Illegal bookie with mob ties back in the hot seat with the feds

The US approach to prison sentences is one of reform and education. The idea is that those who are incarcerated for their crimes will be adequately punished and learn from their mistakes, existing the penal system wiser and more responsible. That may work for some, but one Chicago man apparently didn’t learn the lesson. Gregory Emmett Paloian is a figure in the Chicago underworld who was already sent away for over three years for illegal gambling almost two decades ago. The 66-year-old, who is said to be linked up with a notorious Chicago mob, is now looking at a return to his home away from home for a second time after being brought up on charges of returning to his old habits. 

Paloian spent three and a half years behind bars for running an illegal sports gambling ring under the protection of Rocky Infelise of the Chicago Outfit mafia. That was back in 2002, but his reappearance into society eventually led to him picking up where he left off. Federal authorities have now charged him with reinvigorating his entrepreneurial spirit from 2015 through 2019 in another illegal sports gambling operation. As a result, the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois wants to seize over $274,000 and a 2017 Audi that Paloian owns before sending him up the river once again. 

If the charges against Paloian hold up in court, he could be looking at up to five years behind bars. He has only been accused of one count of operating an illegal gambling business, although it’s plausible that prosecutors may try to tack on additional charges in order to make sure he’s locked up, especially with his reported ties to the mafia. That, however, will be up to the Department of Justice and the prosecutors to figure out. 

Paloian has repeatedly found himself on the wrong side of the tracks. While still in his 20s, he was already finding himself in trouble with the law and was convicted in 1980 of managing “juice loans” for the mafia. Gamblers who had accumulated serious debt would turn to the underground for loans to cover their losses, often being forced to pay outrageous interest rates. When they couldn’t make a payment on the loan, they quicky learned, the hard and painful way, what happens when you cross the mob

15 years later, he was once again in a similar predicament. Law enforcement caught him in the act, preparing wagering stubs for gamblers. That led to an investigation that, three years later, uncovered a secret compartment in Paloian’s home filled with $150,000 in cash, gold and jewelry. The compartment also contained soluble paper – the same paper used for the wagering stubs, and which dissolves quickly in water. It has been a popular alternative among illegal bookies, who can stuff the paper in their mouth and have it vanish rapidly, preventing law enforcement from getting their hands on the evidence.

Paloian is expected to appear in court today for his arraignment.