Boston racket included internet gambling

A federal court in Boston has found a local businessman reputed to have organised crime connections guilty of sports betting and loan shark ring racketeering that includes unspecified online operations.

Arthur Gianelli (51) kept meticulous records for his sprawling business activities, reports the Boston Globe, and this led to his ultimate downfall after wire taps identified his involvement in illegal sportsbetting.

Unaware that State Police investigators were secretly recording his phone calls, Gianelli and his associates were alleged to have held conversations about arson, extortion, money-laundering, and other crimes.

The indictment ran to 333 charges on which he was found guilty by a jury after four days of deliberations, along with associates Dennis "Fish" Albertelli (56) and his wife, Gisele Albertelli (54) and Frank Iacaboni (65).

"This prosecution eliminated one of the largest gambling and loan-sharking operations operating in the Greater Boston area," Assistant US Attorney Fred Wyshak told reporters after the verdict. "It was affiliated with organized crime, and this is part of the government's battle against organized crime."

Jurors found that Gianelli ran a ring involved in sports betting, video poker machines, and later online gambling. They also convicted Gianelli of attempted extortion for trying to seize control of Clarke's Turn of the Century Saloon in Faneuil Hall and McCarthy's Bar and Grill on Boylston Street in Boston, between 1998 and 2002.

Gianelli's lawyer, Robert Sheketoff, who argued that the government's witnesses were not credible, had urged jurors not to be swayed by the sheer size of the 333-count indictment.

Gianelli's wife, Mary Ann, who pleaded guilty last month to money-laundering, racketeering, and other charges and is awaiting sentencing, is the sister of ex-FBI agent Connolly's wife, Elizabeth. Connolly was convicted of federal racketeering in Boston in 2002 and sentenced to 10 years.

US District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton set sentencing for July 17 for Gianelli; July 23 for Dennis Albertelli, the following day for Iacaboni, and July 29 for Gisele Albertelli.

The case, investigated by the Massachusetts State Police Special Service Section, began with a wiretap and quickly mushroomed, involving a large roster of state witnesses.

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