AG: 16 charged in connection with all...

AG: 16 charged in connection with alleged illegal gambling operation in McKeesport

There are 1066 comments on the WPXI story from Sep 5, 2013, titled AG: 16 charged in connection with alleged illegal gambling operation in McKeesport. In it, WPXI reports that:

Charges have been filed against more than a dozen people accused of being involved in alleged illegal gambling operation in the McKeesport area, authorities said.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at WPXI.

John

Bethlehem, PA

#566 Apr 18, 2014
You're probably right . I really didn't know too much about who had the jurisdiction to proceed . I think reading backwards the Orie girls had a long standing fued with Zapalla (local DA). If he was an initial one of the investigation , I'm not sure . As far as the poker machines go I live at the other end of the state and know three bars in my local vicinity that get tipped off , remove them for a few days and bring them back.

Other than that it's pretty common knowledge Kane blew it with her statement of dropping charges that they were racially profiled . I did think there were more police involved in the Pork Chop raid .
John

Bethlehem, PA

#568 Apr 18, 2014
It is what it is wrote:
<quoted text>
With all due respect John, you should refresh you civic courses and knowledge. The state nailed DeWeese, Veon, Habay, inter alia.
The FBI nailed Mr. Imbrogno for bid rigging in WMASD.
The FBI nailed Mr. Patal, the city BP owner, for insurance fraud.
The County nailed Ms. Orie and her sister for misuse of state resources.
How come the State and FBI did not have to go through the DA and got convictions?
The State nailed the operation Pork Chop gang of 16 without the involvement of the County or Feds.
Any one of them could have jurisdiction and weak evidence or other reasons and let a case stay in the cold file. Case in point is AG Kane letting 4 Philadelphia state elected officials walk from a solid sting operation. It was her call and a very wrong call that is now boomeranging on her in the local, state, and national news media.
Street rumors persist that the law authorities know who may be involved in the murder of a young lady in Versailles St cemetery but cannot get the evidence to indict.
I think it's our state representatives that didn't pay attention in civics class and could utilize their jail time to brush up on where they f/12345 up.
It is what it is

Mckeesport, PA

#569 Apr 18, 2014
John wrote:
<quoted text>
I think it's our state representatives that didn't pay attention in civics class and could utilize their jail time to brush up on where they f/12345 up.
John your have some excellent insights.

IMO I think that our esteemed and colossal state representative has become emboldened with success and cover ups from his many previous nefarious acts.

A late former mayor covered up the missing monies when he managed the Palisades. Some say that an audit uncovered over $15,000 unaccounted for. The late mayor blew it and covered for him.

When had the Palisades job he said he was too busy with family to prepare a required or requested report? Again, the puppet council and late mayor covered for him. He should have been fired.

Next, as the colossal president of the school board the infamous MVCM was very quickly formed by one of Brewster’s and Cherepko’s large contributors and significant pay for play beneficiary. This was on the esteemed state representative watch.

It is rumored he had a stint of employment at local manufacturing facility that do not work out too well.

Under his MASD presidency MVCM was gifted a construction management contract with a significant up from payment and was not the lowest bidder.

With all the above infractions and transgressions covered up or the no one with the courage to enforce the law, he became foolishly over confident and emboldened with the specious believe that he could operate above the law with impunity forever.

Not to mention the two residencies scam that kept him on the ballot. We believe you when you moved to live with a relative. Ha Ha!

I think his above the law winning streak may come to an abrupt end with the intercepted conversations, the hilarious female PSP sting, his grand jury subpoenaed (more than once) staffer, and someone with a strong physical resemblance attending a not so surreptitious meeting at a East Fifth Avenue tavern with Porkster, et al.

We will never know how the 37th State Grand Jury will process this in the context of AG Philadelphia matter recoil and boomerang.

We may hear nothing or there could be an indictment coming down? Only time will tell. The quiet environment at this time should not be translated into winding down of the investigation of corruption in mob valley which is rampant.

I still have confidence that AG Kathleen Kane will prosecute these Mob Valley corruption matters to the fullest extent of the law.
Larry

Homestead, PA

#570 Apr 18, 2014
So? All these years of taking money in from illegal gambling machines is all tax free?( The 5 that pleaded guilty and walked ) This story stinks to high heaven.

Who knows how much these scum crooks got over the years while collecting bags of money and not one dime went to taxes.

Free pass on that too?

So probation makes it all go away ?....LOL!
I thought the article in the Daily Snooze was a short story that hit the high points but left one shaking their head. Is there going to be a part 2 ?

This reminds me of the "hidden Easter Egg"..........whoever hides it, tells a friend, that friend finds the egg and they split the prizes..........You mean you didn't know that? LMAO!
mike ference

Pittsburgh, PA

#572 Apr 18, 2014
Mob Valley Politics and the antics of the Zappala Crime Family/Terrorist Group are all staged and rehearsed performances. Here's a classic example.

In 1948 Clairton Police Chief Peter Orsini refuses to grant licenses for Mafia Cap Antonio Ripepi gambling machines to be placed in Clairton taverns and bars. Read the article below:

http://www.post-gazette.com/news/obituaries/2...

Yet, decades later Constable Peter Orsini, who by the way is receiving his police pension by then, is arrested and does jail time for taking bribes along with several other Clairton politicians and police officers. Bribes were given out by Ripepi's son-in-law John Bazzano Jr.

John Jr.'s mother was Frank Zappala's sister and aunt of PA Supreme Court Chief Justice Stephen Zappala Sr.

Reminds me of how Senator Jimmy Brewster and all the other deMOBocrats have tried to distance themselves from gambling kingpin Porky.

Read it for yourself:

http://www.post-gazette.com/news/obituaries/2...
heavy smoker

Ashburn, VA

#575 Apr 21, 2014
mike ference wrote:
Mob Valley Politics and the antics of the Zappala Crime Family/Terrorist Group are all staged and rehearsed performances. Here's a classic example.
In 1948 Clairton Police Chief Peter Orsini refuses to grant licenses for Mafia Cap Antonio Ripepi gambling machines to be placed in Clairton taverns and bars. Read the article below:
http://www.post-gazette.com/news/obituaries/2...
Yet, decades later Constable Peter Orsini, who by the way is receiving his police pension by then, is arrested and does jail time for taking bribes along with several other Clairton politicians and police officers. Bribes were given out by Ripepi's son-in-law John Bazzano Jr.
John Jr.'s mother was Frank Zappala's sister and aunt of PA Supreme Court Chief Justice Stephen Zappala Sr.
Reminds me of how Senator Jimmy Brewster and all the other deMOBocrats have tried to distance themselves from gambling kingpin Porky.
Read it for yourself:
http://www.post-gazette.com/news/obituaries/2...
Is the Bazzano Family related to the Bazzano Family? Are they the same?
heavy smoker

Bridgeville, PA

#576 Apr 21, 2014
Sorry about the mistake ^^^ above:
Are Bazzano' s the same as Bazzone' s?
Teflon Untouchable

Mckeesport, PA

#577 Apr 21, 2014
mike ference wrote:
Mob Valley Politics and the antics of the Zappala Crime Family/Terrorist Group are all staged and rehearsed performances. Here's a classic example.
In 1948 Clairton Police Chief Peter Orsini refuses to grant licenses for Mafia Cap Antonio Ripepi gambling machines to be placed in Clairton taverns and bars. Read the article below:
http://www.post-gazette.com/news/obituaries/2...
Yet, decades later Constable Peter Orsini, who by the way is receiving his police pension by then, is arrested and does jail time for taking bribes along with several other Clairton politicians and police officers. Bribes were given out by Ripepi's son-in-law John Bazzano Jr.
John Jr.'s mother was Frank Zappala's sister and aunt of PA Supreme Court Chief Justice Stephen Zappala Sr.
Reminds me of how Senator Jimmy Brewster and all the other deMOBocrats have tried to distance themselves from gambling kingpin Porky.
Read it for yourself:
http://www.post-gazette.com/news/obituaries/2...
Mr. Ference:

We have to believe the senator when he said he barely knew any of these 16 indicted persons although more than one contributed to his political campaigns, his MDC endorsed one for council, he appointed one to the recreation commission, and promoted two on the police force.

Some on the street said they heard him say that Porkster was always there when the City needed him (I. e., to hit the gentleman for a cash contribution or a few pizzas).

Some on the street said they heard him say that told his friendly law enforcement contact to stay out of the City with respect to enforcing the gambling laws. This is why the AG and PSP did not request any local assistance.
Bruce

Homestead, PA

#578 Apr 21, 2014
does anyone know where I get a good hand job at a decent price?
Kathy Morgan

Mckeesport, PA

#579 Apr 21, 2014
Bruce wrote:
does anyone know where I get a good hand job at a decent price?
You can always find a helping hand at the end of your arm. And, you cannot beat (no pun intended) the price.
Mike Ference

Pittsburgh, PA

#580 Apr 21, 2014
heavy smoker wrote:
Sorry about the mistake ^^^ above:
Are Bazzano' s the same as Bazzone' s?
It could be the same. Immigrants coming through Ellis Island often relied on the Immigration officials to handle the paperwork which included spelling their names. You would have to prove it through documentation, i.e. obit or newspaper article, maybe a marriage license, etc.

Bazzono, Bonnano and Bazzone could all be the same name but where changed for some reason. Nowadays, to change a name is a legal matter.

Hope this helps.
Stephen Z

Homestead, PA

#581 Apr 21, 2014
mike youre chasing ghosts , you were nuts 40 years ago.
Lou

Elizabeth, PA

#582 Apr 21, 2014
Stephen Z wrote:
mike youre chasing ghosts , you were nuts 40 years ago.
Could it be Satan, Mike?
Ghost Chasing Bingo

Mckeesport, PA

#583 Apr 26, 2014
Stephen Z wrote:
mike youre chasing ghosts , you were nuts 40 years ago.

Wow! I like the part where he pleaded guilty for not reporting a felony. That could work in more than one case in the political corruptions in the port that violate certain federal statues.



Builder sentenced for role in 'kids-for-cash' scheme
April 25, 2014 11:04 PM

The Associated Press

A builder of for-profit youth detention centers was sentenced Friday to a year in prison for his role in the "kids-for-cash" juvenile justice scandal in Luzerne County in which thousands of young offenders were sent to his facilities by two judges who took money from him.

The builder, Robert Mericle, also was fined $250,000 and ordered to serve 100 hours of community service by a federal judge who increased the sentence recommended by prosecutors, citing the severity of the crime and Mr. Mericle's lies to investigators about what he knew of the judges' scheme.

Mr. Mericle, the last major figure in the scandal to be sentenced, apologized to the court.

"I'm ashamed to be here. But I put myself here," he said.

Prosecutors said two Luzerne County judges accepted $2.1 million in illegal payments from Mr. Mericle. Former Luzerne County Judges Michael Conahan and Mark Ciavarella Jr. plotted to shut down the dilapidated county-run juvenile detention center in 2002 and arrange for the construction of the PA Child Care facility outside Wilkes-Barre and a second lockup, Western PA Child Care in Allegheny Township, Butler County.

Ciavarella, who presided over juvenile court, sent young people to the for-profit detention centers -- often for minor offenses -- while he was taking payments from Mr. Mericle, a prominent builder and close friend of Ciavarella, and from the facilities' co-owner, Robert Powell.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out some 4,000 juvenile convictions after the scheme was uncovered.

Sandy Fonzo, whose son committed suicide in 2010 at the age of 23 after bouncing in and out of Ciavarella's courtroom, said Friday she was pleased with the sentence.

"He's going to feel what it's like to lose his family and sleep in a cell like the one he built for our children," she said.

Mr. Mericle had pleaded guilty to failing to report a felony.

Prosecutors had recommended six months, lower than the guideline range of eight to 14 months.

Trying to keep Mr. Mericle out of prison, defense lawyers urged U.S. District Judge Edwin Kosik to consider their client's extensive cooperation with the government, his charitable works and the potential damage a prison sentence would do to his business, one of the largest commercial construction firms in northeastern Pennsylvania.

But Judge Kosik said Mr. Mericle deserved a stiffer sentence.

While acknowledging Mr. Mericle had taken full responsibility, "his false information to the government is nothing but corruption," Judge Kosik said.

Mr. Mericle did not break the law by paying the judges, but the judges committed a crime by taking the money, and Judge Kosik said the developer had contributed to a widespread culture of corruption in Luzerne County.

Mr. Mericle closed his eyes after the sentence was handed down but otherwise showed no emotion and made no comment as he left court. His attorney said no decision had been made on whether to appeal the sentence.

A federal judge in December 2012 approved a $17.75 million settlement Mr. Mericle agreed to in a civil suit brought by a class of juvenile plaintiffs.

Conahan is serving a 17.5-year sentence in Florida; Ciavarella is serving 28 years in an Illinois prison. Powell already served an 18-month sentence.

First Published April 25, 2014 5:39 PM

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/state/2014/0...
mike ference

Pittsburgh, PA

#584 Apr 26, 2014
Funny that the Pittsburgh Pis-Gazette doesn't report that the private detention centers are owned by Gregory Zappala. Another interesting note is that Sandy Fonzo's son (woman mentioned in the above article) committed suicide on June 1, 2010. That's the same date the US Bishop's Conference elevated DA Stephen Zappala JR. to the national board that oversees clergy sex abuse cases.

His old man, the former PA Supreme Court Chief Justice sits on Zubik's diocesan review board that oversees clergy sex abuse cases. Just another level of Synchronized Crime and another way for the Zappala Crime Family/Terrorist Group to make some nice cash.

Kids for Cash, those Sicilian scumbags will do anything for money.

muff diver

Homestead, PA

#585 Apr 26, 2014
my sister does "kisses for cash' last night a guy tried to kiss her and she crossed her legs and broke his glasses.
John

Bethlehem, PA

#586 Apr 26, 2014
I didn't check local papers but they carried the whole scheme here as it unfolded . Miricle was as much a scumbag as Ciaverelli and Conahan . The sentence should have been longer for what they did .
Legal Squeeze Is On

Mckeesport, PA

#587 Apr 26, 2014
muff diver wrote:
my sister does "kisses for cash' last night a guy tried to kiss her and she crossed her legs and broke his glasses.
Does she carry crabs or liability insurance? Or, both?

Her squeezing gymnastics may result in a legal squeeze on her.
mike ference

Pittsburgh, PA

#588 Apr 27, 2014
John wrote:
I didn't check local papers but they carried the whole scheme here as it unfolded . Miricle was as much a scumbag as Ciaverelli and Conahan . The sentence should have been longer for what they did .
Mericle built the two privately owned juvenile detention centers owned by Gregory Zappala. It makes more sense that Mericle was fully aware of how the scheme was going to work from the onset. In addition, the judge ordered another juvenile facility closed which forced even more, if not all of the kids to the Zappala-owned private juvenile detention centers.

Although no one is permitted to write that Zappala was the owner from the very beginning. Even Wikipedia is not permitted to use the Zappala name.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kids_for_cash_sc...
mike ference

Pittsburgh, PA

#589 Apr 27, 2014
Corrupt Organizations and Racketeering in Central Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania law defines organized crime as one or more persons engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity.“Racketeering” is broadly defined, but it can include any of the following acts: homicide, terroristic threats, kidnapping, human trafficking, arson, criminal mischief, property destruction, robbery, theft, bribery and corrupt influence, commercial bribery, rigging publicly exhibited contests, insurance fraud, falsification and intimidation, dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, lottery-related offenses, gambling-related offenses, bookmaking, public indecency, sale or dispensing of illegal drugs, conspiracy to commit any of these acts, or loan sharking. A “pattern of racketeering activity” is conduct that includes any two or more of these crimes.

Corrupt Organizations: What Is Illegal Under Pennsylvania Law

Committing any of the acts that constitute racketeering is a serious crime in itself. But Pennsylvania law adds substantial new penalties when the racketeering activity involves the corruption of a business enterprise. Under the corrupt organizations statute, it is illegal to acquire or maintain interest in or control of any business enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity. It is also illegal to invest in a business enterprise using proceeds from a pattern of racketeering activity, except under limited circumstances. It is illegal for a person employed by or associated with a business enterprise to conduct or participate in the business’s affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity. And it is illegal, finally, to conspire to commit any of these crimes. Conspiracy charges do not require that a defendant know the identity of all participants in the conspiracy or that he know everything the other parties are doing — only that he agree with at least one other person that they will commit, attempt or solicit acts that violate the Corrupt Organizations Act, and that at least one of the conspirators commit an overt act in furtherance of that crime.

Corrupt Organizations: Penalties in Central Pennsylvania

Conviction under Pennsylvania’s corrupt organizations statute is a first-degree felony. It carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. A first offense comes with a mandatory minimum sentence of nine to 16 months in jail; a second offense comes with at least one year; and minimum sentences increase from there. But it is important to remember that charges under the Corrupt Organizations Act are rarely if ever filed alone. If you are charged with this crime, you will almost certainly face additional charges for the underlying racketeering activity. For example, if you were charged with one count of bookmaking, one count of running an illegal gambling operation and one count of corrupt organizations, you could face a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison: 20 years for the first-degree felony of corrupt organizations plus five years each for the first-degree misdemeanors of bookmaking and illegal gambling.

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