Bookie mom breaks the mold - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Bookie mom breaks the mold

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Of the dozens of hardened criminals rounded up when authorities busted an alleged mob-linked gambling and drug ring in 2010, one defendant received little notice.

Lynne Strazzere identified as being part of the "Rossetti Criminal Organization," named after its head, reputed mobster and suspected murder Mark Rossetti But in a way, Strazzere, a working mom from Reading, is worlds away from her co-defendants.

She now runs a Stoneham miniature golf course, the latest chapter in the busy life of what seems like a typical suburban mom. She is also a real estate agent and was an active volunteer in youth activities, a striking difference from her previous job for which she was charged: taking illegal sports bets.

At an October 2010 press conference announcing the indictments, prosecutors laid out seized weapons, drugs and cash seized and described how the investigation started with gambling and grew from there. The head of that gambling ring was allegedly run by Joseph Giallanella.

 "Through sophisticated surveillance we discovered a network of illegal activity that went well beyond the original gaming and loan sharking scheme. These individuals involved committed acts of violence and viscious attacks," said Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett. "During the course of the investigation our surveillance expanded and we learned about additional players associated with Mr. Giallanella."

Among those additional players was Strazzere, who court records show was busy with more than bake sales.

After her conversations were picked up on State Police wiretaps, her home was searched and police "seized paperwork alleged to document online betting and also took some money from a safe in the family home," records show.

FOX Undercover has also learned that her betting clients included an elected official and someone working in a Massachusetts court.

How could someone who by outward appearances was living the life of a suburban soccer mom also be a mob-related bookie?

Psychotherapist Karen Ruskin said many people "need what seems wrong in order to feel right."

 "It is very hard for many to understand how it makes sense that a person could live one life and live another life that seems like it's in such contradiction, as though you're living two opposite sides of self. But the fact is, just because you're living one life, mother, wife, involved in your kid's activities, job, that does not necessarily mean anything about what lurks within," Ruskin said.

Asking the judge for a light sentence, Strazzere's attorney filed court papers drawing attention to her client's other side.

Until she was indicted "she was extremely active in her community," the attorney wrote, volunteering for "religious education and children's athletics."

She had only a "minor" role in the crimes but was "inaccurately linked by association to far more serious offenses," he wrote.

The result has been that "she has been subjected to public ridicule" and "has been forced to change her life with respect to her involvement in her community," he wrote.

Her husband, Giant Glass vice president Guy Strazzere, was also involved in politics, donating more than $14,175 to state politicians between 2002 and 2010, state campaign finance records show.

 "Nobody knows truly what goes on behind closed doors in someone else's home, the skeletons that are behind the closed door in your neighbor's home. Often you have no idea," Ruskin said.

Strazzere pleaded guilty last year to using a telephone for gaming and conspiracy and was sentenced to a year of probation. Thirty-one defendants in all have been charged in this case, ten of whom have pleaded guilty. Seven of those 10, including Strazzere, have received sentences of probation.  The alleged ringleader, Mark Rossetti, as well as Giallanella both have upcoming trials.

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