The Chicago Syndicate: Anthony Volpendesto
Showing posts with label Anthony Volpendesto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Anthony Volpendesto. Show all posts

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Michael "The Large Guy" Sarno Found Guilty of Racketeering Conspiracy

Reputed Cicero mob boss Michael “The Large Guy” Sarno took a big fall Wednesday after he was convicted in federal court of a racketeering conspiracy charge that could put him behind bars for 25 years.

“God!” Sarno’s wife, Nicole, yelled out in the courtroom as a federal judge agreed to a prosecutor’s request that the mobster, out on bond, should be taken into custody immediately, just three days before Christmas. His daughter, Angelica, a college student who attended many days of the trial, broke down, sobbing loudly.

Sarno, 52, was convicted along with his friend, Outlaw motorcycle gang member Mark Polchan, 43, as well as the video poker king of the Chicago area, Casey Szaflarski, 52, mob bomber Sam Volpendesto, 86, and his son, Anthony, 48, a prolific thief.

The centerpiece of the case was the bombing in 2003 of a storefront in Berwyn, targeting a businessman competing with Sarno in the video poker business. No one was hurt in the pipe bomb blast, but it gutted the building.

Authorities say the case showed the Chicago Outfit outsourcing some of its dirty work — the bombing of a competitor and the later intimidation of a witness — to a motorcycle gang during a time when the Outfit was under keen pressure from the historic Family Secrets mob investigation.

Over a six-week trial, federal prosecutors Amarjeet Bhachu, Tinos Diamantatos and Michael Donovan called more than 80 witnesses, played more than 70 audio or video recordings and entered more than 300 exhibits into evidence to show a wide-ranging conspiracy, that included a slew of home robberies and jewelry store burglaries, that was investigated by the FBI, ATF and IRS.

The jury’s decision marks the third conviction for Sarno in an organized crime case. Sarno started his career in organized crime at 17 as an enforcer. Working his way up the ranks, Sarno — about 6-foot-3 and topping 300 pounds at his heaviest — has never been known as the brains of the mob but rather as a tough guy willing to inspire fear and snatch someone else’s profitable scheme. While Sarno oversaw the criminal group, he likely won’t face the most time in prison when the men are sentenced in May.

Polchan and Sam Volpendesto were convicted with taking part in the bombing of the Berwyn business and face mandatory minimum sentences of 30 years behind bars for that crime alone. Each man could be sentenced to more than 50 years behind bars — a death sentence for Sam Volpendesto.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

Friday, December 03, 2010

Defense Cross-Examination of Key Witness at Sarno Trial

Defense lawyers began cross-examining a key government witness in the federal racketeering case against Chicago Outfit boss Michael "The Large Guy" Sarno.

In New York and in the movies, the code of silence is called "omerta." In the Chicago Outfit, wiseguys play by their own rules, and they don't have a fancy Italian nickname for keeping quiet. They're just supposed to do it.

For suburban mob boss Mike Sarno, the top defendant in the current Outfit prosecution, it is clear that the code of silence is sometimes tough to enforce.

When the I-Team showed up at Sarno's Westchester home a few years ago, he had no problem clamming up in front of the camera. But about that same time, the FBI was listening in on Sarno's phone calls, as agents investigated the mob bombing of a Berwyn video poker company and links between the Outfit and the Outlaws biker gang.

In one secretly recorded phone call with a longtime family friend, Sarno could almost be heard cringing.

KANTOWSKI : Mike, how are you doing?
SARNO: How you doin', buddy?
KANTOWSKI: Good, I'm sitting here with, ah, Frank Caruso, um,
Dominick Montagna and Frank Depollo.
SARNO: Oooh, oh you, oh boy.
KANTOWSKI: Trying to work this out.
SARNO: Alright.
KANTOWSKI: Uh oh, I'm in trouble.
SARNO: Talk to you later.

Caruso, a South Side Outfit boss, and the other names were unwelcome subjects of that phone call between Mike Sarno and his friend David Kantowski, who says he was a 25-year friend of Sarno's. An hour later, they talked again.

SARNO: Ok, well, listen, I, I, I just got to, I want to tell you something. I appreciate everything you are doing for me, buddy, but please stop with the names on my phone. Please.
KANTOWSKI: Ok.
SARNO: I know I'm paranoid, but I got good reason to be.
KANTOWSKI: I wasn't even thinking, Mike I, I apologize, I wasn't even thinking about that, God d------t.
SARNO: Well, listen ...
KANTOWSKI: Sorry buddy.
SARNO: I'll do the thinking for us with that stuff because, ah ... Believe me, it's a shame we got to be like that, but we do.

Kantowski is a Chicago real estate agent and is related to two of the defendants in the case, Sam and Anthony Volpendesto.

Mr. Kantowski told the I-Team late Thursday that he may be called as a rebuttal witness during the trial.

All day Thursday, prime government witness Kyle Knight was on the stand. He provided the bomb components for that Berwyn attack.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Large Guy Trial Starts

An unusual organized crime case began Wednesday in Chicago federal court. Prosecutors say there was an alliance between the Outfit and the Outlaws. In this Intelligence Report: Why is this considered a "large" case for the government?

The Chicago Outfit has always been an insular organization, top hoodlums usually unwilling to welcome other criminal groups to the fold. So this alliance that federal prosecutors say was forged between the Outfit and the Outlaws motorcycle gang is considered unique in all of mobdom.

The largest part of this five-defendant case walked into the Dirksen Federal Building Wednesday predicting victory. Michael Sarno, 52, known in mob circles as "the Large Guy," is a convicted west suburban rackets boss now on trial for allegedly ordering the 2003 firebombing of a Berwyn business that was competing against the mob's illegal video poker trade.

Standing trial with Sarno are 86-year-old Samuel Volpendesto, his son, Anthony, Mark Polchan, an admitted member of the Outlaws biker gang, and Casey Szaflarski, who allegedly ran illegal gambling operations.

According to the indictment, Sarno oversaw the Outfit-Outlaw joint venture and received a cut of the illegal wagering profits.

"I think that case provides a perfect illustration of why the Outfit is still dangerous and shouldn't be counted out," said T. Marcus Funk, former federal prosecutor. "Forming an alliance like that, being adaptable, being able to change with the circumstances, and also using being able to use violence when necessary. It may not be something done on a daily basis like it was in the 50s, but violence is still a tool for the Outfit."

The case took shape in 2008 when FBI agents raided several Outlaws clubhouses, seizing weapons, bulletproof vests and police badges-- at the same time executing search warrants on Sarno's suburban home.

As a budding hoodlum, Sarno once tipped the scales at about 400 pounds, and at that time went by the nickname "Fat Boy."

Even though he appears to have dropped a few pounds, by whatever mob moniker Wednesday, the issue of nicknames was a factor in jury selection. Several prospective jurors were dismissed after saying mob nicknames might cause them to be prejudiced against the defendants.

Several casino employees were also dismissed. Six jurors were seated to hear the case.

The mob trial will be off Thursday for federal Veterans Day and jury selection resumes on Friday morning. It is expected to last about three weeks.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie and Ann Pistone

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Anthony Volpendesto Tossed from Court While Representing Himself

A federal judge ordered a defendant in a Chicago mob trial removed from the courtroom Thursday morning after the man threatened to have all the attorneys disbarred and loudly noted he did "not consent to any of these proceedings."

The disruption happened in the case of alleged Cicero mob boss Michael Sarno, who will soon stand trial with four other men, including Anthony Volpendesto, who created the disturbance and has been custody since his arrest.

Volpendesto is charged with racketeering for allegedly being part of a jewelry store robbery crew with ties to organized crime.

Volpendesto, who is not a lawyer, has filed numerous legal motions in the case on his own, which have advanced unique legal theories concerning his innocence or how the court has no jurisdiction over him. His attempts so far have not been successful.

Volpendesto referred to himself in court Thursday as "the executor of the Anthony Volpendesto estate" and repeatedly interrupted U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Guzman during a status hearing.

Volpendesto warned all attorneys in the room at one point, "either dismiss or disbar."

"I have no further business with this court," he said at another point, but continued talking anyway.

"I do not consent to any of these proceedings," he said, apparently unaware that his consent is not required.

The judge had deputy U.S. Marshals take Volpendesto away. He could still be heard chattering away in a holding cell as the door to the area opened and closed.

Volpendesto's talkativeness may come back to haunt him and some of the men on trial with him. He apparently made phone calls from jail after he was arrested for one of the jewelry store robberies, and prosecutors had indicated they will introduce recordings of some of those calls at trial.

Also on trial is Volpendesto's 87-year-old father, Sam, who is accused of helping bomb a video poker business in Berwyn in 2003 that was competing with a mob-sanctioned business. Prosecutors say Sam Volpendesto ran a Cicero house of prostitution and once had a suspected government cooperator beaten with a baseball bat, but he hasn't been convicted of either crime.

Guzman said he planned on having the younger Volpendesto brought over to the courtroom on Friday to remind him of the rules of conduct in court and work to obtain his cooperation during trial. If he refuses to come, deputy U.S. Marshals were ordered to use reasonable force to bring him.

Thanks to FoxChicago

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Racketeering Indictment Nabs Reputed Mob Boss and Police Officer

A reputed mob boss, a police officer and five other men were charged Thursday in a sweeping racketeering indictment that alleges eight years of armed robberies, burglaries, jewel thefts and arson based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Michael "The Large Guy" Sarno, 51, of Westchester allegedly masterminded much of the group's illegal activity, including a February 2003 pipe-bomb explosion that wrecked the storefront offices of a company distributing video poker machines.

Prosecutors say the bombing was a message from organized crime to stop intruding on its $13-million-a-year video poker gambling business.

Sarno, 51, went to prison in the early 1990s as a member of an organized crime family based in the western suburbs headed by Ernest Rocco Infelice.

Federal agents searched Sarno's home last July and also raided the headquarters and various hangouts of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club. An alliance has developed between the violence-prone club and the Chicago mob, prosecutors say.

Sarno's attorney, Terence P. Gillespie, did not return a message for comment. But he said in a previous interview with The Associated Press that Sarno was not a mob member and was "a legitimate businessman."

Attorneys for the other defendants were not reached immediately. Messages were left at the offices of four defense attorneys whose names were learned.

Two men arrested the day of the July 2008 searches and later indicted, Mark Polchan, 41, an acknowledged member of the Outlaws, and Samuel Volpendesto, 85, were also charged in the fresh indictment. They are accused of setting off the bomb that demolished C&S Coin Operated Amusements of Berwyn, a video poker device distributor. At the time, a video poker distributing company controlled by members and associates of the Chicago mob had a grip on the market for the devices, experts say.

Video poker devices are legal in Illinois if they are not used for gambling, but bartenders often pay winners under the table in many places and experts say the mob frequently takes a healthy cut of what the machines take in.

Gov. Pat Quinn is deciding whether to sign a bill to make video poker gambling legal to finance public works _ something good government forces deplore. They say the machines are addictive and some breadwinners have gambled away their paychecks.

Also charged in the indictment:

_James Formato, 42, a former Berwyn police officer accused of serving as a courier for stolen money, taking part in an attempted robbery and other crimes.

_Mark Hay, 52, described as taking part in the robbery of jewelry stores.

_Anthony Volpendesto, 46, son of Samuel Volpendesto, who also is alleged to have taken part in robbing jewelry stores.

_Dino Vitalo, 40, a Cicero police officer since 1991, accused of searching law enforcement data bases and using the information to tip off criminals and searching for electronic surveillance equipment around a jewelry store operated by Polchan. Cicero officials on Thursday placed Vitalo on administrative leave.

Prosecutors are asking the court to force the defendants if convicted to forfeit $1.8 million _ a possible measure of the amount taken in the robberies.

Thanks to Mike Robinson

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