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Feds hint at expansive evidence as man with mob ties pleads guilty in sports betting case

Gregory Paloian also admitted he filed a false 2016 tax return. He now faces a likely prison sentence of between two and three years.

Dirksen Federal Courthouse
Dirksen Federal Courthouse
Sun-Times File

A federal prosecutor hinted at expansive evidence including “a large number” of recordings as a man with purported mob ties pleaded guilty Wednesday to running an illegal sports gambling operation.

Gregory Paloian, of Elmwood Park, also admitted he filed a false 2016 tax return. He entered his plea during a video conference before U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow, and he now faces a likely prison sentence of between two and three years.

The feds charged Paloian in October in a document known as an information, typically a sign a defendant plans to plead guilty. It contained few details.

However, Assistant U.S. Attorney Terry Kinney laid out the extent of the evidence against Paloian during Wednesday’s hearing. Though Paloian was charged individually, Kinney said testimony at trial would have included “the testimony of co-defendants.”

He also told the judge there would have been recordings as a result of “a large number of Title III wire intercepts.”

Kinney said Paloian’s operation involved “five or more people.” He said Paloian had agents who recruited gamblers. And he said they used a website in a foreign country to place bets.

The prosecutor also said Paloian filed a 2016 tax return reflecting a negative income of $77,229, when he actually made at least $95,220 that year.

Paloian’s plea agreement says he took wagers on professional football, basketball, baseball and hockey games, as well as college sporting events. One agent who worked for him was identified in the document as “Sal,” and another’s alias was identified as “Frank Kanter.”

The plea agreement also says Paloian filed false tax returns from 2012-2015, 2017 and 2018. In all, it said he shorted the IRS by $172,458 and the Illinois Department of Revenue by $25,238.

Kinney is also involved in the prosecution of a separate sports gambling case charged last year against several defendants, including Vincent “Uncle Mick” DelGiudice and Mettawa Mayor Casey Urlacher, brother of Chicago Bears great Brian Urlacher.

North Shore butcher Domenic Poeta was also sentenced to a year in prison in November after pleading guilty in a third sports gambling case charged in 2020.

In 2002, a federal judge sentenced Paloian to 41 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to bookmaking charges. A prosecutor said then that “this was a bookmaking organization run by the mob, for the benefit of the mob.”

Paloian’s new sentencing date is April 7.