The Chicago Syndicate: Loren-Maltese Conviction Will Not be Thrown Out by Court
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Loren-Maltese Conviction Will Not be Thrown Out by Court

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

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal of the racketeering conviction of former Cicero Town President Betty Loren-Maltese, who is already scheduled to be resentenced later this month. Loren-Maltese is serving an eight-year prison term after she and her co-defendants were convicted of using a bogus insurance company to bilk Cicero taxpayers out of more than $10 million from 1992 to 1996. The high court, without comment, refused to consider Loren-Maltese's appeal of her 2002 conviction.

Amy Adelson, an attorney for Loren-Maltese, said she thought the Supreme Court would have taken the case to resolve differences in how lower courts have interpreted the "honest services" statute under which Loren-Maltese was convicted. "Obviously the Supreme Court takes very few of the cases presented to it," Adelson said. "We're not surprised, but we are disappointed."

Loren-Maltese is scheduled to be resentenced Jan. 23. A federal appeals court ruled in September that a federal judge made an error during the sentencing phase.

Randy Samborn, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Chicago, said the office would have no comment on the Supreme Court's decision. 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. Last September, an appeals court ruled that Loren-Maltese and five others convicted in 2002 of corruption should be resentenced.

A three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that U.S. District Judge John F. Grady, who presided over the three-month trial, made an error in imposing the sentences. The opinion said that after Grady calculated the amount of the loss at $10.6 million he wrongly rounded the number down to below $10 million.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, the greater the loss, the harsher the sentence. Grady's decision cut 10 months or more off the sentences. Grady said he rounded the number down by $600,001 because it was merely an estimate and could be unreliable. But the appeals court said unless Grady thought the estimate biased, he had no basis for rounding down or rounding up.

At the Jan. 23 resentencing, Adelson said defense attorneys will be asking for a reduction in Loren-Maltese's sentence. In court papers, they have argued Loren-Maltese should be reunited with her young daughter - currently being cared for by Loren-Maltese's elderly mother - and say that after nearly three years in prison, she's a changed woman.

Adelson said defense attorneys will also argue that the sentence involved an upward departure from guidelines, resulting in a "quite severe" sentence. Federal prosecutors, however, want to extend Loren-Maltese's sentence by three years to more than 11 years. In court papers, they noted Grady said at the original sentencing he considered putting Loren-Maltese away for longer.

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