Saturday, March 06, 2010

Reputed Mob Poker King Out on Bail

The alleged video poker king of Chicago, who once said he wasn't sure who owned the Bridgeport home he lives in, saw that home pledged to make his $250,000 bond Friday for his release from jail.

Casey Szaflarski, 52, is charged with helping run a video gambling operation for the Chicago Outfit. His sister put up the house, which is held in a trust.

Szaflarski was equally vague when questioned by a court official on his finances, leading Assistant U.S. Attorney T. Markus Funk to say "there are more questions than answers as to his income. We believe he has provided false information."

Szaflarski's attorney, Catharine O'Daniel, said Szaflarski wasn't being dishonest, just cautious, because he did not know what he should say because his lawyer wasn't present during the interview on his finances.

The bond hearing turned into a family affair when it was revealed that Szaflarski illegally had two guns. His ex-wife, who still lives with Szaflarski, handed them over to a relative, Chicago Police officer Mary Versetto, who said she is keeping them in her home.

Szaflarski is the son-in-law of the late Chicago mobster Joseph "Shorty" LaMantia. Versetto is LaMantia's niece.

When Funk questioned her, Versetto had few details about Szaflarski's guns.

She said she didn't actually know whose guns they were.

She said she didn't know where the guns had been stored. But she did believe they weren't stored in the house where Szaflarski and his ex-wife live.

Versetto, who was not in court but questioned over a speakerphone, sounded impatient with the prosecution's questioning, at one point asking, "Is that it?"

Szaflarski is accused of sharing profits of his video gambling business with Michael Sarno, who is also charged in the case and is the reputed head of the mob's Cicero crew.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

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