Sunday, September 30, 2007

Feds Searching for Mob Money

Federal authorities have told top Chicago hoodlums to show them the money - ten million dollars in racketeering profits - and hand it over.

Some of the outfit figures claim they're broke, but federal investigators believe those mobsters are hiding millions in assets.

The trail of mob money begins with eight slices of Sopressata Italian salami and two men - convicted Chicago outfit boss Frank Calabrese and suburban lawyer Alphonse Talarico.

On August 16, during a courtroom break in the Operation Family Secrets trial, attorney Talarico was visiting with Frank the Breeze, whose family he'd represented in real estate. Federal marshals say Talarico passed contraband to prisoner Calabrese and is now banned from the courtroom. Talarico claims the contraband salami was his lunchmeat. "Must've fallen out of my pocket," he told the I-Team. "It wasn't anything devious. I wasn't trying to be a wiseguy."

He admitted to being related to wiseguys. SAFETY Buy 1 get 1 50 percent offHe is the brother of mob bookmaker Michael Talarico, who testified in the case; nephew of the late mob boss Angelo "The Hook" Lapietra and ex-in-law of mob hit man Frank "The German" Schweihs. But it's Talarico's role as the real estate attorney and taxman for Frank Calabrese that has the attention of federal agents far more than his fallen salami.

Since the early 1980's, Talarico has handled vacation land deals in Williams Bay, Wisconsin for the Calabreses. Authorities are said to be examining Walworth County deed records for Calabrese and Talarico as they try to determine find Frank the Breeze's assets.

At Talarico's Oakbrook law office, he declined to appear on TV but said the allegations are "totally inaccurate. I don't know anything about it. The U.S. government can follow anything they want."

U.S. prosecutors are also following the money behind mob leader Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, unraveling what they contend was an intricate scheme to camouflage his personal fortune.

The Clown was arrested last year after being on the lamb for months with $3,000 in his pocket. But he claimed to be in the poorhouse, living on Social Security with six-figure debts. His attorney was ordered paid with tax money.

The feds don't buy Lombardo's poverty act, and the I-Team has learned agents recently delivered a subpoena to the suburban home of his son, Joey Jr.

In what's called a "third party citation to discover assets," the junior Lombardo and other members of his family are being commanded to appear in federal court with records of money or property they may be holding for The Clown.

Feds want Joey Jr.'s tax returns and records of his father's trust account that names his mother, himself and his sister as beneficiaries. Prosecutors question how The Clown could have a trust fund if he was penniless.

According to public records, Joey The Clown and his wife, Marion, divorced in 1992. But federal authorities say the split-up was a sham, that they continued to live together in a West Side apartment building until he was indicted in 2005. And when the Lombardo family sold their Florida golf course property in 2003, eleven years after their divorce, Marion Lombardo still listed herself as "a married woman" while collecting $4.5 million.

In the past year, Mrs. Lombardo has sold two properties, totaling almost $800,000.

Joey Lombardo's lawyer and the others in the mob case are bound by a gag order because the jury is still deliberating murder charges. But Joe Dinatale, who represents Lombardo's ex-wife, son and daughter, said they're cooperating and plan to turn over documents early next month.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

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