Bookie with long history of alleged mob links sentenced to more than two years in prison for role in gambling case

Megan Crepeau and Jason Meisner, Chicago Tribune
·2 min read

A longtime bookmaker with alleged ties to the Chicago Outfit was sentenced to two and a half years in federal prison Wednesday for his role in an illegal sports betting business, authorities said.

Gregory Emmett Paloian, of Elmwood Park, admitted in a plea agreement with federal prosecutors earlier this year that he ran the operation over a four-year period beginning in 2015. He also pleaded guilty to failing to pay about $200,000 in state and federal taxes during the length of the scheme.

Preliminary guidelines considered by U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow called for a range of 27 to 33 months in prison.

Prosecutors have said there were at least five other people who worked with Paloian and that the investigation involved wiretaps. Paloian used “a number of agents” to recruit gamblers for his illegal business in Chicago, Melrose Park and Elmwood Park that took in more than $2,000 on some days and used a foreign website to handle bets and bookkeeping.

Court records show Paloian has a criminal history that includes Outfit connections and friendships with some colorful — and notorious — Chicago characters.

Paloian had links to John “Quarters” Boyle, who pleaded guilty to mail fraud and tax fraud in connection with accepting bribes from trucking companies when he worked for the city’s Transportation Department, the Chicago Tribune reported in 2005. Paloian was removed from the scandal-plagued Hired Truck Program after pleading guilty in another criminal case, the Tribune reported.

His felony record includes a 1980 conviction on charges of extending juice loans to gamblers. Federal prosecutors said in one court filing Paloian had dozens of other arrests on his record, including one in 1995 when Chicago police spotted him writing down suspected wagers at a basketball facility in Elmwood Park.

When officers approached, Paloian shoved bunches of paper in his mouth and “fell to the ground and rolled around” until he was able to swallow them, prosecutors said.

In 2002, Paloian pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges alleging he’d been running an illegal gambling ring under the protection of West Side Outfit boss Rocky Infelise that raked in millions of dollars over at least two decades.

mcrepeau@chicagotribune.com

jmeisner@chicagotribune.com