Penny Gambling Ring Father And Son Charged

By Ben Hamill - September 22 2020
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Penny Gambling Ring Father And Son Charged

A Pennsylvania-based father and son alliance recently pled guilty to several charges related to everything from illegal betting on state Lottery numbers to unlicensed bookmaking.

Pittsburgh’s Robert “Bobby I” Iannelli, 90, and Rodney “Rusty” Ianelli, 60, of Wexford, admitted to having run an illegal organised gambling and betting ring spanning several decades in the region of western Pennsylvania and surrounds. The charges owned up to also include, in the case of son Rusty Ianelli, the conspiracy to engage in illegal Lotteries and sports-booking.

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Charges Years In The Making

Following a 2015 grand jury investigation, the father-and-son duo were originally charged along with 11 others by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office. According to a local news publication, the illegal gambling ring generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in illicit profits each week – whereafter the money would then be laundered via a wedding vendor business.

The successful arrests recently made were reportedly the result of a 2016-17 investigation that had spanned 6 months, and one that relied on at least five court-mandated wiretaps for the gathering of evidence against the pair.

Described as a lucrative illegal gambling and lottery business and a “substantial” operation by Deputy Attorney Mark Serge, the Penny father-and-son’s illicit dealings had reported spanned Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, and far into Westmoreland County.

The Punishment

According to the reported details of the plea agreement entered into alongside the duo, the pair will jointly be responsible for paying a fine equal to US$300,000. And in addition to the fine, they will also have to forfeit an amount of US$225,000 in supposed illegal gambling profits. Westmoreland County Court for Common Pleas Judge Meagan Bilik-De Fazio sentence both men to ten years behind bars – but on probation.

But according to a 1990 report published by Pennsylvania law enforcement authorities, Robert Iannelli’s illegal dealings go way back to the late 1950s, during which he had been closely involved with notorious mafia boss Vito Genovese. Started out a nickel-and-dime bookie, Iannelli eventually over time became more deeply involved in bookmaking rackets and illegal wagering on Lotto numbers.

A dab hand at avoiding the long arm of the law, Robert Iannelli reportedly remained in business for more than a quarter of a century after the original LaRocca-Genovese family crime ring had dissolved.

Now of a senior age and reportedly suffering of a heart ailment, Robert Ianelli attended court aided by a wheelchair and oxygen tank.

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