Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mark Polchan Sentenced to 60 Years in Prison

Mark Polchan — a high-ranking member of the Outlaws motorcycle club who was also the righthand man to a Chicago mob boss — was sentenced Friday to 60 years in prison for helping run a group of criminals who robbed jewelry stores and bombed a business in Berwyn.

Polchan, 43, looked at one of his attorneys, his eyes wide, after U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman handed down the prison sentence. “Every dollar he made had a victim,” Guzman said of Polchan, who ran a pawn shop in Cicero that the judge said was “the epicenter” of the organized criminal enterprise.

Polchan was a career criminal who treated his family well but was in the business of “terrorizing the rest of us,” the judge said.

Polchan oversaw a group of men who robbed jewelry stores and also arranged for the bombing of a Berwyn storefront that was competing with a video-poker business run by reputed Cicero mob boss Michael Sarno, who is to be sentenced next month.

Polchan’s attorneys argued that he wasn’t a leader of the organization and that much of the testimony against him at trial was from unreliable informants — arguments the judge rejected.

Polchan declined to make a statement. “Your honor, I was gonna say some things, but I’m kind of overwhelmed by some of the things I heard,” Polchan said, after a description of his wrongdoing by federal prosecutor Amarjeet S. Bhachu. “I can’t do it.”

In handing down the sentence, Guzman said, “the public needs to be protected from Mr. Polchan and the idea that organized criminal activity might be worth something, might be worth doing.” The case was investigated by the ATF, the FBI and the IRS.

Polchan will likely spend more time in prison than his boss, Sarno, given the way the men were charged. When Sarno is sentenced Nov. 18, he can face a maximum prison sentence of 25 years, much less than Polchan.

Polchan was charged first in the case, and by the time the federal investigation was wrapped up against Sarno, the statute of limitations for the Berwyn bombing had expired, so Sarno couldn’t be charged with that crime. Polchan’s conviction on the bombing charge alone guaranteed him a minimum prison sentence of 30 years, a fate Sarno will not face.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

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