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Grand jury charges 13 in multi-county sports gambling ring

by: PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - posted on: 09-Feb-2019

This article is a reprint from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette . Read and comment on the original.

Thirteen people have been charged by a statewide grand jury of participating in an illegal gambling ring in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, including a father and son who have previously been convicted of the same crime.

Robert “Bobby I” Iannelli, 88, of Wexford, and Rodney “Rusty” Iannelli, 58, of Pittsburgh, were charged with running the day-to-day operation of an illegal sports bookmaking and lottery business that at times brought in tens of thousands of dollars weekly.

The state attorney general’s office and state police initiated an investigation in March 2015 that discovered the Iannellis operated both as bookmakers who accepted sports and lottery bets, as well as a so-called “lay-off” bank for other bookmakers.

Both Iannelli’s were convicted of running an illegal gambling ring in 1991. Robert Iannelli was sentenced to eight to 23 months in the jail and fined $15,000, and his son was fined $1,000.

Robert Iannelli, a reputed associate of the La Cosa Nostra organized crime family in Pittsburgh, has been charged and convicted of running a sports betting syndicate multiple times by state and federal agencies dating back to 1969.

Others charged by the grand jury with participating in the ring include:

James Martorella, 69, of Pittsburgh; Victor Marchitello, 70, of Harrison City; Vincent Rapneth, 61, of Verona; Levi Helsel, 26, of Pittsburgh; Frank Pasquino, 74, of Irwin; Kathryn Venturini, 72, of North Huntingdon; John Harkins, 70, of Pittsburgh; Kathryn Ayers, 43, of East Pittsburgh; Harry Stetson, 71, of Sharpsburg; Arden Metcalfe, 62, of Monongahela; and Floyd Panella, 67, of Beaver.