The Chicago Syndicate: Nicholas Ferriola
Showing posts with label Nicholas Ferriola. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nicholas Ferriola. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Nicholas Ferriola, Son of Former Chicago Mob Boss, Sentenced to Prison

The son of a former Chicago Outfit boss was sentenced Tuesday to three years in federal prison for profiting from illegal sports gambling and extorting businesses on behalf of the mob.

Nicholas Ferriola admitted that from at least 1999 until he was indicted in March of 2007, he profited up to $160,000 a month from running gambling operations as part of the Outfit's 26th street crew. His father Joseph "Joe Nagal" Ferriola, a convicted felon, headed the Chicago mob from 1986 until he had a pair of heart transplants and died of cardiac failure three years later.

At Tuesday's sentencing hearing, the younger Ferriola was ordered by Judge James Zagel to forfeit more than $9 million and pay $6,000 in fines. Federal officials believe Ferriola made more than $9 million dollars during his career with the Chicago outfit, a figure Ferriola disputed. According to filings by the US attorney's office, Ferriola was pulled over when Chicago Police in 1999, suspected of driving under the influence. Officers found $15,000 in Ferriola's pants pocket. He was a high school drop out with no verified employment history and had no explanation for the cash. Weeks later, the government caught a conversation on tape, between Ferriola and a senior member of the Chicago outfit, Frank "The Breeze" Calabrese, discussing profits. Ferriola told Calabrese he is "making a hundred thousand" dollars each week. Calabrese Sr. told Ferriola to be careful when he's talking about money.

Ferriola, 33, is considered by federal law enforcement to be a low-level hoodlum compared to his co-defendants in last summer's Operation Family Secrets trial. Outfit bosses Frank Calabrese Sr., Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo and James Marcello were among five Outfit bosses found guilty of 18 mob hits that went unsolved for years. The gangland killings included the murder of Tony "Ant" Spilotro, the Outfit's Las Vegas boss and the inspiration for Joe Pesci's character in the movie "Casino". Ferriola was not accused in any of the murders.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie and Ann Pistone

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Son of Mob Hit Man Takes Witness Stand

Ronald Jarrett looked at the video screen on the witness stand in the Family Secrets trial on Tuesday and saw the image of a mustachioed face staring back.

Chicago Outfit, Mob Hit Man and Bookie, Ronnie Jarret"That was my father," he said of Ronnie Jarrett, a noted Outfit hit man and bookie who was gunned down in 1999.

The younger Jarrett, 35, was one of a series of prosecution witnesses called Tuesday to corroborate some of prosecution witness Nicholas Calabrese's key testimony over the last week about mob murders, how the Chicago Outfit made its money and what role Frank Calabrese Sr. and other defendants played.

Jarrett, in a white dress shirt and buzz-cut hair, testified that his father was a member of Frank Calabrese's Outfit crew and ran a gambling operation. When his dad was sentenced to prison in 1980, both Calabrese brothers dropped by to visit him, he said.

On his father's release from prison, Jarrett said, the two of them began working together in a gambling ring that took bets on football, basketball and horse racing, among other sports. Some of the money went to Frank Calabrese's family. Ronnie Jarrett bankrolled the operation, his son said, keeping cash in a bedroom drawer or a coat pocket in his closet.

The operation expanded to two offices, one in Burbank and another in Chicago, Jarrett said. Gambling slips were hidden in the ceiling of the front porch of the Chicago office, he said. Times were good, he said, until his father's fatal shooting just before Christmas in 1999.

Jarrett said he once asked reputed mob figure Nicholas Ferriola who was responsible for his father's death. Ferriola, who has pleaded guilty as part of the Family Secrets prosecution, brought players to the gambling operation, he said.

According to Jarrett, Ferriola told him that Johnny "Apes" Monteleone ordered his father's hit. Nicholas Calabrese had testified that Monteleone took over as boss of the Outfit's 26th Street crew after the deaths of brothers Angelo LaPietra and Jimmy LaPietra in the 1990s. "He told me that my dad had a problem with Johnny 'Apes,'" Jarrett testified.

On cross-examination by Joseph Lopez, the attorney for Frank Calabrese Sr., Jarrett acknowledged that Calabrese had tried to push him away from bookmaking. Through his questioning, Lopez also suggested that Jarrett's father could have been killed for refusing to let his gambling operation be controlled by Monteleone. To his knowledge, the younger Jarrett said, his father didn't pay "street taxes" to Outfit bosses.

In the afternoon, prosecutors called witnesses in an attempt to bolster Nicholas Calabrese's account of the murder of Nicholas D'Andrea, who had been suspected in an attempt on the life of reputed mob capo Al Pilotto on a golf course in Crete.

The heart of the government case involves 18 long-unsolved gangland slayings. Calabrese's brother and four other defendants are on trial in the landmark case.

Calabrese had described the killing in detail last week, saying D'Andrea had been lured to a garage in Chicago Heights. Calabrese testified he had been told that a tall man and a short man would walk into the garage and that he was to club the short man with a bat.

On entering the garage, the tall man took off running, possibly tipping off the shorter D'Andrea, Calabrese had said. It then took several members of the hit squad, including Family Secrets defendant James Marcello, to overpower and subdue D'Andrea, Calabrese testified. D'Andrea's body was later found in the trunk of his car, according to testimony.

The surprise of the day came when Terri Nevis, D'Andrea's former wife, said a photo that prosecutors have shown to jurors was, in fact, not her husband. "Absolutely not," she said in a whispery voice when Thomas Breen, Marcello's lawyer, showed her the photo. It remains to be seen how much the apparent error will aid the defense because Calabrese, in his testimony, said he didn't recognize the photo as that of D'Andrea.

Calabrese had said that within days of the hit on D'Andrea, Outfit bosses showed him a newspaper story about another murder. He said he had been told that the victim was the taller man who had spooked D'Andrea in the garage. Prosecutors have told the judge they will show jurors that a mobster named Sam Guzzino was killed soon after the D'Andrea hit. The government contends he was the taller man in question.

Nevis, who had begun living with D'Andrea when she was 15 and he was in his late 40s, testified that on the day he died, it was Guzzino who called D'Andrea to set up a meeting. "He said to get Nick on the phone," said Nevis, now a 45-year-old mortgage banker living on the West Coast. Another witness, Karen Brill, testified that Sam Guzzino would come by his brother's cab company in Chicago Heights where she worked. The company had a garage that shared space with a bar and brothel called "The Vagabond Lounge," Nevis said.

Brill was shown a photo of an old brown garage she said was the one she was talking about -- the same photo Calabrese told jurors appeared to look like the garage where D'Andrea was killed.

Thanks to Jeff Coen

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

Monday, April 25, 2005

With Operation Family Secrets, Prosecutors Boast of 'a Hit on the Mob'

In one of the biggest strikes in Chicago's history against the mob, federal authorities today began rounding up alleged organized crime figures—including outfit boss Joseph "The Clown" Lombardo—in connection with a string of 18 unsolved murders and one attempted murder dating back to 1970.

In the culmination of what officials dubbed "Operation Family Secrets," a federal racketing indictment unsealed this morning took direct aim at Chicago's three dominant mob chapters: The Grand Avenue crew of Lombardo; the Melrose Park crew of brothers Jimmy Marcello and Michael Marcello, and the 26th Street crew of imprisoned mobsters Frank Calabrese Sr. and his brother, Nicholas Calabrese, who has turned mob informant.

Lombardo, 75, of Chicago, remains at large, authorities said. Lombardo previously was convicted in U.S. District Court in Chicago in another major mob investigation. He was released from prison in 1992. Another suspect was found dead of apparent natural causes— along with a substantial amount of cash and checks—in a Kane County hotel room, while a third is being sought in Florida. Everyone else named in the indictment is either under arrest or about to be arrested.

"This unprecedented indictment put a `hit' on the mob," said U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald. "It is remarkable for both the breadth of the murders charged and for naming the entire Chicago Outfit as a criminal enterprise under the anti-racketeering law."

"The outfit maintained hidden interest in businesses, maintained hidden control of labor unions, corrupted law enforcement and acquired explosives," Fitzgerald said.

Fourteen suspects were named in the sweeping indictment, discussed at length by authorities at a news conference downtown this afternoon. The unsolved murders include those of the mob's top man in Las Vegas, Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, and his brother, Michael Spilotro, according to the nine-count indictment. Tony Spilotro, 48, a Chicago mob enforcer, ruled Las Vegas in the 1970s and early 1980s. Joe Pesci played a character based on Tony Spilotro in the 1995 movie "Casino.'' Spilotro and his brother, 41, were last seen alive on June 14, 1986. Their badly beaten bodies were found buried in an Indiana cornfield eight days later.

Eleven defendants formed the backbone of the Chicago mob by allegedly participating in illegal conduct such as extorting "street taxes" from businesses to allow them to operate; running sports betting and video poker machines; loan sharking; extortion; threats and violence.

The indictment seeks forfeiture of $10 million in alleged racketeering proceeds from the 11 men and the Marcello brothers' business, M&M Amusement. Three suspects were not indicted for racketeering conspiracy, but instead face charges of illegal gambling or tax fraud conspiracy.

The mob of Al Capone and Frank Nitti has long been entrenched in Chicago with its tentacles reaching into hallways of unions, casinos and police departments. In fact, the indictment alleges that two retired Chicago police officers aided the outfit

Retired officer Anthony Doyle, known as "Twan," is accused of being a mob mole inside the police department. He allegedly worked for Frank Calabrese Sr., keeping him informed of law enforcement's investigation into the murder of John Fecarotta, according to the indictment.

The other retired officer, Michael Ricci, is accused of working for the mob while he was a Cook County Sheriff's officer, passing messages from the jailed Frank Calabrese Sr. to other members of the mob. He is accused of lying to the FBI on behalf of the mob.

After a lengthy investigation, FBI and the IRS agents today began arresting the 14 suspects in Arizona, Florida and Illinois.

The indictment gives chapter and verse on the structure and chain of the mob's chain of command and how the crews carried out its criminal activities. The crews are known by their geographic locations and included Grand Avenue, Melrose Park, 26th Street, Elmwood Park, Rush Street and Chicago Heights.

The nine-count indictment was returned by a federal grand jury Thursday and unsealed today. The investigation started with 18 previously unsolved murders and one attempted murder between 1970 and 1986, all in the Chicago area except for one slaying in Arizona.

"What makes this indictment significant to us is for the first time we have the heads of multiple crews indicted in one indictment," said Robert Grant, special agent in charge of the FBI's Chicago office.

Referring to the mob as "LCN," for La Costa Nostra, Grant said, "This is the first indictment that I can recall that involved so many murders, which really gets at the heart of what LCN is, which is a bunch of murderous thugs."

Today's arrests, he added, will have a "significant impact" on organized crime by cutting its numbers in the region.

"From everything we've learned, the LCN has been reduced to six crews from four," Grant said. "We now believe there are four crews operating in the Chicago area—the Elmwood Park crew, the South Side 26th Street crew, the Grand Avenue crew and the Melrose Park-Cicero crew. Current membership from what we can estimate is over 100 members and associates."

Arrested in Illinois were:

James Marcello, 63, of Lombard, and his brother Michael Marcello, 55, of Schaumburg.

Nicholas Ferriola, 29, of Westchester.

Joseph Venezia, 62, of Hillside.

Thomas Johnson, 49, of Willow Springs, and his nephew Dennis Johnson, 34, of Lombard.

The defendants were expected to appear this afternoon before U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel, the U.S. attorney's office said.

Another defendant, Frank Saladino, of 59, was found dead of apparent natural causes in a hotel room in Hampshire, in rural Kane County. About $25,000 in cash and $70,000 in checks were found with the man's body, officials said.

Ricci, 75, is currently living in Streamwood and was expected to voluntarily surrender to the FBI. Doyle, 60, of Wickenburg, Ariz., was arrested in Arizona.

Frank "The German" Schweihs, 75, of Dania, Fla., and formerly of Chicago, is at large and being sought in Florida, authorities said.

Three other defendants—Frank Calabrese Sr., 68, of Oak Brook, his brother Nicholas W. Calabrese, 62, of Chicago and Paul "The Indian" Schiro, 67, of Phoenix—already were in federal custody.

Eleven of the defendants were charged with conspiracy, including conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder, in connection with illicit organized crime activities including loan sharking and bookmaking.

All 11 also face charges including obstructing justice, extorting "street taxes" from businesses, sports bookmaking, operating video gambling machines, making "juice loans" charging ruinous interest rates and using extortion, threats, violence and intimidation to collect on those loans.

Thanks to Todd Lightly


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