SPRINGFIELD (AP) – A suspended court officer has pleaded innocent to criminal charges of participating in an illegal sports betting ring.

Charles P. Catjakis, 41, of Springfield was accused of possessing a device that registers bets and unlawful use of a telephone for gaming purposes, the Springfield Republican reported on Thursday. He pleaded innocent on Wednesday during his arraignment at Hampden Superior Court.

Catjakis, a court officer in the Holyoke District Court, was suspended without pay pending the outcome of his case.

Eight people allegedly participated in a gambling operation that collected up to $150,000 weekly by using local offices and a toll-free betting line in Costa Rica, prosecutors said.

Four other men pleaded innocent on Monday to gambling-related charges. Those men were identified as David Moretti, John J. Badone and Richard B. Fattini Jr. of Agawam, and Nathalino D. Zamboni of Springfield.

Moretti also pleaded innocent to cocaine trafficking and conspiring to violate drug laws.

Pretrial conferences were scheduled for Jan. 22.

Investigators said murdered mob boss Adolfo M. Bruno of Agawam controlled the operation.

Bruno was shot and killed on Nov. 23 in Springfield. No one has been charged in the murder.

Catjakis’ lawyer, George C. McMahon of Quincy, denied that his client participated in a gambling conspiracy.

“He is not part of any organization of any kind,” McMahon said.

Catjakis is the son of former state Rep. Athan “Soco” Catjakis.

AP-ES-01-01-04 1906EST

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