An Anson man accused of illegal gambling at the Madison VFW post and then trying to hide the evidence was given a chance Wednesday to have his record cleared if he completes one year of good behavior.

Some of the charges against Louis Padula, 71, the former post commander at the Madison VFW Harvell-Bishop Post 7865, were dropped Wednesday in a disposition hearing in Somerset County District Court.

Padula pleaded guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct Wednesday as part of an agreement with the Somerset County district attorney. In exchange for Padula’s guilty plea, the district attorney agreed to drop a second charge of tampering with a witness.

Padula originally was charged with illegal gambling and falsifying physical evidence in addition to tampering with a witness, but those charges also were dropped, according to court records.

He pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of disorderly conduct, a class E crime, as part of a deferred disposition, a form of sentencing that is sometimes granted to first-time offenders and offers them the chance to avoid criminal charges if they don’t re-offend.

He was ordered to pay a $500 fine by Monday. No other conditions of probation were listed in the court records.


Neither Padula nor his attorney, Anthony Shusta, responded to requests for comment Wednesday afternoon.

District Attorney Maeghan Maloney could not be reached late Wednesday for comment about the plea deal.

Padula was arrested in March after an anonymous person left a tip with police alleging illegal gambling at the VFW. Police said they believe Padula was overseeing illegal payouts on a video poker machine and that he tried to hide evidence once an investigation was underway.

Sgt. Michael Johnston, of the Maine State Police, said at the time of Padula’s arrest that he believed the payouts had been going on for years and had resulted in thousands of dollars in payouts as well as an enticement to people to patronize the organization. Johnston couldn’t comment on the plea deal Wednesday and said he was unaware it was taking place.

Since his arrest, Padula has been removed as VFW post commander. The current commander, Vaughn Mercier, said Wednesday that he had no comment.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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