Retired McKeesport police officer to pay fine for involvement in gambling ring
A retired McKeesport police officer was fined $150 on Tuesday for an action chronicled by state officials in their Operation Pork Chop gambling investigation.
A state prosecutor told Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Beth A. Lazzara that former Lt. Arthur D. Pero “was minimally involved” in a ring allegedly masterminded by Ronald M. “Porky” Melocchi.
Pero, 57, of McKeesport pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of placing a bet. A second count was withdrawn by State Deputy Attorney General Mark Serge.
Serge said Pero had placed two bets 11 months apart, telling Lazzara, “he was present in the establishment with a stepson,” later identified as Timothy J. Minkus, 32, of West Mifflin.
Minkus was sentenced to two years probation on May 27 by Common Pleas Judge Donna Jo McDaniel after entering a guilty plea to the same offense that ensnared his stepfather.
However, state prosecutors withdrew three felony and two other misdemeanor counts against Minkus, who was assessed for $2,051 in court costs from McDaniel.
“You should not be involved in this sort of activity and I hope it has come to a conclusion,” Lazzara told Pero as she fined him and ordered him to pay additional court costs.
The full list of those costs was not available at presstime but likely will more than double Pero's obligation. Still, it marked the first of 13 Operation Pork Chop sentences that did not include probation.
Pero's attorney, James A. Crosby, told Lazzara, “he's cooperated completely” with the investigation. Crosby and his client declined comment outside the courtroom.
Three more cases remain from the Pork Chop investigation that led to indictments by a state grand jury last September.
Melocchi, 56, of West Newton is to enter his plea on Sept. 29 before Common Pleas Judge Joseph K. Williams III. He is charged with felony counts of employment in a corrupt organization, conspiracy, dealing in proceeds of illegal activity and criminal use of a communication facility, as well as 53 misdemeanors.
On Sept. 15, Forward Township police Chief and former McKeesport police Deputy Chief Mark P. Holtzman, 57, and Clairton Municipal Authority member James A. Cerqua, 58, will have nonjury trials before Common Pleas Judge Donald E. Machen.
Cerqua is charged with three felonies and four misdemeanors, Holtzman with two felonies and two misdemeanors.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Former Century III Mall general manager waives charges
- Overall Mon-Yough homicide stats remain steady
- Lincoln roadway reopens ahead of schedule
- West Mifflin thrift store sells winning lottery ticket
- Use of police body cameras increases; Whitaker explores purchase
- Legislators receive committee assignments
- Lebanon Road businesses feel pinch from another road project
- Mon-Yough agencies providing services for the homeless to benefit from HUD funds
- Propel teams up with local organizations to test performing arts methods
- Clairton City School District directors cap possible 2015-16 tax hike at 3 percent
- St. Agnes students assist food bank during Catholic Schools Week