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Allegheny

Liquor lawyer Louis Caputo suspended for gambling-ring conviction

Matthew Santoni
| Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, 4:24 p.m.
Louis F. Caputo
Louis F. Caputo

The liquor-law attorney who worked with former State Rep. Marc Gergely to convince business owners to participate in an illegal gambling-machine ring has had his law license suspended by the state, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court announced Friday.

Louis F. Caputo's license was temporarily suspended following his conviction on one count of criminal solicitation related to gambling devices. Caputo and Gergely both pleaded guilty in August .

Because of the criminal conviction, the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania placed Caputo's license on temporary suspension pending a hearing and final decision from the disciplinary board. He can't take any new clients, but will have up to 30 days to wrap up or pass off any cases he was currently working on. Getting the court to reinstate his license could take years of proving his worthiness to be readmitted to practice.

Caputo referred questions to his attorney Craig Simpson, who said the temporary suspension was typical of such cases.

“We're not going to challenge the interim suspension; we'll let the process play out,” Simpson said.

In wiretapped phone calls Ronald “Porky” Melocchi had described Gergely and Caputo as his “Super PAC,” helping him identify opponents and persuade potential customers to buy illegal video-gambling machines from Melocchi's Glassport business. According to the grand jury presentment against Gergely, Caputo, 40, of Peters allegedly used connections and sources within the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement to identify someone who'd been reporting one of Melocchi's customers' machines, then he and Gergely took that information to the business owner to convince her to buy back in.

Melocchi's business was raided in “Operation Pork Chop” in 2013 and he pleaded guilty in 2014. He is serving 10 years on probation. Caputo was sentenced to five years of probation; Gergely resigned Nov. 6 and is awaiting sentencing on one count of conspiracy to operate illegal gambling devices and accepting illegal campaign contributions, both misdemeanors.

Matthew Santoni is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724 836 6660, msantoni@tribweb.com or via Twitter @msantoni.

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