-known athletes and Hollywood movie stars.
Bloom has since told her story in a book title “Molly’s Game: From Hollywood’s Elite to Wall Street’s Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker” that was published by HarperCollins. The latest gossip from the rumor mill reveals that Hollywood is interested in bringing Bloom’s tale to the silver screen.
Those who have yet to read the tell-all from the Poker Princess may want to first read a review by James McManus, author of “Cowboys Full – The Story of Poker” and “Positively Fifth Street.” McManus, who finished fifth at the 2000 WSOP Main Event and is approaching $800K in lifetime earnings, believes Bloom’s prose may be fudging the facts.