Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Genovese gangster pleads guilty to operating gambling ring out of shoe store on Long Island

A Long Island cobbler known as “Sal the Shoemaker” has admitted running an illegal gambling ring raising money for the Mafia out of his now-shuttered store.

Salvatore Rubino pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to a slew of charges related to the illegal gambling business and using the proceeds to bolster the coffers of the notorious Genovese crime family, federal prosecutors have announced.

He told a judge in Brooklyn federal court that there were gambling machines installed in the back of Sal’s Shoe Repair in Merrick, where he also operated poker games three nights each week, Newsday reported.

Rubino, 60, and Joseph Rutigliano, 65 — known as “Joe Box” — would collect the profits for the Genoveses and distribute the funds to high-ranking members.

Their operation was active from May 2012 through 2021, when Sal’s Shoe Repair had to shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, other mobsters operated out of seemingly innocuous business fronts across Long Island, including a gelato shop in Lynbrook called the Gran Caffe Gelateria and Centro Calcio Italiano Club in West Babylon, prosecutors said.

The businesses secretly operated poker-type gambling machines and poker games, and would bring in more than $2,000 in a single day, the feds said.

Four others involved in the massive operation pleaded guilty earlier this month, including Rutigliano and Carmelo “Carmine” Polito, 64, the alleged acting captain of the Genovese crime family, who also faced charges for running an illegal online sports betting operation through a website called PGW Lines.

He once threatened to “break” a debtor’s “face” before instructing an underling in 2019 to relay the message, “Tell him I’m going to put him under the f–king bridge,” according to prosecutors.

Joseph Macario, 69 — aka “Joe Fish” — also pleaded guilty to racketeering charges, and Mark Feuer, 61, pleaded guilty to felony charges relating to the operation of other illegal gambling businesses.

“With their guilty pleas, these five members and associates of the Genovese crime family have admitted they committed crimes to benefit a criminal enterprise notorious for inflicting harm on our communities for generations,” US Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement.

“As long as the Mafia doesn’t get it that illegal gambling is a losing proposition, they can bet on this office and our partners vigorously enforcing the law and flushing them out of the shadows,” he added.

Rubino is expected to be sentenced to between four and 10 months in prison as part of a plea deal — though he could face up to five years behind bars and have to pay $250,000 in fines, Newsday reported.



  1. You know they have all these legal gambling sites like draft kings etc.why don't they just leave ITALIANS alone I don't see them busting other ethnic groups for the same flipping thing! What a disgrace singling out Italians I'm Sicilian..what a DISGRACE!!

  2. Singling out ITALIANS! Bit no other ethnic groups!