The Chicago Syndicate: Chicago Mob's Family Secrets Told in Rockford
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Chicago Mob's Family Secrets Told in Rockford

Jurors began deliberating the fate of five defendants Aug. 31 in the 10-week Family Secrets trial in Chicago, and continued Sept. 4. Four of the men are alleged members of the organized crime syndicate known as the Outfit. The defendants are alleged to have been involved in 18 mob murders, according to the federal indictment.

The Chicago Tribune reports: “Federal prosecutors contend that reputed Outfit figures James Marcello, Joey ‘the Clown’ Lombardo, Frank Calabrese Sr. and Paul ‘the Indian’ Schiro as well as former Chicago Police Officer Anthony ‘Twan’ Doyle should be convicted in a racketeering conspiracy spanning four decades.

“All are charged in Count 1, the racketeering conspiracy charge, which takes up 18 pages of the indictment and alleges that an enterprise known as the Outfit collected street tax, operated illegal gambling businesses, made juice loans, obstructed justice and protected itself with violence and murder.”

If convicted, each man is likely to spend the rest of his life behind bars. The defendants are in their 60s and 70s.

While this real-life spectacle has captivated fans of crime drama all summer, Chicago is not the extent of the Outfit’s reach. Although outshined by a trial epitomizing Chicago’s rich history of organized crime, nine men were sentenced this summer, between May and June, on federal charges of operating an illegal gambling business in Rockford since the 1980s.

The lead prosecutor in the case, U.S. Attorney John Scully, said the ring netted in excess of $500,000.

Indictments were handed down last year, and federal warrants were executed for the arrests of eight local men, all of whom later entered guilty pleas after surrendering peacefully.

Rockford Police and the FBI conducted a joint investigation into the bookmaking business, starting in August 2000, including wire taps and surveillance of the ring’s hub of operations in a 17th Avenue apartment building. Bettors were not charged.

U.S. District Court Judge Philip G. Reinhard sentenced Joseph F. “Pep” Fiorenza to three years probation, eight months of which to be served under home confinement while wearing an electronic monitoring device. In addition, Fiorenza was sentenced to 150 hours of community service, and his passport was ordered to be held by Fiorenza’s probation officer. Fiorenza was fined $10,000 and ordered to forfeit an additional $46,000. Feds initially hoped to seize Fiorenza’s Rockford home, but simply held onto it until the forfeiture was made.

Fiorenza’s sons, Nicolas T. and Rick J., were sentenced to 36 months probation, six months of electronic monitoring under home confinement, 100 hours of community service and ordered to forfeit $15,000 each. Nicolas, of Machesney Park, and Rick were fined $2,000 and $350, respectively. Nicolas’ passport was also ordered to be held for the duration of his probationary period.

John P. “Tiger” Frisella, rumored to be the ringleader, was sentenced to three years probation and six months of electronic monitoring under house arrest. Frisella was also ordered to perform 150 hours of community service, pay a $250 fine and forfeit $20,000. Prosecutors originally sought $500,000 from Frisella from funds they said were associated with illegal gambling activities.

Frank C. Giardono, of Loves Park, was ordered to part with $7,500 in illegal gambling proceeds and ordered to pay a $500 fine in addition to his sentence of three years probation and three months of home confinement with electronic monitoring. Giardono will also perform 75 hours of community service.

Nick Provenzano, also of Loves Park, was ordered to surrender $5,000 and pay a $1,000 fine. He will serve two years of probation and 75 hours of community service. Provenzano is not related to the Rockford Provenzanos of Supplycore fame, according to the local daily.

Judge Reinhard sentenced Charles A. Purin to three years probation, three months under house arrest with electronic monitoring and 75 hours of community service. He also agreed to forfeit $5,000 and pay a $1,000 fine.

John F. Salamone will serve three years probation, pay a $100 fine and forfeit $5,000. Salamone’s aliases include Don Finooch, John Finooch and John Franks.

The ninth man, Joseph W. Saladino, was already in federal custody on weapons charges. He was sentenced to an additional six months in prison and three years of supervised release. In addition, Saladino was ordered to part with $20,000 for his role.

As reported in our May 4-10, 2005, issue with regard to Saladino: “According to court records, after a state trooper searched the trunk of Saladino’s vehicle, police found ‘a loaded 0.380 caliber handgun, an unloaded 0.357 magnum handgun, an unloaded 9 mm fully automatic machine pistol with no serial number, and in excess of 400 rounds of ammunition.’

“’In addition, defendant [Saladino] had two books on how to make silencers, a book on machine lathes, a billy club, two ‘slim jims,’ two bolt cutters, a tree trimming saw, one butcher knife, a pipe wrench, a stocking cap, and two face masks.”

Saladino is the cousin of alleged mob enforcer Frank G. “Gumba” Saladino, who was found dead of natural causes April 25, 2005, when federal agents raided his Hampshire, Ill., hotel room as Operation Family Secrets culminated in the simultaneous arrests of numerous reputed Chicago mobsters.

Saladino, formerly of Rockford, was posthumously named a co-conspirator in the Rockford gambling ring.

“Frank ‘Gumba’ Saladino was allegedly a very busy Outfit killer,” explained Steve Warmbir, a Chicago Sun-Times reporter who has been covering the Family Secrets trial. “He’s been tied to several murders.”

According to Warmbir, Family Secrets prosecutors say Saladino was involved in the murders of John Mendell, Vincent Moretti, Donald Renno, Paul Haggerty and Henry Cosentino—five of the 18 Family Secrets “hits.”

Frank “Gumba” Saladino was long considered Rockford’s liaison to the Outfit, responsible for, among other things, delivering “tributes” to Chicago bosses from operations in Rockford.

The Chicago Tribune reported April 26, 2005, Saladino’s body was found with $25,000 in cash and $70,000 in checks in his room.

As reported in our Feb. 8-14, 2006, issue: “The Rockford Register Star reported that in the early 1960s, Frank ‘often partnered with his cousin Joe.’ Joseph Saladino’s past includes the following:

u “Rape conviction with his cousin Frank G. Saladino of a Winnebago County woman on Oct. 22, 1964.

“Pled guilty in Winnebago County to battery charges on Jan. 18, 1983, and was sentenced to one year of court supervision and a $90 fine.

“Sentenced to two years probation, 200 hours of community service and $3,500 fine for unlawful use of a weapon by a felon on April 8, 1998.”

Joe was recently seen in Rockford looking very well groomed and healthy.

A former Rockford-area bookie familiar with the illegal sports gambling ring alleged one of the key organizers was a prominent business leader. That leader was not among the individuals indicted.

Thanks to Stuart R. Wahlin

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