Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Apology Doesn't Sway Judge

Friends of ours: Al Capone, Michael Spano Sr.,
Friends of mine: Betty Loren-Maltese, Emil Schullo

Betty Loren-Maltese apologized in court Monday for allowing corruption to occur while on her watch as the former town president of the Chicago suburb of Cicero. But a federal judge determined her apology did not go far enough and resentenced her on a racketeering conviction to eight years in prison, the same jail term he doled out three years ago.

Loren-Maltese, 56, and five co-defendants were convicted of racketeering in 2002 for using a bogus insurance company to bilk taxpayers out of more than $10 million from 1992 to 1996.

A federal appeals court in September ruled that Loren-Maltese and her co-defendants should be resentenced because U.S. District Judge John F. Grady, who presided over the three-month trial, made an error in imposing the original sentences.

The appeals court opinion said that after Grady determined the amount of money Loren-Maltese and the others swindled from Cicero taxpayers to be $10.6 million, the judge wrongly rounded down the number to less than $10 million.

Prosecutors have spent years investigating the small, blue-collar suburb just outside the Chicago city limits that has been known as a haven for corruption since the 1920s, when Al Capone made it the hub of his bootlegging empire.

Among the others convicted with Loren-Maltese were alleged Cicero mob boss Michael Spano Sr. and Emil Schullo, one-time head of the Cicero police department. Schullo was scheduled to be resentenced today.

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