SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Two men accused of running an illegal gambling and loansharking operation out of a Springfield bar are free on $20,000 bail.
Not guilty pleas were entered for Rex Cunningham, 65, and Brian Hoyle, 59, during their arraignment Thursday morning at Hampden Superior Court. A grand jury indicted them last month on a series of charges, including organizing and promoting illegal gambling, loansharking, money laundering, and witness intimidation.
The Attorney General’s Office alleges that the two accepted bets from patrons at O’Brien’s Corner on Page Boulevard, and then ran them through a sports gambling website they were managing out of the bar. They also allegedly collected debts at rates between 150 and 200%.
“This illegal sports betting operation took advantage of compulsive gamblers by charging extremely high interest rates and aggressively pursuing debts in order to turn a profit,” Attorney General Maura Healey said in a news release sent to 22News following the indictments. “These loansharking enterprises are illegal in Massachusetts and our office will continue to work with our state partners to investigate and prosecute those who commit these crimes in an attempt to circumvent state gambling laws.”
Cunningham and Hoyle must wear GPS monitoring devices, and have orders to stay away from any of their alleged victims. They are due back in court on November 10.