PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – A man who was heard on wiretaps being tipped off by a state lawmaker about an investigation into his alleged illegal video poker operation has waived those charges to court.
Ronald “Porky” Melocchi, 54, had been scheduled for a preliminary hearing Thursday, but he waived his right to the hearing on Wednesday. That means he must now stand trial or plead guilty in Allegheny County.
Melocchi’s case received wider attention in September when court documents revealed conversations he had with state Rep. Marc Gergely, an Allegheny County Democrat.
Gergely, who has not been charged, was heard on the wiretap calling Melocchi to tell him about a complaint he received from a woman who claimed her husband gambled away his money on poker machines. The woman turned out to be an undercover state agent.
According to a presentment from the Attorney General’s Office, 335 video gambling machines were seized from 70 locations, which were primarily in the Mon Valley. Authorities also seized more than $1 million.
Machines were seized in Allegheny, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland Counties.
Melocchi is accused of running the operation out of a garage in McKeesport.
Among those charged were Forward Township Police Chief Mark Holtzman, McKeesport Councilman Daniel K. Carr, two former McKeesport Police officers.
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