Five plead guilty in Mon Valley video gambling bust

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Five people who were part of a Mon Valley gambling ring known by investigators as "Operation Pork Chop" pleaded guilty this morning.

All five were sentenced by Common Pleas Judge Joseph K. Williams III to five years' probation.

Those appearing in court today included: Robert H. Bogesdorfer, 68, of Irwin; Frank C. Reese, 62, of McKeesport; Ronald D. Prest, 65, of White Oak and a former McKeesport policeman; Kirk A. Mollica, 67, of Elizabeth; and Catherine Gouker, 56, of Belle Vernon.

The men pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy and possessing gambling devices, while Ms. Gouker pleaded guilty to allowing gambling.

They were prosecuted by the state Attorney General's office following a year-long investigation.

The ring, named for the alleged leader, Ronald "Porky" Melocchi of West Newton, operated illegal video gambling machines in Allegheny, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties.

Mr. Melocchi is scheduled to plead guilty before Judge Williams on June 26.

Others in the ring are scheduled for a nonjury trial before Judge Donald E. Machen on June 4.

Paula Reed Ward: and 412-263-2620.

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