Butcher long ac­cused of il­le­gal gam­bling now fac­ing fed­eral charges

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - BY JON SEI­DEL, FED­ERAL COURTS RE­PORTER jsei­del@sun­times.com | @Sei­delCon­tent

A North Shore butcher tan­gled up more than a decade ago over ac­cu­sa­tions of il­le­gal sports gam­bling now faces crim­i­nal charges in fed­eral court, pros­e­cu­tors an­nounced Thurs­day.

Do­minic Poeta, 63, of High­land Park, has been charged with run­ning an il­le­gal gam­bling busi­ness be­tween 2014 and 2018 and falsely claim­ing in his 2016 tax re­turn that his in­come that year amounted to just $81,609.

Pros­e­cu­tors charged Poeta in a two-page doc­u­ment known as an in­for­ma­tion, which typ­i­cally sig­nals a de­fen­dant is plan­ning to plead guilty. Poeta’s ar­raign­ment has not been set, and his at­tor­ney could not im­me­di­ately be reached for com­ment. He faces up to five years in prison.

The feds ac­cused Poeta of work­ing as a bookie back in 2007 as they tried to col­lect on a judg­ment against Adam Res­nick, a gam­bling ad­dict who went to prison for a $10 mil­lion check-kit­ing scheme that brought down Univer­sal Fed­eral Sav­ings Bank in 2002.

A judge later said Poeta took hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars in il­le­gal wa­gers from Res­nick in 2001 and 2002. Specif­i­cally, pros­e­cu­tors said Res­nick paid Poeta $891,211 that was “en­tirely the re­sult of il­le­gal gam­bling and in pay­ment of lost wa­gers and juice” and di­rectly trace­able to Res­nick’s check-kit­ing scheme.

They also said Res­nick wrote about Poeta in his 2007 book “Bust: How I Gam­bled and Lost a For­tune, Brought Down a Bank — and Lived to Pay For It.” In the book, Res­nick gave Poeta the moniker “Lu­ciano ‘Lucky’ Pe­trelli,” court records al­lege. In the book, Pe­trelli is de­scribed as “a star high school ath­lete in his mid-for­ties” who “owned a lo­cal deli and took bets while he worked,” records show.

Res­nick tes­ti­fied in 2008 that he would go to Poeta’s meat mar­ket to place, col­lect or pay bets, though he said, “mostly the plac­ing was done on the phone.” He said he bet on base­ball, foot­ball, bas­ket­ball, horse rac­ing and boxing and said, “I would gam­ble ev­ery day he was open, I was al­lowed to gam­ble or I had ac­cess to money.”

He also tes­ti­fied that, though his gam­bling was ini­tially capped at $2,000 a game, he even­tu­ally moved up to $1.5 mil­lion a game.

Mean­while, records show Poeta largely in­voked his Fifth Amend­ment right against self­in­crim­i­na­tion as he was asked about his role as Res­nick’s bookie, his ap­pear­ance in Res­nick’s book as “Lu­ciano Pe­trelli” or the nearly $900,000 he al­legedly col­lected in il­le­gal debts.

Though Poeta did not face crim­i­nal charges at the time, An­der­son did even­tu­ally or­der him to pay $848,197. The judg­ment was sat­is­fied in April 2011, court records show.

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