The Chicago Syndicate: Joseph Venezia
Showing posts with label Joseph Venezia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Joseph Venezia. Show all posts

Friday, August 15, 2008

Reputed Mob Associate is Good Family Man and Neighbor, Bad Citizen

In the annals of Chicago organized crime, among "No Nose," "Joe Batters" and "The Lackey," mob underling Joe Venezia was never awarded a nickname.

Yesterday, the 65-year old Venezia may have earned his own mob moniker. Joe "The Family Man" Venezia.

That was the gist of Mr. Venezia's plea for mercy as he stood to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel. Venezia contended that he should get a break because he was a good family man to his wife and kids.

The government contended that Venezia was a good member of another family: the Chicago Organized Crime family, where he worked for an illegal video poker racket in the suburbs.

In the end, Judge Zagel brushed aside Venezia's standing in the Venezia family. "He is a good family man and a good neighbor," Zagel said. "He is not a good citizen."

With that, Zagel sentenced the aging hoodlum to 40 months in federal prison and three years of probabtion once he is released.

Venezia pleaded guilty to gambling and tax offenses that were leveled against him in the landmark Operation Family Secrets mob case, but he was not implicated in any of the 18 murders allegedly committed by some co-defendants.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie and Ann Pistone

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Joseph Venezia Says He Only Worked for the Mob and Was Not in the Mob

A low-echelon courier for the Chicago Outfit alleges that federal prosecutors are trying to throw the book at him because he is Italian.

Joseph Venezia of Hillside pleaded guilty to running a gambling business and hiding the his profits from the IRS. He was charged with more than a dozen Chicago hoodlums in the Operation: Family Secrets mob case.

In a court filing, Venezia attorneys state that the hoodlum "takes objection to the investigating agent's conclusion that he was an 'associate' of the Chicago Outfit. There is nothing other than his name ending in a vowel that distinguishes" him from other, non-Italian defendants, argue Venezia's lawyers.

Mr. Venezia, 65, was a runner for an Outfit gambling operation in Cicero. He admits having been "a route man who, among his other duties, collected the proceeds from the video poker machines. For this he was paid a salary of $2,400.00 per month. His tenure was from 1996 until his arrest."

Venezia is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Chicago. The motion filed by his lawyers in advance of sentencing asks for probation, downplaying his role in the Outfit scheme and characterizing him as little more than a gopher.

"He is not a member of the 'Chicago Outfit.' He had no dealings with any of the co-defendants other than the owner and employees of M&M Amusement," states Venezia's motion for mercy filed by attorney Kevin P. Bolger. M&M is a business owned by Mickey Marcello, another defendant in the case who pleaded guilty, and the brother of Chicago Outfit powerhouse James "Little Jimmy" Marcello, so named as a play off of his pasta-infused mid-section.

Venezia isn't the first Family Secrets defendant to raise the issue of an Italian bias by prosecutors. During last summer's trial, lawyers for "Little Jimmy" Marcello flashed a pickup truck-sized shamrock on a screen for the jury to see. The show and tell by Marcello's attorneys was intended to prove that the gangster was really an Irishman because of his mother's heritage.

Another defendant, former Chicago police officer Anthony Doyle, actually changed his moniker from the Italian family name he was born with to the Irish name he now sports. Doyle changed his last name at the time he took the police exam, apparently to better fit in with a department that has been historically well-populated by Irish-American officers.

In Venezia's case, the government is asking a lengthy prison sentence for his role in the mob scheme. Venezia computes the applicable sentence range as 18-24 months but wants Judge James Zagel to adopt a downward departure from the federal guidelines. "He has no criminal record, no history of violence and but for this indiscretion is a law abiding citizen. A period of probation would not deprecate the seriousness of the instant offense," according to Venezia's motion.

Further, his motion states that the mob messenger "is married to a women who is in poor health and is dependent on him for financial support as well as assist her in her every day activities. He is also supporting his hearing impaired step son & he has lost his elderly mother, but his son Frank has had a mental breakdown an attempted suicide. He was hospitalized for treatment and now depends on Joe for strength in getting through a most difficult time in his life."

Thanks to Chuck Goudie and Ann Pistone

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Guilty Pleas on Eve of Family Secrets Mob Trial

Friends of ours: Nicholas Ferriola, Frank Calabrese Sr., Joseph Venezia, Michael Marcello, James Marcello, Frank "The German" Schweihs

Two men accused of working with the Chicago mob pleaded guilty on the eve of the city's biggest organized crime trial in years.

The guilty pleas leave five defendants in the racketeering conspiracy case, scheduled to go to trial on Tuesday. The case is based on an FBI investigation of 18 long unsolved murders that federal prosecutors tie to the Chicago Outfit, the city's organized crime family. Neither man was among the most prominent defendants.

Nicholas Ferriola, 32, pleaded guilty to racketeering, bookmaking and squeezing extortion payments from a Chicago restaurant. He admitted he was part of the mob's South Side or Chinatown crew and that he worked with Frank Calabrese Sr., a defendant and reputed to be one of the city's top mob bosses.

Joseph Venezia, 64, pleaded guilty to running a gambling business and hiding the proceeds from the Internal Revenue Service.

No sentencing date was set. The men are to return to court Aug. 10.

The federal indictment presents a panoramic picture of the Outfit, which it says consists of six "street crews," each with a franchise over organized crime in its respective sector of the city and suburbs. The indictment details murder, gambling, pornography, extortion and loan sharking among the Outfit's activities.

The number of defendants has dwindled steadily as the date for jury selection has drawn closer.

Last week, Michael Marcello — brother of James Marcello, described by federal prosecutors as one of the top leaders of the Outfit — and two other men pleaded guilty to racketeering and other charges.

U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel also tentatively dropped reputed mob extortionist Frank "The German" Schweihs from the trial last week for health reasons. (Sara Lee)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Mobster May Avoid Trial Due to Health Issues

Friends of ours: Frank "The German" Schweihs, Nicholas Ferriola, Joseph Ferriola, Joseph Venezia

A reputed prolific hit man for the Chicago Outfit, battling cancer, won't be going to trial with his fellow mobsters starting Tuesday in the historic Family Secrets mob case -- and may never face a jury at all.

Mobster, Frank 'The German' Schweihs, May Avoid Trial Due to Health IssuesFrank "The German" Schweihs was severed from the trial because of "physical incapacity," according to a decision by U.S. District Judge James Zagel. While Schweihs could be tried alone if his health improves, sources familiar with his prognosis doubt that will happen.

The turn of events Friday angered some family members of victims allegedly slain by Schweihs. "Now I won't feel closure," said Nick Seifert, a son of Bensenville factory owner Daniel Seifert, whom Schweihs allegedly killed in 1974 to prevent his testimony. "I want him in that courtroom. I don't care if he's on a respirator or on a gurney. I want him tried and convicted for the crime he did."

Schweihs is charged in the Seifert slaying -- one of 18 unsolved Outfit hits that are part of the Family Secrets case. But there are many more murders in which Schweihs was a suspect but never charged. One was the 1985 murder of Pasquale "Patsy" Ricciardi, the owner of the X-rated Admiral Theatre movie house, who was slain as the Outfit consolidated control over the lucrative pornographic movie industry.

When told Schweihs wouldn't be going to trial, Ricciardi's daughter Marianne said Friday: "If anybody has witnessed someone dying of cancer, all I can say is, 'God works in mysterious ways.'"

In other developments, two more men charged in the case, Nicholas Ferriola, the son of late mob boss Joseph Ferriola, and Joseph Venezia, an alleged worker in an illegal video gambling business, were expected to plead guilty Monday.

If that happens, it would bring the total guilty pleas to six and leave five defendants to stand trial.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

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