Meetings & Information


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Pennsylvania State Rep. Marc J. Gergely makes first court appearance, released on recognizance

State Representative From Allegheny County Charged In Connection With Illegal Gambling Ring

Published 03/01 2016

HARRISBURG-(WBRE/WYOU)- Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced today that the filing of criminal charges against Marc J. Gergely a state representative from Allegheny County accused of using his position as an elected official to assist the illegal gambling enterprise of a longtime friend.
The charges filed against Gergely, 46, followed a joint investigation conducted by the Office of Attorney General and the Pennsylvania State Police.
The charges were brought forth by a statewide investigating grand jury. The grand jury viewed testimony and evidence that Gergely allegedly agreed to help in the illegal gambling enterprise headed by Ronald "Porky" Melocchi, a man Gergely allegedly knew for more than 20 years.
"This is an unfortunate case in which the players traded political capital and favors to advance their own agendas and illicit business," Attorney General Kane said. "The evidence clearly shows that Mr. Melocchi relied heavily on his relationships — including with Mr. Gergely — to conduct his illegal business."
Melocchi and 15 other individuals were criminally charged in September 2013 by the Attorney General's office. Those charges came from the installation and maintenance of illegal video gambling devices in bars, restaurants and other businesses in the McKeesport area. Law enforcement officials seized more than 330 video gambling machines while the investigation was going on. Illegal lotteries and sports betting also were part of the evidence that investigators uncovered.
A court-approved wiretap was part of the Melocchi investigation and confirmed he used a phone to run and promote his illegal business interests. The wiretap also intercepted phone calls that show Gergely allegedly assisted Melocchi's attempts to place illegal gambling machines in McKeesport-area businesses.
Melocchi came to refer to Gergely as part of his "Super PAC," and used his connection to Gergely in efforts to convince business owners to place illegal gambling devices within their establishments, a grand jury presentment alleges.
The grand jury also viewed evidence concerning a letter that law enforcement investigators drafted in an undercover capacity and delivered to Gergely's state office. The letter described a woman whose husband has a gambling addiction. The husband allegedly spent the couple's money on gambling machines that were part of Melocchi's illegal enterprise, the letter drafted by investigators claimed, according to the grand jury.
A phone call was intercepted and then later played for the grand jury showed Gergely tipped off Melocchi about the letter, the grand jury presentment states. Gergely allegedly failed to turn over the letter to the authorities.    
Further evidence was brought to the grand jury alleged Gergely collected a campaign contribution from Melocchi and and later wrote a check to a colleague’s political campaign during a chain of events that resulted in a relative of Melocchi working for the McKeesport Area School District.
Gergely, 1943 Dearborn Drive, White Oak, Allegheny County, represents the 35th legislative district, which includes McKeesport and various other municipalities in Allegheny County. He is charged with two counts of corrupt organizations and one count each of dealing in the proceeds of illegal activity, criminal attempt/gambling devices, criminal conspiracy and violation of state election code prohibiting cash or anonymous contributions.
Gergely is expected to appear tomorrow for his preliminary arraignment.
Attorney General Kane stressed this is an ongoing investigation and additional charges are expected. She thanked the Pennsylvania State Police for its diligent work on the investigation.

Gergely makes first court appearance, released on recognizance

March 2, 2016 8:46 PM

State Rep. Marc J. Gergely, accused of wielding his political influence to support an illegal video gambling operation in McKeesport, was arraigned on criminal charges Wednesday and is due back in court for a preliminary hearing at the end of the month.
The 46-year-old Democrat from White Oak pulled up to District Judge Tom Swan’s offices in West Deer about 9:20 a.m. in his state-issued black Jeep Commander and ignored reporters as he walked inside. His attorney, Charles J. Porter Jr., also declined comment.
Following a grand jury investigation, the state Attorney General’s office has charged Mr. Gergely with six crimes, including three felony counts of corrupt organizations and dealing in the proceeds of illegal activity, and three misdemeanor counts involving conspiracy, gambling and an election law violation.
Mr. Gergely remained standing and kept his hands in his pockets for much of his brief arraignment before District Judge Swan and was released on his own recognizance pending a preliminary hearing March 30. That hearing also will take place before the district judge. The lawmaker and his lawyer again made no comment as they left.
The charges were the result of a joint investigation conducted by the state attorney general’s office and the Pennsylvania State Police.
The affidavit supporting the charges states that Mr. Gergely used his political influence to help Ronald “Porky” Melocchi, a friend of the legislator’s father, get video poker machines into various bars and other establishments.
“This is an instance where the allegations show what I would consider the insidious nature of organized crime,” Mark Serge, senior deputy attorney general, said outside the district judge’s office after the hearing. “You have relationships and money that tends to infiltrate the political system, and individuals get caught up in that. And I think these allegations and the charges show that.”
Melocchi pleaded guilty last year to a felony charge of corrupt organizations and misdemeanor counts of gambling devices and engaging in pool selling/bookmaking and was sentenced to a decade of probation.
No one besides Mr. Gergely has been charged as a result of the most recent grand jury probe, but the investigation continues.
“This is an ongoing criminal investigation,” Mr. Serge said. “We do anticipate more charges in this matter.”
Mr. Serge said additional charges, if any are filed, would involve people other than Mr. Gergely and be related to the Melocchi video gambling operation.
On Tuesday, Mr. Gergely resigned his position as ranking Democrat on the House Labor and Industry Committee.
Government watchdogs Tuesday called on Mr. Gergely to step down and suspend his campaign for re-election.

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