Vice detectives arrested five people Saturday on suspicion of operating an illegal gambling operation that took in at least $600,000 a week in bets, mostly in the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles police said.
The arrests were part of a three-month investigation and occurred as the police searched seven residences, including one on the Westside and one in downtown Los Angeles, Sgt. Bill Martin said.
Two others at first taken into custody were released for lack of evidence, Martin said. He said felony bookmaking charges will be sought against Richard Ramey, 48, and Susan Beerman, 39, both of Van Nuys; Alvin Levitt, 65, and Marie Salaun, 40, both of West Los Angeles, and a 46-year-old Chatsworth woman whose name was withheld because of a continuing investigation.
In addition to seizing $85,000 cash, investigators found written records of bookmaking, Martin said.
The bets included wagers on horse races and major college and professional sporting contests, the sergeant said.
Levitt is a veteran bookmaker with a number of gambling convictions, but the operation had no distinct leader, Martin said. The bookmakers were linked loosely in that they sought to increase their profits by sharing information about betting trends, he said.
Asked how significant the alleged gambling ring's operations were, Martin said, "I don't know of any others that are operating right now that are of this size."