Philly family-run illegal street lottery made millions, prosecutors say

A backdoor lottery operated around Philly was illegally netting millions of dollars in profits for its proprietors, prosecutors announced Friday.

Now nine people, including four members of the Creagh family – whose patriarch Gary Creagh Sr., 66, was reportedly the mastermind of the scam – are under arrest and facing criminal charges that could net them each up to 65 years in prison.

“The illegal Creagh organization was truly a family affair, one that generated millions of dollars from dozens of nondescript locations across the City of Philadelphia,” said interim Philly DA Kelley B. Hodge. “I congratulate everyone who worked on this case for shutting down this elaborate and illegal street lottery organization.”

The so-called “Creagh organization” was setup in unmarked building at 40 different spots around the city – “highly organized,” according to the DA’s office, and typically in low-income neighborhoods – with a lookout and bookie, who would admit  only vetted, known guests who knocked on the door.

Players would pick numbers and bet certain amounts of money on each number, which would be determined by various factors, including state lottery drawings and horse races. The Creagh organization offered a 700 to one return, compared to state lotteries which pay 500 to one.

From just 2011 to 2014, Creagh Sr. reportedly deposited $3 million made in the illegal game, all broken up among various banks and in chunks ranging from $5-9,000. Some of those profits went into assets.

“Creagh spent almost $500,000 on luxury vehicles and millions of dollars to purchase numerous properties in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Florida, and Nevada,” prosecutors asserted.

Creagh Sr. was described by prosecutors as “owner and chief operator.

His online LinkedIn profile claims he works in “acquisition and management,” and his professional history states that he has been the owner of “self” since 1973.

Creagh Sr.’s nephew Frank Creagh, 49, allegedly collected money and assisted in “overall management.” His daughter Kerri Creagh, 50, allegedly assisted in financial management.

William Creagh, 48, allegedly assisted in general maintenance and management. Staffers kept betting locations supplied with betting slips, phones, tables, chairs, coffee makers, coffee, milk, sugar and paper towels.

Non-Creagh defendants include Mark Matera, who allegedly owned several of the locations, participated in revenue collections and management, and Kenneth Athy, Jabbar Curry, John McAnaney, and Carlos Santiago, who were all reportedly involved in pick-ups and drop-offs of payments.

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