Pennsylvania: illegal gambling ring sentenced

Four men have been sentenced and another seven may be charged.
Four men have been sentenced and another seven may be charged.

Four members of an illegal gambling ring with ties to organised crime have been tried in Western Pennsylvania.

US.- Four men have been found guilty in Westmoreland County for their roles in a gambling ring that state prosecutors say is tied to organised crime.

According to the website TribLive, Deputy Attorney General Mark Serge said the men were “low-level” operators in a criminal organisation. They were charged following an investigation that included five wire taps over a six-month period between late 2016 and early 2017.

The ring is believed to have generated hundreds of thousands of dollars each week by taking bets on state lottery numbers and sporting events.

Serge said: “This was a very cash-intensive business and very profitable”.

Harry Ronald Stetson, 72, of Sharpsburg, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of conspiracy and bookmaking, was sentenced by Common Pleas Court Judge Meagan Bilik-DeFazio to serve six months on probation.

Floyd A. Panella, 69, of Beaver County, and James Roger Martorella, 71, of Pittsburgh, pleaded guilty to summary disorderly conduct charges and each were fined US$300.

A fourth man, Arden Metcalfe, 64, of Monongahela, was sentenced to serve six months on probation for two counts of bookmaking and was admitted into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Programme for first-time, non-violent offenders.

The judge ordered all four to repay the state more than US$39,000 for costs associated with the wire taps of phones and fax machines that were part of the investigation.

Serge said the gambling ring was led by a father and son, Robert “Bobby I” Iannelli, 90, of Wexford, and his son, Rodney “Rusty” Iannelli, 60, of Pittsburgh. They have yet to be sentenced and are still going through plea negotiations. Westmoreland County could present charges against seven others linked to the gambling ring.

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