So. San Francisco Fire Official Allegedly Ran Gambling Operation

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SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — Former battalion chief James Selvitella Jr. entered the plea this week to a misdemeanor sports betting charge.

The 52-year-old was sentenced to 18 months of probation.

Prosecutors say Selvitella handled hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of transactions a day while running the betting ring using city phones from 2006 to 2009. He allegedly solicited bets from firefighters.

Selvitella has denied any wrongdoing in a lawsuit following his firing in 2008. His attorney, Jim Lassart, says the misdemeanor conviction shows his client was not a bookmaker, but only placed bets for himself.

Three other defendants have entered no contest pleas in the case.

(© CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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