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December 28th, 2004

Scranton Times Tribune – Bookies get probation, house arrest – By Michael McNarney TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER 12/28/2004

Robert Rinaldi Sr. and his two sons all got house arrest and probation Monday for running a bookmaking operation out of Old Forge — an enterprise that was taking in $2 million a year, a federal prosecutor said.

The Rinaldis also forfeited about $75,000 in the wake of their guilty pleas to conducting an illegal gambling business, a felony.

The elder Mr. Rinaldi, of 101 S. Main St., got the stiffest sentence from Judge Nealon — he will be under house arrest for 10 months starting in January, on probation for three years and must pay a $2,100 fine.

Sons punished

Sons Robert Jr., 35, of 177 N. Main St., and Richard, 29, of 426 S. Main St., each got six months of house arrest, two years on probation and a $2,100 fine. All three men may leave home for work, church and medical appointments.

Prosecutors did not move to seize Caf Rinaldi, the Old Forge Italian restaurant where some of the bookmaking took place. Robert Jr. was described in court Monday as a cook and co-owner of the restaurant.

The operation generated a $200,000 annual profit on gross wagers of $2 million annually from January 1999 to February 2004, Judge Nealon said. The judge asked Robert Jr. if those numbers were accurate.

“When you’re in the gambling business, it varies. Some years are good, some years are bad,” Mr. Rinaldi said. “I couldn’t give you an exact — I don’t know.”

Others involved

The Rinaldis and two other men were arrested by federal agents in February after an investigation uncovered high-stakes poker games, along with bet-taking on basketball and football games.

The bookmaking took place at the restaurant’s pizza room, as well as at “The Joint” at 101 S. Main St., Mr. Rinaldi’s home address.

A Clarks Summit man described as the ring’s enforcer, Robert Bingham of 801 Laconia Circle, was sentenced earlier this month to six months of house arrest and two years on probation after pleading guilty to aiding an illegal gambling business.

The last member of the group, Gaeton Toraldo, of 416 McClure Ave., Old Forge, pleaded guilty in July to conducting an illegal gambling business and was sentenced to two years on probation.

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