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Convicted bookmaker, 66, charged again with running illegal sports gambling business

Gregory Emmet Paloian is accused of running the business in Chicago, Elmwood Park and Melrose Park, prosecutors say.

The Dirksen Federal Courthouse in downtown Chicago.
Gregory Emmet Paloian faces one count of conducting an illegal gambling business.
Sun-Times file

A 66-year-old bookmaker with mob ties is charged again with running an illegal sports bookmaking business in the Chicago area.

Gregory Emmet Paloian allegedly ran the gambling business for four years, starting in 2015, in Chicago, Melrose Park and his hometown Elmwood Park, according to a two-page charging document filed Friday in Chicago.

Federal authorities want Paloian to forfeit more than $274,000 and a 2017 Audi.

Paloian face one count of conducting an illegal gambling business, punishable by up to five years in federal prison. He is due for an arraignment Wednesday.

In 2002, Paloian was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for running what federal prosecutors called “a hugely successful” mob-connected bookmaking operation that took in millions of dollars over 20 years.

“If I didn’t book, I wouldn’t be here,” Paloian said in a 2004 sentencing hearing, the Chicago Sun-Times reported then.

Paloian began his career taking bets in the late 1970s in Riis Park on the West Side, the Sun-Times has reported. He eventually transitioned to taking his bets by cellphone — always on the move — and had allegedly swallowed sheets of booking paper to destroy evidence when confronted by police.

During a 1998 raid of his home, police found $6,090 in his pocket and $150,000 in cash in the house, as well as jewelry, diamonds and Krugerrands, the Sun-Times reported then. Most was stashed in safes in a secret room behind a false basement wall.