The head of a New York racketeering gang known as “the Diamond Enterprise” pleaded guilty to a litany of charges in a federal court Thursday. Prosecutors say the group ran a network of illegal gambling parlors in Brooklyn.
Abduraman “Diamond” Iseni admitted to eight counts of criminal conduct, including overseeing a multi-year racketeering enterprise, interstate threats, money laundering, bank fraud conspiracy, false statements to a bank, and two gambling conspiracy offenses.
According to prosecutors, the Diamond Enterprise was founded on the revenues generated by its gambling network, which included “Sports Café,” “Friendly Café,” and “Oasis Café.” These venues hosted underground poker games and illegal sports books. The gang laundered profits from the business through a complex network of bank accounts in an effort to conceal its operations.
While prosecutors said the Enterprise was overseen by Iseni, he did not participate in the day-to-day-running of the gambling network. Instead, he offered “protection, connections, and substantial influence in the criminal underworld” to the network in return for a substantial share of the spoils.
As he admitted today, Abduraman Iseni led a network of underground gambling establishments to prop up a criminal enterprise under his control. Iseni engaged in a series of additional crimes, including money laundering, threatening a victim with physical violence, and defrauding and lying to banks in an effort to receive money to which he was not entitled,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams in a statement.
Thanks to the hard work of our partners at the FBI, Iseni stands convicted of numerous offenses and awaits sentencing for his years of crime,” Williams added.
A total of 16 Enterprise members were arrested on December 10 in a joint FBI and NYPD operation. Most of the Ethnic-Albanian gang were indicted on charges related to the illegal gambling operations. Along with Iseni, three others, Ervin “Vinny” Makishti, Sokol Gjoni, and Miralem Ljuljanovic, face more serious racketeering charges.
“The web of alleged crimes unveiled by this federal indictment victimized everyday New Yorkers, undercut a federal aid program and eroded the fabric of life in the city. I commend our NYPD detective and federal partners for their sustained work in this important case,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a statement on the day of the arrests.
In 2011, Iseni was spared prison after he was charged by federal prosecutors with conspiracy to launder the profits of narcotics offenses. Instead, he was ordered to pay a penalty of $300,000.
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