The Chicago Syndicate: Dino Vitalo
Showing posts with label Dino Vitalo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dino Vitalo. Show all posts

Friday, September 30, 2011

Dino Vitalo Pleads Guilty in Mob Racketeering Case

A longtime Cicero Police officer was sentenced to federal prison Tuesday for his role in a mob racketeering crew.

In this Intelligence Report: Two sharply different portraits of former officer Dino Vitalo were presented in court.

This is the epitome of good cop, bad cop, all within one cop. Forty-two-year-old Dino Vitalo was variously described Tuesday at his federal sentencing hearing as either the world's greatest policeman or the world's worst.

Vitalo was sentenced to two years in prison. He had pleaded guilty to providing police information to top members of the Chicago Outfit, most notably Mike "The Large Guy" Sarno. It was Sarno who led a mob racketeering crew and was convicted of blowing up a Berwyn video gaming company that was in competition with organized crime.

In court Tuesday afternoon, Assistant U.S. Attorney Amarjeet Bhachu said that Vitalo's moonlighting with the mob -- and leaking sensitive information -- had a negative impact on the government's ability to investigate organized crime. In 18 years with Cicero Police, Bhachu said, Vitalo had "a pattern of not following the rules, "does not care about the rules," and "followed the rules he wanted to follow."

The Town of Cicero has long been dogged by organized crime connections, going back to Prohibition, when Al Capone established his gangland headquarters there. But, in court Tuesday, Dino Vitalo's lawyer suggested it was unfair to paint him "with a broad brush of a corrupt officer." Attorney Todd Pugh said he hoped that "a man's life isn't judged by his mistakes."

Pugh offered several letters applauding Vitalo, including one written by Cicero Police Commander Raul Perez, who praised Vitalo's years of dedication and service.

The prosecutor responded to those letters of support for ex-Cicero Patrolman Vitalo and said that "you have to have a screw loose in your head to think he is a top shelf officer."

Raul Perez himself is no stranger to discipline. He was suspended for misconduct while working as state police bodyguard to Governor Rod Blagojevich.

In handing down Tuesday's sentence, Judge Ronald Guzman observed that Vitalo was "very much at home with these people," members of the outfit, and that he was in cahoots with other cops.

One of the other outfit-connected cops, James Formato from Berwyn, was to be sentenced Tuesday but it was put off until late November.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

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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