Going for Broke

By Cato, Jason | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 14, 2006 | Go to article overview

Going for Broke


Cato, Jason, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Duffy Conley parked in front of a red brick church in downtown Carnegie one January morning, but he wasn't there to pray.

The former kingpin of an illegal video poker empire in Pittsburgh was headed to his rented office at Citadel Financial, housed in the former First Baptist Church on Roberts Avenue.

State and federal investigators, however, beat him there. They were swarming over the office, confiscating computers and sports betting slips.

Conley's arrival gave them more. He was carrying papers detailing illegal video poker transactions and machine locations, and an address book with the names and numbers of bookmakers and ex-cons, including some connected to organized crime, state police said.

The evidence collected Jan. 18 and three months of wiretaps temporarily landed Conley, 43, in the Allegheny County Jail for violating the conditions of his supervised release from federal prison, where he served time for a previous gambling conviction.

On Wednesday, he'll be back in federal court in Pittsburgh as prosecutors try to send him back to prison for two years.

State and federal authorities continue to investigate a multimillion-dollar gambling ring involving what's left of Pittsburgh's LaRocca/Genovese organized crime clan -- considered the strongest of Pennsylvania's three Mafia families until several convictions in the 1990s and the aging of its most influential members helped precipitate its decline.

Conley -- whose gambling operations are linked to the mob -- is at the heart of the probe, investigators say.

"He spoke to every bookie we're aware of in Allegheny County," Paul Marraway, an agent with the state Attorney General's office, said during a Feb. 8 hearing in Pittsburgh before U.S. Magistrate Judge Francis X. Caiazza. "And many of these people are associated with organized crime."

Those include Christopher Paul Hankish, 43, the son of a notorious Wheeling, W.Va., crime boss; and fellow Citadel Financial employee Salvatore A. "Sonny" Williams, 49, whose father ran one of Pittsburgh's largest gambling empires. Both sons did time for their involvement in organized crime.

State investigators say Conley's recent gambling operation included contact with Ralph "Big Head" Maselli and John V. "Johnny A" Adams, both of whom have long ties to the Pittsburgh Mafia, according to reports for the now defunct Pennsylvania Crime Commission.

Investigators said they recorded Conley's telephone conversations for months, and intercepted numerous calls between Conley and the four men they say are associated with organized crime.

Marraway said the topic was always the same -- gambling. And the amount wagered was staggering. Conley moved more than $3 million in sports bets in one month last fall.

Conley's father laughed when asked about his son's involvement with mobsters.

"I don't know anything about organized crime," said John F. "Jack" Conley, of Robinson.

'Family' ties

Growing up in Robinson, John Francis "Duffy" Conley Jr. earned money cutting grass and scrubbing dishes at Del-Kid, a former McKees Rocks hamburger joint. He graduated from Montour High School.

"He was a good kid, hard-working," his father said.

Duffy Conley took business courses at a community college and went to work at Conley Motor Freight, a steel-hauling and trucking business started by his grandfather, T.C. Conley, and later owned by his father.

Then he opened two vending machine companies, Three Rivers Coin Co. and Duffy Vending.

Gambling long had been a money-maker for Pittsburgh mobsters. They dominated numbers betting, bookmaking and casino games in Western Pennsylvania, parts of eastern Ohio and West Virginia's northern panhandle.

Investigators suspected Conley had mob ties.

Federal investigators never proved Conley paid the Pittsburgh mob for protection, but the Pennsylvania Crime Commission claimed he received video poker machines from a company aligned with New Jersey's Lucchese and DeCavalcante organized crime families. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Going for Broke
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.