04/25/2002 12:00AM

Tellers plead guilty in laundering


NEW YORK - Three former New York Racing Association mutuel tellers pleaded guilty on Wednesday in a Saratoga County courtroom to charges of money laundering, conspiracy, and falsifying business records.

The tellers - Pete Oster, 65, Joseph Rabito, 60, and Robert Lodati, 60 - were charged last year after a lengthy police investigation and sting operation. Undercover police officers posed as drug dealers and used the tellers to exchange reputed drug profits for cash at the tracks, according to New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer. The tellers worked at Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga.

Spitzer recommended probation for the three. A fourth indicted teller, Robert Marshall, died late last year.

Paul Larrabee, a spokesman for Spitzer, said investigators are continuing to look into allegations of money laundering at NYRA tracks.

A public official with knowledge of the investigation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the tellers are being asked to turn over other mutuel tellers who might have participated in the scheme.

Sentencing is scheduled for the first week of July. The sentences will likely depend on how useful the former tellers are to the ongoing investigation, the official said.