BATAVIA, N.Y. (WIVB) - Two Batavia firefighters and a chef at the VA nursing home are all facing more serious felony charges for a suspected gambling operation that police say involved at least a million dollars.
Batavia firefighter Brian Bordinaro, his fellow firefighter Gregory Phillips, and his brother-in-law Lance Engel are now all charged with a Class B Felony of enterprise corruption, and a Class E felony of promoting gambling in the first degree. The men all fell under suspicious in February.
Genesee County Sheriff's Sgt. Steven Mullen said, "With bets accepted in excess of a million dollars, and profits in excess of $70,000."
Investigators say many of the bets would take place by use of cell phones and text messaging, and it may very well have happened in the firehouse while the two firemen were on duty, but investigators have yet to match up the times that the paid city firefighters were on duty. Regardless, investigators say this was not a typical office pool type of gambling, but one in which those accused profited thousands.
"Some people have lost $10, $12, $15,000 in the course of a year," Sgt. Mullen said.
All three were released on their own recognizance after each of their lawyers pleaded not guilty for them. Off camera, some say what they're accused of is no different from legalized gambling or the lottery that the state operates now. Joseph Latona represents Lance Engel, a chef at the VA nursing home in Batavia.
"As you can see, I got a ton of discovery material that was just handed to me today by the DA's office, so it's got to be thoroughly analyzed and reviewed before I form any legal opinion. I know enough about the case to enter a plea of not guilty," he said.
Enterprise corruption carries a mandatory minimum of a year in prison if convicted. There are no further court dates until October unless a grand jury indicts before then.
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