Convicted Illegal Bookmaker with Ties to Chicago Outfit Faces New Federal Charges
Posted on: October 6, 2020, 10:24h.
Last updated on: October 6, 2020, 12:35h.
A Chicago man who in 2002 was sentenced to 3½ years in federal prison for operating an illegal gambling ring under the protection of the mob is facing new charges.
The US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois alleges Gregory Emmett Paloian, 66, of Elmwood Park, ran an illegal sports betting business from 2015 through 2019. He’s been charged with one count of conducting an illegal gambling business.
In paperwork filed with the US District Court in Chicago, federal authorities are seeking the forfeiture of $274,070 and a 2017 Audi automobile.
The illegal gambling charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The DOJ reminds that a charge is not evidence of guilt, and the defendant is presumed innocent until the government proves guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Paloian is certainly a name familiar with Illinois law enforcement. His rap sheet dates back decades, first starting with a 1980 conviction for organizing so-called “juice loans” from mob syndicates to indebted gamblers.
Juice loans are offered by loan sharks. The money comes with interest rates far exceeding the established legal rate. Those who do not pay on their loans are often subjected to threats and violent retaliation.
Suspected of running an illegal sports gambling ring, officers approached Paloian in 1995 after spotting him writing ticket wagers for gamblers. Paloian reportedly stuffed the papers in his mouth and “fell to the ground and rolled around” to swallow the paper.
When police raided Paloian’s home three years later in 1998, they found a secret wall compartment with more than $150,000 in cash, jewelry, gold, and soluble paper bookies prefer.
Paloian pleaded guilty in 2002 to federal racketeering charges and running an underground bookmaking business. Paloian admitted he was aligned with Rocky Infelise, a feared Chicago Outfit mobster and enforcer. Paloian said mobster Jimmy Inendino provided juice loans, and followed up on outstanding debts.
I am telling you straight that I treated everyone fair. I worked hard, in an illegal thing. But, honestly, I thought if I paid taxes, it took the illegality out of it,” Paloian said at the time.
“Paloian said that a bettor would be told cannons would be pointed at his head if he didn’t pay,” prosecutors declared during the 2002 sentencing.
Legal Illinois Sports Betting
Sports betting is now legal in Illinois — so long as bookmakers lawfully obtain permits from the state.
DraftKings, FanDuel, William Hill, BetRivers, and PointsBet are all up and running online and at brick-and-mortar casinos and horse racetracks. New sports bettors can register in person or online. As major collegiate and professional sports returned this summer after being put on hold because of the coronavirus, Illinois sportsbooks reported taking roughly $52.5 million in wagers in July.
Unlike illegal bookmakers, regulated sportsbooks share profits with the state. Along with an upfront $10 million licensing fee, operators direct 15 percent of their sports betting win to the government.
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