THE LEADER OF THE GAMBLING BUSINESS OF PENNSYLVANIA PLEADED GUILTY!
The 90-year-old Robert “Bobby I” Iannelli and his son pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $300,000 to resolve charges the family operated a sports betting and numbers running business dating back
Robert “Bobby I” Iannelli, 90, of Pittsburgh, admitted to running corrupt organizations and running illegal lotteries. His son, Rodney “Rusty” Iannelli, 60, from Wexford, pleaded guilty to organizing illegal lotteries, bookmakers, and conspiracy to participate in illegal third-party lotteries / bookmakers.
Both were sentenced by Judge Meagan Bilik-DeFazio, under terms of negotiated plea bargains, to serve 10 years on probation. Both were ordered to pay $225,000 as a forfeiture of money they earned from the illegal betting as well as an additional $75,000.
The investigation focused on a gambling business that allegedly brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars a week, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported. The investigators said the Iannellis used a local wedding vendor to launder proceeds of the gambling ring.
The Iannellis were charged with 11 others following a 6-month jury investigation launched in 2016-2017.
“They’re in the gambling business. It’s lotteries and bookmaking. It’s a lucrative job,” said Deputy Attorney General Mark Serge. “This part of the operation spans Pittsburgh, eastern Allegheny County and into Westmoreland County. It was a substantial operation.”
According to a 1990 Pennsylvania Crime Commission report Robert Iannelli was identified as an associate of Pittsburgh’s former LaRocca-Genovese organized crime operation. The family is named after former bosses John LaRocca and Michael Genovese.
Michael Genovese was a cousin of reputed mob boss Vito Genovese, Donald Liddick Jr., a professor at Penn State University who has authored a textbook on organized crime. Vito Genovese led the Genovese crime family between 1957 and 1969. More recently, some of its associates have been arrested on illegal gambling charges.
Michael Genovese took over the operation in Pittsburgh in 1984 when John LaRocca died, Liddick said. He added that the Pittsburgh family operated mostly “independent of the New York hierarchy.” He explained the LaRocca-Genovese family was later “decimated by criminal prosecutions in the 1990s.”
Robert Iannelli started as a bookmaker, Pennsylvania-based journalist and author Rich Gazarik told. The crime report said that he became increasingly involved in illegal numbers and bookmaker’s. The organization eventually became a multimillion-dollar business.
Liddick claims Iannelli was a “big time numbers guy and great bookmaker around Pittsburgh for decades, from the late ’50s to the present day.” He “managed to stay in business for more than a quarter century after the dissolution of the formal Pittsburgh” LaRocca-Genovese crime organization, Liddick said.
Prosecutors said Iannelli has gambling-related arrests dating back to the 1950s. He even served time in prison.
Earlier in his career, Robert Iannelli planned to attend the now-infamous summit of US organized crime families held in 1957 at the home of Joseph “Joe the Barber” Barbara in Apalachin, New York, Liddick said. But police raided the farm where it was to be held.
As reported, on Wednesday, Robert Iannelli appeared in a wheelchair and used an oxygen tank. Defense attorney Duke George said Iannelli suffers from a heart condition.