Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Will Family Secrets Mob Trial Convictions Doom Chicago Mob?

Does Monday's conviction of four top mobsters mean the end of the Chicago Outfit?

Hardly.

The Outfit long has controlled illegal gambling operations -- from sports betting to video poker -- and has financed Chicago-area drug dealing, said Chicago Crime Commission President James Wagner, a former top FBI mob fighter. Money from those ventures often is invested in law-abiding businesses because "you've got to have somewhere to send that cash in order to legitimize it," Wagner said.

History has shown that when Outfit members get sent to prison, others take over. The most recent transfers of power happened long before the Family Secrets trial began, Wagner said. "This will solidify the positions of the people already out there," he said. The trial "hasn't eliminated anything."

Who runs the Chicago mob isn't clear. Reputed mobsters not charged in the Family Secrets case who are still powerful in the Outfit include John "No Nose" DiFronzo, Joe "The Builder" Andriacchi, Al Tornabene, Frank "Tootsie Babe" Caruso, Marco D'Amico and Michael Sarno, law enforcement sources said.

Al Egan, a former Chicago Police detective who investigated organized crime here for three decades, said the verdict wounded the Outfit but won't kill it.

"This put an extremely huge dent in it," said Egan, who worked on the federal Organized Crime Task Force. However, "It's not going to be stopped."

Thanks to Steve Warmbir and Chris Fusco

New for the Fall at CharlesKeath.com

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