John “Duffy” Conley A former South Side man who ran a multimillion-dollar sports-betting ring pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal gambling charges, his third conviction for such crimes.
John “Duffy” Conley, 45, took millions of dollars in wagers from Allegheny County to Las Vegas, prosecutors said.
Conley’s sports-betting ring processed $3 million in less than a month in 2005 and involved people with ties to organized crime, a state trooper testified during a 2006 hearing in federal court.
The case led to charges against 12 people, including the son of late Wheeling, W.Va., crime boss Paul “No Legs” Hankish.
Conley has been in federal custody since February 2006, serving prison time for violating conditions of a previous gambling conviction.
In 1995, a federal judge sentenced Conley to nine years in prison for running a $15-million-a-year video poker business. Conley had about 4,000 video poker machines in businesses throughout Western Pennsylvania.
A federal grand jury in 1997 indicted Conley and a group of co-defendants with ties to the Pittsburgh Mafia for creating a bogus consortium to prevent gambling regulators from learning their identities and criminal records in order to run the Rincon River Oaks Casino near San Diego.
Court records show Conley invested almost $2 million in the deal and secured hundreds of video poker machines for the operation. Authorities shut down the casino the day after it opened. He received an additional 21-month sentence in that case.
Conley is scheduled to get out of prison in July, and U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab said he will allow Conley to remain free on bond after his release until he is sentenced Aug. 7.
Conley faces another five years in prison, but his lawyer hopes the judge orders a sentence of time served.
“That’s our fondest hope,” said defense attorney Wendell Freeland
thanks jason Cato