The Chicago Syndicate: Rudy Fratto
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Showing posts with label Rudy Fratto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rudy Fratto. Show all posts

Monday, May 15, 2017

Chicago Outfit Boss Rudy Fratto Stiffs Feds

Chicago Outfit boss Rudy Fratto has stopped paying restitution from a federal court tax evasion conviction and the government is going after him for more than $130,000, the ABC7 I-Team has learned.

The last time Rudy "The Chin" Fratto made news, he'd just been sentenced to prison for rigging $2 million in forklift contracts for a pair of trade shows at McCormick Place. That followed a tax evasion conviction-and court ordered restitution of $141,000. But the I-Team has learned Mr. Fratto still owes most of that. In newly filed court records, U.S. prosecutors say Fratto stopped paying his hefty bill more than a year ago.

Because of it, they say the government is "entitled to 25% of Fratto's disposable earnings for each pay period...until the debt is paid in full." Fratto claims he should only be paying 10 percent and there will be a federal court hearing on May 24.

Mr. Fratto is currently employed at a small electrical firm in Bartlett, "running pipe and wire," according to the company owner.

Such legit work may seem out of sync for someone considered prone to violence and over the years suspected by law enforcement in numerous crimes, including murder. Fratto has managed to avoid prosecution for acts of Outfit violence.

The hoodlum's jovial and engaging demeanor in public and outside court is in sharp contrast to the cut-throat position authorities say he holds in the mob. The west suburban Darien resident is an understudy of Outfit elder John "No Nose" DiFronzo, the mob's statesman of Elmwood Park, who is said to be in failing health.

Fratto has the mob in his DNA. He is the nephew of Louis "Cock-Eyed Louie" Fratto, so-named because his eyes were out of kilter. Cock-Eyed Louie, an associate of Al Capone and the Chicago Mob's emissary in Des Moines, Iowa Mob from 1930 until 1967.

Even if Fratto ponies up and starts paying his federal bill at garnishment rate he wants per week, it will take a while to whittle down what he owes. At 10 percent from his paycheck, he wouldn't pay off the debt for 25 years, at age 98.

Mr. Fratto's attorney has not responded to messages left by the I-Team. A spokesman for the United States Attorney in Chicago declined to comment on the case.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Rudy "The Chin" Fratto Gets 1 Year and 1 Day in Federal Prison

Reputed made mob member Rudy “The Chin” Fratto wasn’t shy about his status in the Chicago Outfit, the feds say.

“I’m the f------ boss of this area around here. No one else,” Fratto was caught bragging on a secret recording made by federal agents. But Fratto, a reputed leader of the Elmwood Park crew, has publicly denied being part of the mob, once joking outside court he’s a “reputed good guy.” And on Wednesday, a federal judge declined to give Fratto more years behind bars because of his organized crime connections — as federal prosecutors requested — sentencing him instead to a year and a day behind bars for a bid-rigging scheme at McCormick Place.

U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber, noting Fratto’s age of 68, contended that the government did not prove that organized crime was connected to the scheme.

The feds, though, contend that mob connections were an integral part of the crime. Fratto encouraged a businessman to take part in the bid-rigging scheme and said he could intercede on the man’s behalf regarding an unpaid loan he had received from mob figures in Cleveland.

Federal prosecutors John Podliska and Amarjeet Bhachu also noted in a sentencing memorandum that mob killer Nicholas Calabrese testified as a government witness in the historic Family Secrets mob trial that Fratto became a made member of the Chicago mob in 1988.

The prison sentence of a year and a day allows Fratto to qualify for time reduction for good behavior while behind bars, which could reduce his sentence to about 10 months.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Nick Calabrese Testimony to be Used at Sentencing of Rudy "The Chin" Fratto

In this Intelligence Report: Federal prosecutors are winding up to throw the book at one of Chicago's top organized crime figures. The I-Team has learned details of next week's sentencing for mob boss Rudy Fratto.

The government wants outfit boss Rudy "the Chin" Fratto to take it on the chin next Wednesday when he is sentenced for his role in a contract bid-rigging scheme at McCormick Place.

Even though Fratto is from a Chicago mob family, he has managed to skate through his career largely unscathed, a routine prosecutors want to end.

In the run-up to next week's federal sentencing, Fratto has seemed to relish his role as a court jester of sorts.

Even though the record of 68-year old Fratto has been devoid of serious criminal charges, something his attorneys will point to next week, prosecutors will ask that Fratto pay the price for a lifetime in mobdom.

According to new records obtained by the I-Team, prosecutors plan to use the testimony of Nick Calabrese to paint a chilling picture of Fratto. Calabrese is the outfit hitman-turned-government witness who was a central witness in Operation Family Secrets.

Quoting Calabrese, prosecutors will say that Fratto was a "made" member of the Chicago outfit, and that in a Hollywood-style fingerpricking ceremony on Father's Day of 1988, Fratto was inducted in the mob. According to the government, a "person would not even be considered for that status until he had committed a homicide on behalf of the outfit." And, Fratto prosecutors say, he "represented himself to be a boss of the Chicago outfit."

It was in that role that Fratto offered to provide mob protection in exchange for a share of the profits from forklift contracts at McCormick Place.

Fratto ran the mob's rackets in Elmwood Park, according to federal agents, where his relative, Luigi Tomaso Giuseppi Fratto, was gangland boss leader from the 1930s into the 1960s.

Luigi Fratto was also known as "Cockeyed Louie" due to his off-kilter eyeball. On Wednesday, the government wants the descendent Rudy Fratto's sentence to be "substantially in excess" of what the law prescribes for the McCormick Place scheme, making it clear he should pay a premium for all those years he got off easy.

The recommended sentence is no more than two years in prison. But the government hopes Judge Harry Leinenweber will hand Fratto much more than that.

In newly filed court documents, lawyers for Fratto claim he is remorseful and regretful and, as they say, not a bad apple.

Fratto is asking for probation -- no prison time, but rather home confinement.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Rudy "The Chin" Fratto Pleads Guilty

“The Chin” has migraines.

It’s no wonder why Rudolph “Rudy The Chin” Fratto, 67, a reputed Chicago mobster, takes medicine for the crippling headaches.

Just a few months after he was released from prison for tax evasion, he pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Chicago to another crime — mail fraud for taking part in a scheme to rig bids for forklift contracts for trade shows at McCormick Place.

Fratto won one contract but couldn’t produce any forklifts, so the scheme made no money.

Still, Fratto is likely going to be sentenced to prison, from 18 to 24 months in February.

Despite all this stress, Fratto has been migraine-free recently, he told a federal judge Thursday afternoon. “But you haven’t had a migraine in the last few days?” U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber asked. “No, remarkably,” Fratto said.

In January 2005, Fratto met a consultant to a general contractor who set up trade shows at McCormick Place. The consultant was in debt to a Chicago attorney and mobsters in Cleveland after they invested in the consultant’s business, which failed.

Fratto offered to help the consultant with the debt but also wanted inside information on the forklift bids. Fratto was unaware that the consultant was already cooperating with the FBI and secretly recording conversations with him and others.

As it became clear to Fratto in 2008 that the feds were investigating him over bid rigging, he expressed confidence that he wouldn’t get caught, as long as everyone kept their mouths shut. Fratto worried out loud that the FBI could be bugging his phone but mentioned he was using payphones. He told the consultant to take the 5th Amendment if he was questioned before a federal grand jury.

“The only thing they could say is that we rigged the bid,” Fratto predicted. “How they gonna prove that?”

Outside court Thursday, the usually chatty Fratto, who once referred to himself as a “reputed good guy,” had no comment.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

William Anthony Degironemo, Reputed Chicago Outfit Operative, Pleads Guilty to Mail Fraud

A co-defendant of a man reputed to be a top operative for the Chicago Outfit pleaded guilty Thursday in the rigging of contracts to supply forklifts for two trade shows at McCormick Place.

William Anthony Degironemo, 67, an Inverness resident who operated MidStates Equipment Rental and Sales, pleaded guilty to mail fraud in federal court.

As part of the agreement, prosecutors will move to dismiss a charge of making a false statement to a federal agency and will recommend that Degironemo be sentenced to up to 21 months in prison. Sentencing was scheduled for Feb. 16.

Degironemo and Rudy Fratto, a Darien resident and reputed mob lieutenant nicknamed "the Chin," were charged in 2010 after they were accused of using confidential information about competitors' bids to undercut the competition and win the contracts.

A consultant who owed $350,000 to organized-crime figures in Cleveland allegedly gave the information to Fratto in exchange for Fratto's offer to intervene with the Ohio mobsters, according to court documents.

Fratto's trial is scheduled to begin next month.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Rudy "The Chin" Fratto on FBI Tapes in McCormick Place Case

The FBI recorded more than 50 conversations involving Chicago Outfit boss Rudy "The Chin" Fratto during an investigation of alleged big-rigging at the city's McCormick Place.

The existence of dozens of undercover tapes is disclosed in defense motions filed in federal court in Chicago.

Fratto, 66, the leader of the Mob's Elmwood Park crew according to federal authorities, was indicted with another man last month on charges that he used inside information to score a forklift deal at McCormick Place.

The Darien resident was due to report to prison on April 28 to begin serving a year-long sentence for income tax-evasion. Today's motion filed by his tax-case attorney Arthur Nasser asks for a delay in Fratto's reporting date. An attached affidavit from Donald Angelini, Jr., the attorney handling the sweetheart contract case, states that Fratto's defense would be "greatly hampered" if he was imprisoned and couldn't assist in the preparation.

Fratto is scheduled to serve the tax sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Ashland, Kentucky. Angelini Jr., son of the late Mob bookmaker Don "the Wizard of Odds" Angelini, said that he had received a 1500-page transcript of FBI undercover recordings along with more than 50 tapes. Mr. Angelini, Jr. said that he was only able to listen to three and a half hours of secretly recorded tapes and that without Fratto's help in deciphering the conversations, the defense would suffer.

The filing by Mr. Fratto's legal team in federal court also stated that there is "noise interference" on the tapes, making them "extremely difficult to interpret or understand."

Mr. Nasser will appear in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly Tuesday morning to argue for an unspecified extension in Fratto's surrender date.

The plea for freedom seems far more somber than last month's swaggering courthouse performance by Fratto himself, that included a self-styled perp walk in the lobby, a couple of wise-guy wise-cracks on the sidewalk, and some special sound effects from his driver who was behind the wheel of the family Range Rover.

Fratto, considered by Mobwatchers to be one of Chicago's top five most powerful hoodlums, was indicted with Inverness businessman William "Billy" Degironemo. The men allegedly squeezed a consultant for inside information that helped then land a forklift contract. In exchange, Fratto allegedly offered to settle a $350,000 debt the consultant had with mafia bosses in Cleveland. Neither Fratto nor his partner knew that consultant was working undercover for the FBI.

Fratto's uncle, "Cockeyed Louis," testified at a 1950 Senate organized crime hearing. Another relative, Frankie "One Ear" Fratto, was a skilled loan shark.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

Monday, March 15, 2010

Rudy "The Chin" Fratto's Dining Reviews

Reputed Chicago Outfit lieutenant Rudy Fratto sat in a federal courtroom, with reporters filling the jury box a few feet away.

His usual lawyer, the always snazzy Art Nasser, was unavailable. So Rudy had another attorney: Donald Angelini Jr., son of the late Outfit king of bookies, Donald "The Wizard of Odds" Angelini.

Though Angelini was pleasant and professionally buttoned down on Friday, Fratto, 66, seemed a bit lonely at the defense table, waiting for his criminal hearing to begin.

That scraggly beard hid his chin, and he was comfortably dressed in the Rudy look: black shirt, jeans, cowboy boots, just like a Hopalong Cassadicci.

I didn't want him to feel lonely, so I said hello and asked about a line in the federal charges, in which he was described as Rudy "The Chin" Fratto.

Hey, Rud? What's with "The Chin"?

"I don't know," Rudy said. "I don't know where they got that,"

Did the FBI get you early?

"Not too early," Rudy smirked.

Like 6 a.m.?

"No, they came later, for coffee," Rudy said.

He'll need his sense of humor. I've heard that last week's new charges are just the beginning of a larger tsunami coming for the Chicago Outfit and its political messenger boys.

In January, Fratto was sentenced in a federal tax-evasion case. That was his first conviction ever.

On Friday, he pleaded not guilty to the new charge, which involves alleged bid-rigging in contracts at McCormick Place and leverage by the Cleveland mob.

McCormick Place has long been the Outfit's playground. In 1974, the Tribune reported the payroll read like a "who's who of the Chicago crime syndicate."

The 1974 payroll list included mobsters such as the late Rocco Infelice (natural causes), the late Ronnie Jarrett (unnatural bullet holes) and the 11th Ward's favorite Outfit bookie, Ray John Tominello (still alive, investing in Florida real estate).

Quiet hit man Nicholas Calabrese also was on the McCormick Place payroll. He killed dozens of men and decades later was the star government witness in the Family Secrets mob trial.

Another McCormick Place payrollee was the Outfit's Michael "Bones" Albergo. Nick Calabrese and his brother Frank got rid of "Bones." They buried his body in a pit a few hundred yards from Sox Park.

The federal Family Secrets trial put mobsters in prison for life. Other reputed bosses who were not charged, such as John "No Nose" DiFronzo and Joe "The Builder" Andriacci, have gone underground.

Sources say DiFronzo refuses to see anyone. His only sit-downs take place in his Barcalounger, when he watches TV. And Andriacci has apparently been suffering from Fedzheimers, a malady that makes politicians and wiseguys forget lots of things, like how to find Rush Street.

Fratto has a scary reputation. Yet he's always been friendly and charming to me. Then again, I've never spotted him in my rear-view mirror. That happened to Outfit enforcer Mario Rainone. Mario didn't believe in coincidence and was so shaken by the sight of Rudy Fratto in his mirror that he ran straight to the FBI.

In the courtroom, Rudy's wife, Kim, dressed in a black shawl, said hello.

"It's always nice to see you, Mr. Kass," said Kim.

The pleasure is mine, Mrs. Fratto.

After Rudy was fitted with a home monitoring device, the couple took a long lunch in the newly remodeled second-floor federal cafeteria.

When they finally came down, they didn't want to talk to reporters. Then I asked Rudy a question he couldn't refuse:

Was the food in the federal building as good as it is at Cafe Bionda?

Rudy, always the jokester, couldn't resist.

"No," he said, "but it's better than Gene & Georgetti's, though."

Rudy knows how much I like Gene's, the best steakhouse in the city. Yet for years, Rudy had made Cafe Bionda, at 19th and State Street, a personal hangout. On her Facebook page, Kim Fratto lists Cafe Bionda as one of her favorites.

With such strong recommendations, my young friend Wings and I felt we had to stop there for lunch. Cafe Bionda is a short cab ride from the federal courthouse. And a long pistol shot from McCormick Place.

We were hoping to run into head chef/owner Joe Farina to ask him about Rudy's favorite dish.

Wings ordered the Linguini con Vongole. I had the signature Nanna's Gravy. It was all delicious. Sadly, Joe wasn't in, so I left a note with our server:

Dear Joe: Sorry I missed you. Rudy recommended your place to me. The food was great. John.

The coffee was great, too. And I thought of all that coffee Rudy and his friends will be drinking, and the Rush Street guys, and the politicians, buzzing on caffeine.

They might want to stay wide awake, and keep a pot of coffee on, just in case the feds come knocking some morning.

Thanks to John Kass

Department of Justice Comments on Rudy Fratto Arrest and Indictment

A west suburban man who allegedly represented himself as a member of the “Chicago Outfit,” was arrested on federal charges accusing him and a co-defendant of engaging in a contract bid-rigging scheme to provide forklift trucks for trade shows at McCormick Place Convention Center. A two-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury yesterday was unsealed following the arrest of Rudolph Carmen Fratto by FBI agents. Fratto and William Anthony Degironemo, were charged with fraud for rigging a 2006 contract awarded by Las Vegas-based trade show general contractor Greyhound Exposition Services (GES), to Degironemo’s business, MidStates Equipment Rentals and Sales, Inc. Degironemo was also charged with lying to federal agents during the investigation, announced Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Fratto, 66, of Darien, also known as “The Chin” and “Uncle Rudy,” who was charged with one count of mail fraud, was scheduled to be arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez in U.S. District Court. Degironemo, 66, of Inverness, also known as “Billy D,” who was charged with one count of mail fraud and one count of making false statements, will be arraigned at a later date in Federal Court.

Mr. Fitzgerald and Mr. Grant praised the valuable assistance of agents of the Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, and the Internal Revenue Service, and noted that GES has cooperated throughout the investigation.

According to the indictment, in 2001, unnamed Individual A started a trade show company in Chicago (identified as “Trade Show Company A”) in which purported members of a Cleveland organized crime family, as well as Individual B, a lawyer in Chicago (“the Investors”) invested approximately $350,000 in 2001 and 2002. In 2003, Trade Show Company A went out of business and the Investors began to re-characterize the investment as a “loan,” which they demanded Individual A repay. Unknown to anyone at the time, Individual A, in January 2004, reported these attempts to collect on the “debt” to law enforcement and began cooperating.

Also in 2001, Individual A began working for GES pursuant to a consulting agreement that precluded Individual A from disclosing confidential information and from negotiating with potential bidders vying for subcontracts with GES. Among GES’s clients who used McCormick Place for trade shows were the International Machine and Tool Show (IMTS) and the National Plastics Exposition (NPE). GES issued requests for proposals each year to potential vendors to submit bids to provide forklifts for one or more shows staged by GES. In his consulting role, Individual A and three GES managers were responsible for deciding which vendors would receive forklift subcontracts for the IMTS and NPE, the indictment states.

Between July 2005 and October 2008, Fratto allegedly made representations to Individual A about Fratto’s standing and association with the Chicago Outfit, and he promised to use his position with the Outfit to intercede on Individual A’s behalf concerning the debt Individual A purportedly owed to the Investors. In return, Individual A was to provide Fratto and Degironemo with non-public bid information concerning bids GES received for the 2006 IMTS and NPE forklift subcontracts and to use his position to help steer those contracts to Fratto and Degironemo. In attempting to obtain those subcontracts, Degironemo made false representations to GES about the ability of Midstates to perform the contracts, the indictment alleges.

More specifically, in July 2005, Fratto allegedly told Individual A, in essence, that if Fratto and Degironemo could get the 2006 forklift subcontract, then Fratto would assist Individual A with his “debt to Cleveland.” As part of the scheme, Fratto and Degironemo agreed to split all profits and proceeds from the subcontract between themselves and Individual A, with each receiving one-third of the proceeds, the charges allege. Fratto allegedly suggested that Individual A could use his share to repay the “debt” he owed. In December 2005, without the knowledge or consent of GES, Fratto and Degironemo allegedly received from Individual A non-public pricing information that they had requested concerning a competitor’s confidential bid. Around Dec. 8, 2005, Fratto and Degironemo discussed with Individual A leaving MidStates’ proposed rate figures blank so that Individual A could fill them in during the course of a GES meeting to decide the winning bid. In January 2006, Fratto and Degironemo allegedly used confidential information that they obtained from Individual A about their competitor’s bid to prepare their own bid for the forklift subcontracts for the 2006 IMTS and NPE. On Jan. 15, 2006, MidStates submitted its proposal to GES with rates lower than its competitors’ bids, according to the indictment.

As part of the scheme, Fratto and Degironemo asked Individual A to support MidStates’ claim that it was a reliable and trustworthy forklift company, and on Jan. 29, 2006, GES awarded MidStates the 2006 IMTS and NPE forklift subcontracts. In April 2006, Degironemo, through Individual B, sought to further bolster MidStates’ qualifications by causing four individuals to write reference letters falsely stating that MidStates had previously provided various forklift services to their full satisfaction when, in fact, no such services were ever provided. At a meeting with GES management, Degironemo provided flyers asserting that MidStates was a “leader in the rental material handling industry for over twenty years,” which “offer[ed] one of the most diverse fleets [of forklifts] in the industry,” when, in fact, MidStates was not actively involved in the forklift business, the indictment alleges.

Degironemo alone was charged with lying to FBI agents on Aug. 18, 2008, when he stated that he “had no idea what MidStates’ competitors’ forklift pricing was prior to submitting the MidStates bid for the IMTS forklift contract,” allegedly knowing that the statement was false.

The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys T. Markus Funk and Marny Zimmer.

The mail fraud count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and making false statements carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If convicted, the court would determine a reasonable sentence to impose under the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Rudy Fratto Indicted on McCormick Place Bid-Rigging Scheme

Reputed mob lieutenant Rudy Fratto was arrested this morning after being charged with using inside information to rig a bid and win a forklift contract at McCormick Place.

Fratto, 66, was charged along with William Anthony Degironemo, 66, of Inverness, who runs MidStates Equipment Rentals and Sale.

Rudy Fratto Indicted on McCormick Place Bid-Rigging SchemeFratto was taken into custody at about 7:45 a.m. He joked with the Chicago Tribune's John Kass that it was "not too early" and that he was able to have his coffee.

Wearing jeans and a black jacket, he entered a plea of not guilty.

Prosecutors say Fratto and Degironemo were able to squeeze information from a worker at Greyhound Exposition Services (GES) of Las Vegas to win a forklift contract in 2006. The contract covered two shows at McCormick Place.

The worker owed a debt to members of the Cleveland organized crime family and a Chicago lawyer, and Fratto promised to use his "standing and association with the Chicago Outfit" to help him, prosecutors allege. Fratto told the worker he would help with the worker's "debt to Cleveland," authorities said. Fratto, Degironemo and the witness were to split the profits equally, they said.

Using the information, Fratto and Degionemo submitted the lowest bid and landed the contract, according to an indictment handed down Thursday.

Degironemo also had the Chicago lawyer arrange for four people to write reference letters on behalf of MidStates, according to the charges. And Deironemo provided GES with materials claiming his company was a leader in the forklift industry when the company wasn't actively involved in such work, authorities said.

The new charges against Fratto -- a reputed lieutenant in the Elmwood Park street crew of the Chicago Outfit -- comes more than a month after he was sentenced for tax evasion.

Fratto had admitted he failed to report nearly $200,000 in income in 2005. Federal authorities had said Fratto brought in income for several years by directing payments to him to come through a defunct company he ran.

In 2005, an FBI agent said Fratto was one of five high-ranking organized crime figures who met with Rosemont Mayor Donald Stephens to discuss what control the mob would have over contracts at a casino Stephens wanted to build in the town.

Sitting with Stephens at Armand's restaurant in Elmwood Park were Fratto, reputed mob leader Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, John "No Nose" DiFronzo, his brother Peter, and Joe "The Builder" Andriacchi, according to John Mallul, head of the FBI's organized crime unit in Chicago.

Mallul said agents learned of the May 29, 1999, meeting just days after it occurred from a longtime FBI informant who also was there. Stephens denied he had met with the men.

In January, Fratto was asked by a Tribune reporter about his alleged status in the Outfit. He said he was a "reputed good guy" and said he had no prior criminal history.

After the new charges were announced in court today, U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez ordered Fratto released on $200,000 bond and on home confinement. He is to report to custody April 27 to begin serving time in the tax case.

A lawyer for Fratto, Donald Angelini, asked Valdez to allow Fratto to attend his son's high school hockey games, and the judge agreed.

Thanks to Jeff Coen

Friday, January 29, 2010

Rudy Fratto Says that Not Paying Taxes for 7 Years Was Just a Mistake

Rudy Fratto, reputed top lieutenant in the Chicago Outfit, proudly told me just before his sentencing on Wednesday that he'd never before been convicted of a crime.

Given all the attention the FBI has paid to him over the years—plus the fear he inspires in wiseguys when they spot him in their rear-view mirrors and the silence at the mention of his name—that's surprising.

"Before this, no convictions. Not federal. Not state," said Fratto, 66, whose lucky streak ended when he pleaded guilty to evading federal income tax payments for seven years. "They make me out to be some bad guy. But really, John, I'm not that bad. I'm just a good guy who made a mistake."

Fratto's "mistake" was avoiding federal income taxes by funneling cash into a defunct trucking company until he got caught.

He didn't dress like some flashy HBO gangster. He wore a beige suit, dark tie, gray hair combed forward, glasses. He looked like a tired clerk.

Fratto's attorney, the esteemed criminal defense counsel Art Nasser, looked more the part. Art's big head of gleaming gray hair, the sharp blue suit, the tan, the white teeth, the sarcasm in the eyes. Nasser could wear a camel-hair coat draped over his shoulders, without putting his arms through, and get away with it.

In court, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly sat through the tears and the familial pleas for mercy. He saw the truly heartbreaking sight of Fratto's sobbing teen-age sons begging to keep their dad out of prison. The boys, one in high school, one in college, used their neckties to dry their tears.

Then Fratto's wife, Kim, dressed in black, slowly hobbled up to the bench, gripping a walker. She sobbed that if Rudy went away, she'd lose the house and they'd be destitute. "And I've got two broken feet, judge, and now I'm going blind!" cried Kim, startling everyone in the courtroom.

Then Fratto spoke to the judge, admitted his crime, asked for mercy, and said, yes, indeed, his wife was going blind. "Yes, your honor, she told the doctor that she wanted to see the ocean, and he said she probably wouldn't see the ocean, or the beach, or whatever," Fratto said.

Kennelly announced he was forced to impose a prison sentence, rather than send a bad message to faithful taxpayers. "A year and a day," Kennelly said.

"A year and a day?" asked Nasser, who tried to stop a smile, but then his lips broke free of his teeth and there it was. "A year and a day, judge, means he'll be able to get to a halfway house in a few …"

Kennelly cut him off. "I'm not interested in that," the judge said brusquely. "That's up for the Bureau of Prisons to decide."

In federal court, a sentence of one year would have been worse than a year and a day. That's because federal sentencing guidelines mandate that if a sentence is one year or less, the defendant must serve every day of the time. But anything over a year and the defendant serves about 85 percent. But not all of it in prison. Fratto will do a few months, perhaps at the Club Fed in Oxford, Wis., where corrupt politicians will know who he is.

Chances are they've even nodded at him, respectfully, from across some steakhouse floor.

After a few months, Fratto will be moved to a federal halfway house in Chicago, sleeping there at night, spending his day working or whatever. Currently, Fratto is employed as a "technical consultant for the electronic entertainment industry," Nasser said.

Don't you love it? It sounds like a great trade once legalized video poker comes to Rush Street.

Not a word was mentioned in court about Fratto's reputed ties to organized crime, or his relationship with restaurant and nightclub owners. But some close to Fratto worry about other criminal investigations.

Before entering court, Fratto confronted Joe Fosco, a blogger son of a late Teamsters union official who has filed a civil suit against Fratto alleging that he'd been threatened. In the hallway, Fosco said Fratto had taken him for a ride through Melrose Park, and pointed at a sign for D&P Construction—controlled by the brother of Outfit boss John "No Nose" DiFronzo—while implying that DiFronzo wasn't happy with Fosco.

"It's all lies!" Fratto said, rounding on Fosco. "Get out of here, liar! You pervert! I'm not going into court if he's going in."

After the sentencing, the Fratto women, their tears dried by the court's mercy, confronted Fosco in the hallway. One of the women who'd just finished pleading for compassion and forgiveness showered Fosco with earthy insults.

"This is all a (expletive) joke," Rudy Fratto said, walking away.

That may be. He insists he's just a good guy who made one mistake, even if it happened seven years in a row.

Still, there's no mistaking the notion that federal investigators aren't finished with Fratto.

Thanks to John Kass

Rudy "I'm a Reputed Good Guy" Fratto Heads to Prison and Yells at Blogger

For years, Rudy Fratto has been dubbed a reputed top Chicago mobster. But Fratto sees its differently.

“I’m a reputed good guy,” Fratto said Wednesday, outside a federal courtroom, just moments after a judge sentenced him to prison for a year a day for tax evasion.

Indeed, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly found Fratto “has done an outstanding job of raising a family,” but said Fratto’s crime was too serious to allow him to sentence Fratto to home confinement, as Fratto wanted, rather than prison.

Fratto, 66, of Darien, had avoided paying taxes on more than $800,000 on income over seven years by having various firms, including a gaming technology company, pay him through a bank account of a defunct trucking company that Fratto controlled.

“I was living beyond my means, and I was taking care of my family,” Fratto explained.

Fratto could have been sentenced up to 18 months in prison. By being sentenced to a year and a day, rather than a year, Fratto becomes eligible for good conduct time and could serve as little as 10 months of his sentence.

Fratto’s family tearfully requested that he not be sent to prison, citing him as the family’s role model.

Right after his sentencing, outside the courtroom, tensions ran high as Fratto and his family clashed with a blogger who attended the court hearing and has written negatively about Fratto. Irate family members had to be restrained as Fratto yelled at the blogger, “Get out of here.”

The tax evasion charge, investigated by the IRS, marks the first time Fratto’s been convicted of a crime.

Before his current problems, “I never been arrested for anything,” Fratto explained. “Not traffic. Not a DUI. Nothing.”

But he’s been a target of FBI investigators for years.

Most recently, federal investigators listed him as a top threat to Nick Calabrese, a former mob hitman who had turned into the star witness at the Family Secrets mob trial.

Fratto also allegedly attended a meeting in 2001 to approve the expansion of the video gambling territory of top mobsters James Marcello and his half-brother, Michael.

On Wednesday, Fratto tried to appear unruffled about the proceedings, but as he walked down the hall he shouted, “What a f------ joke!”

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Rudy Fratto Sentenced to One Year and One Day in Federal Prison

Rudy Fratto, a reputed lieutenant in the Elmwood Park street crew of the Chicago Outfit, was sentenced in federal court today to a year and one day in prison for tax evasion.

Fratto, 65, of Darien, pleaded guilty last year to failing to report nearly $200,000 in income in 2005. Fratto, 65, admitted he had employers issue his checks to a defunct company that had an account he used for his expenses. Fratto said he did this between 2001 and 2007.

Fratto has been identified by authorities as an Outfit figure, and his name came up in recent years at the sentencing of corrupt Chicago police chief of detectives William Hanhardt and at the trial of former U.S. Marshal John Ambrose.

Thanks to Jeff Coen

Reputed Mobster Rudy Fratto Jr. Seeks to Become a Homemaker

Although his Outfit ancestors were known as "Cock-eyed" and "One Ear," reputed suburban Chicago mob boss Rudy Fratto Jr. wouldn't mind being known as "the Homemaker."

Reputed Mobster Rudy Fratto Jr. Seeks to Become a HomemakerAfter copping a plea as a tax cheat, Fratto, 65, has asked a federal judge in Chicago to give him a term of home confinement when he is sentenced on Wednesday afternoon.

"In light of the responsibilities and obligations he, and he alone has, not only to his family, but to his Government, we request that the Court impose a sentence of home confinement for a term and with the most stringent of conditions and requirements the Court deems appropriate," states a motion asking for mercy and leniency filed by Fratto's attorney Arthur Nasser.

Among Fratto's obligations according to the court filing, is the complete and total care of his wife Kim who is allegedly convalescing in their Darien home following a misstep out their front door. Kim Fratto broke bones in both of her feet in the accident last July and required surgery, states her husband's motion to avoid jail time. Fratto's attorney submitted extensive medical reports and copies of Mrs. Fratto's foot X-rays to support the contention that she is incapacitated.

A few months after the accident, Mr. Fratto pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to a single charge of tax evasion. In the plea agreement Fratto admitted not paying $141,192 in taxes on more than $835,000 income beginning in 2001. The prescribed penalty for such a violation is 12-18 months in federal prison.

"Mrs. Fratto's only caretaker since the accident to the present time and into the future is her spouse, defendant Rudy Fratto. He must attend to her most basic everyday needs" contends Fratto's lawyer. "In addition to attending to Mrs. Fratto's basic needs, he must also act as cook, house cleaner, dishwasher and chauffeur" for his wife and several of the couples' children.

Prosecutors are not convinced that Rudy "the Homemaker" Fratto deserves such mercy. At tomorrow's sentencing hearing, the government will contest any leniency for Fratto. "A sentence of home confinement would send the wrong message to him, his associates, and the public in general" say federal prosecutors in a pre-sentence filing with Judge Matthew F. Kennelly.

The associates of Fratto's who might get the wrong idea include his underlings who toil on the streets for the Outfit's powerful Elmwood Park Crew. Although never charged with a crime, Fratto has been named as a Mob associate and recently as a crime syndicate leader by local, state and federal law enforcement agents.

His most notable relative was Luigi Tomaso Giuseppi Fratto, who was a gangland leader and labor racketeer from the 1930s into the '60s. Luigi Fratto was also known as "Cockeyed Louie" due to his off-kilter eyeball.

As the I-Team first reported, federal investigators considered the modern-day Fratto to be a major threat to the safety of mob witness and reformed hitman Nicholas Calabrese. Calabrese' compelling testimony helped put away top hoodlums during the recent Family Secrets mob murder trial.

Fratto was also photographed over the years by federal surveillance teams during meetings with mob leaders. In 2001 he was seen at a secret Outfit summit to plot the takeover of video-poker turf in the suburbs.

On another occasion, Fratto was observed meeting with former Chicago Police Chief of Detectives William Hanhardt. The men were to work out details of a proposed gangland hit, according to testimony in 2002 during a sentencing hearing in Hanhardt's jewel theft case. The hit did not occur and Hanhardt is serving a federal prison sentence.

On Wednesday, the government will attempt to convince Judge Kennelly that Rudy Fratto should join Hanhardt in prison. Fratto's lawyer will argue that his client deserves home confinement-even with certain conditions.

"Those requirements can include electronic monitoring, periodic reporting to the United States Probation Office, unannounced residential visits during hours of confinement by designated law enforcement personnel, any method of telephonic monitoring of residential and mobile/cell telephones (or no cell phone), continued employment during specified hours which will enable him to carry on his income producing activities, all of which will enable him to pay off the outstanding income tax liabilities he has incurred as a result of his defalcation" states defense attorney Nasser in court papers.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

Monday, November 30, 2009

Rudy Fratto Seeks to Delay Federal Sentencing

Chicago Outfit bosses have devised some shrewd excuses to stall justice, from feigning heart attacks and strokes to babbling incoherently as if possessed by an evil spirit.

About the time most people were starting to thaw the Thanksgiving bird last week, Rudolph C. "Rudy" Fratto of Darien was filing a motion to put off his federal court sentencing for a while.

The reason?

His lawyer needs a vacation in a sunny place. And then after the vacation his lawyer needs eye surgery.

Most people would take a break after an operation, but maybe the attorney needs to rest up for the surgery.

Regardless, by syndicate standards Fratto's delay tactic - laying it off on his lawyer - deserves a C at best. But as lame as the motion may be, the occasion allows me to revisit Mr. Fratto, whose well-cleansed and affluent suburban lifestyle has allowed him rapid upward movement in the Outfit, according to mob investigators.

As the omnipotent overseer of Outfit rackets in Elmwood Park, according to mobologists, for years Fratto has flown just below the fed's radar. Then, the lanky and birdlike Fratto committed the same mistake that eventually brings down all crooks: tax charges.

The feds finally got Al Capone that way. They caught Rudy Fratto when he neglected to ante up more than $141,000 in taxes on about $835,000 in income. So, the government got him indicted by a federal grand jury.

Now I know that federal prosecutors could get a hamburger indicted, as Joey "the Clown" Lombardo said recently in the Family Secrets mob murders case. But after they are indicted, nobody makes them plead guilty as Fratto, 65, did last month.

The kindly U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly set sentencing for Jan. 12, which allowed Fratto to spend the holidays with his family.

Last Thursday Mr. Fratto no doubt gave extra thanks for his timely fortunes and took an extra helping of mashed potatoes. And he will be able to enjoy a very merry Christmas and a blissful New Year with his loved ones before the judge considers handing him 12 to 18 months, which is the term called for in his plea bargain.

A year and a half isn't the kind of stay at the Crossbar Hotel that "Scarface" was given for breaking federal tax laws, but it no doubt is an unwelcome cold spell for a late-budding mob boss.

Now though, Mr. Fratto's sentencing may be delayed even further due to his lawyer's vacation plans and untimely cataract surgery.

The Fratto motion, to be heard on Wednesday morning in federal court, asks for a delay in sentencing to Feb. 12 for the convenience and pleasure of Fratto's attorney, Arthur N. Nasser.

"The defendant's attorney had made plans to visit with his family during Thanksgiving weekend in McLean, Va., and Christmas in Charleston, W.V." states the motion. "Thereafter, he has reservations to travel to Palm Springs, Calif., for 12 days departing Dec. 28, 2009 and returning to Chicago on Jan. 9, 2010. Upon his return to Chicago he is scheduled to have a cataract removed from his right eye ... on Jan. 14, 2010."

Such an excuse might have been better suited for Fratto's dearly-departed crime syndicate relative, Luigi Tomaso Giuseppi Fratto, who was a gangland boss and labor racketeer from the 1930s into the '60s.

Fratto was also known as "Cockeyed Louie" due to his off-kilter eyeball. Modern surgery could have fixed the problem.

"Cockeyed" is just one of Fratto's blood relatives who toiled in the trenches of the mob when it was in its infancy during the 1920s.

Rudy's public behavior certainly befits that of a smart-aleck Outfit boss. Federal records first reported by the ABC 7 I-Team revealed that Fratto was considered a major threat to major mob witness Nicholas Calabrese, a reformed hitman.

Calabrese' compelling testimony helped put away top hoodlums during the Family Secrets trial. Fratto was not charged in that case. Also, he was photographed over the years by federal surveillance teams during meetings with mob leaders. In 2001, he was seen at a secret Outfit summit where the takeover of video-poker turf in the suburbs was being hatched.

On another occasion, Fratto was observed meeting with former Chicago Police Chief of Detectives William Hanhardt. The duo was plotting of a proposed gangland hit, according to testimony in 2002 during a sentencing hearing in Hanhardt's jewel theft case. The hit did not occur and Hanhardt is serving a federal prison sentence. But getting a sentencing extension because your lawyer needs a Palm Springs vacation? Wimping out like that surely will not earn Rudy Fratto a place in the Outfit's Hall of Famous Ploys, Tricks and Tactics.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

Friday, October 16, 2009

Guilty Plea to Tax Evasion by Reputed Mobster, Rudy Fratto

Reputed suburban Chicago mobster Rudy Fratto pleaded guilty Tuesday to evading thousands of dollars in federal income taxes.

Fratto, 65, of suburban Darien, pleaded guilty to a single charge of evading $30,052 in taxes on income of $199,595 for 2005. But he admitted in a signed plea agreement that he actually evaded $141,192 in taxes on $835,641 in income over seven years starting in 2001.

The maximum sentence on the charge is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The plea agreement, however, said the sentence could be more like 12 to 18 months under federal sentencing guidelines.

Fratto remained free on $4,500 bond pending sentencing, which U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly set for Jan. 12.

Fratto admitted in his plea agreement that he had arranged to have income funneled into the bank account of a defunct company in an effort to evade the scrutiny of the Internal Revenue Service. He received income in 2005 from jobs ranging from handyman to pasta salesman, according to the document.

Fratto's name has come up at least twice in connection with organized crime in recent federal cases.

Prosecutors introduced evidence that he was an associate of the Chicago police department's former chief of detectives, William Hanhardt, who is now serving a federal prison sentence as the leader of a mob-related jewel theft ring.

Fratto's name also came up in connection with the landmark 2007 Operation Family Secrets case -- the biggest Chicago mob trial in decades. He was listed on papers prepared by the FBI as a serious threat to the safety of the government's star witness in the case, admitted mobster and hit man Nicholas Calabrese.

Fratto's name also appears on a chart published by the Chicago Crime Commission in 1997, showing the structure of the so-called Chicago Outfit.

Thanks to Mike Robinson

Friday, September 16, 2005

Mayor Donald E. Stephens: I didn't meet with mob

Rosemont Mayor Donald E. Stephens adamantly denied under oath Thursday that he met with the mob in 1999 to talk about a casino for his town. And, in an ironic twist, a reputed mob boss on the lam is backing him up.

Joey "The Clown" Lombardo fired off a letter to his lawyer last month denying an FBI informant's claim that Lombardo and reputed mobsters John "No Nose" DiFronzo, his brother Peter DiFronzo, Joe "the Builder" Andriacchi, Rudy Fratto and other alleged hoodlums met with Stephens at Armand's Pizzeria, an Elmwood Park restaurant, according to Rick Halprin, Lombardo's lawyer.

"Let me inform you that it is positively a lie," the hand-printed letter, which included misspellings, read. "I have never, never, ever sat down with Mayor Stephens and the rest of the names in the article. I will take truth serum or lie detector test if the agent and there reliable witness will take one. It has to be done by a private co., not the FBI."

Lombardo, 76, has been missing since a major federal indictment linking the mob to 18 unsolved murders came down in April. Shortly after the indictment, a letter from Lombardo arrived by mail at Halprin's Chicago office. That letter, postmarked in Chicago and directed at U.S. District Court Judge James B. Zagel, proclaimed his innocence and asked for a separate trial from the others indicted. However, FBI spokesman Ross Rice said agents don't necessarily think Lombardo is hiding out in the Chicago area.

The FBI launched international manhunts for Lombardo and co-defendant Frank "the German" Schweihs and are offering rewards of up to $20,000 apiece for their arrests. Lombardo, 76, who had lived on Chicago's Near West Side for more than half a century, and Schweihs, 75, who last lived near Ft. Lauderdale, face up to life in prison if convicted.

The latest letter was dated Aug. 24 and postmarked Aug. 25 in Chicago. The letter was on three-ring notebook paper and was accompanied by two Chicago Sun-Times articles, including a July 19 clipping about Lombardo's alleged meeting with Stephens, Halprin said. "I doubt that he has a home subscription," Halprin said of Lombardo. "I have no idea where Mr. Lombardo is," Halprin said. "I'm saying the same thing I've said over and over again: It's my obligation to tell Joey, I can only tell him he should surrender himself and prepare for trial."

'Ridiculous nonsense'

FBI agent John Mallul had testified on July 18 that an informant told him of the Armand's meeting. Mallul's testimony came during a state Gaming Board hearing to revoke the license of Emerald Casino, which has been trying to open a casino in Rosemont but has been bogged down by mob allegations.

Lombardo says he also sent a separate letter to Rosemont's village attorney denying the Armand's meeting. "And also if I met with these people on that date, May 29th, 1999 I would have been in violation of my parole and probation," the letter to Halprin read.

Rosemont attorney Bob Stephenson confirmed he recently received two letters, purportedly from Lombardo. One appeared to mirror the Halprin letter, the other was a brief note in which Lombardo told Stephenson he remembered him from an old Teamsters trial, Stephenson said. The letters were signed "Joseph Lombardo I'm an innocent man," wording similar to the letter sent in the spring. The Rosemont letters were turned over to the feds, Stephenson said.

Word of the latest round of Lombardo correspondence came as Stephens testified before retired Judge Abner Mikva, who will rule whether Emerald should lose its gaming license. Stephens testified he was "absolutely not" at the Armand's meeting -- and said he had never even been to the restaurant.

Outside of the hearing, Stephens, 77, called the Armand's allegation "such ridiculous nonsense."

'I hate my son-in-law'

"The FBI agent said there was some informant. Well, at the very least, the informant's a liar," Stephens said. "As a matter of fact, I also understand that my [ex-]son-in-law was at this meeting. I've got news for you, I hate my son-in-law. I've never gone around the block with him in my car. Never."

Excerpted from articles by Carol Marin and Shamus Toomey of the Sun Times and by Matt O'Connor and John Chase of the Tribune.


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