The Chicago Syndicate

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

What Happened To Gennaro Colombo? #McMillionsHBO

Audiences watching HBO's new docu-series "McMillion$" may be astounded by the breadth of the conspiracy to defraud McDonalds of tens of millions of dollars –– while others may be more drawn to the colorful cast of characters who make up the scheme.

One of such these characters would be Genarro Colombo, who played a key role in helping fraud mastermind Jerome Jacobson pull off the $24-million scam of the Monopoly promotion game.

McMillions on HBO: FREE Sneak Peek.

Although Jacobson kicked off the scheme by stealing winning game pieces from his workplace and distributing them to friends and family, authorities alleged his connection with Colombo helped him take the scheme to another level –– especially aided by Gennaro's connections to an infamous Mafia family active in New York City: The Colombo Crime Family.

The Colombo Family is one of New York City's "Five Families," vast criminal enterprises which were established by the Mafia in 1931, according to The New York Times. The Colombo Family is the youngest of the five organizations and was responsible for dozens of murders and criminal rackets in the NYC area for decades. The family was started in 1928 by importer Joe Profaci and quickly rose to become a feared presence in the underworld – with hands in various criminal enterprises like extortion and protection rackets, an historical overview of the Family from The New York Post reported.

Colombo's membership in the Family is confirmed by his wife Robin and his brother Frank Colombo in the documentary. Robin talks about his connections to a godfather named "Uncle Dominic" who was served as Gennaro's main point of contact with the Colombo organization and who helped Gennaro find various jobs and cons to work on.

The Family itself was also known for various colorful gangland figures like “Crazy Joe” Gallo, who kept a mountain lion in his New York apartment, the Post reported, and Gregory “The Grim Reaper” Scarpa, an informant and hitman who the FBI believes killed perhaps over 100 people according to investigation records.

Gennaro's family insists he was also something of a lively figure in his field of work. "Take Marlon Brando and Joe Pesci and put them together ... you'd probably end up with my brother," Frank Colombo recounted about Gennaro in the documentary. Giving further thought to the subject, Frank later describes his brother as a mix between Al Capone and Rodney Dangerfield.

In 1995, Gennaro meets and forges a partnership with Jacobson, The Daily Beast recounted. He was allegedly referred to Jacobson's scheme to fix the McDonalds Monopoly game by his connections in organized crime. "Uncle Dominic" was the person who linked Gennaro to Jacobson, according to Frank. But Robin also tells the filmmakers that Dominic died soon after allegedly linking the two men together –– dodging a question on how Dominic died. Likewise, it is not made clear if Uncle Dominic is a pseudonym for some other figure of prominence in the Colombo organization.

After linking up, Gennaro helped Jacobson establish a network of "recruiters" to pass along the winning Monopoly pieces he was stealing from his workplace, according to The New York Times.

In exchange for finding recruits to claim the prizes, Jacobson and his associates like Gennaro would take a cut from these recruits. Robin recounts that her husband flew around the country picking the winners and Frank recalling that his brother would create various agreements depending on the prize amount, usually involving upfront payments for the winning piece.

Frank describes his brother as having a vaguely threatening aura that helped him compel his recruits to follow his commands. One of the winners, Gloria Brown, recounts how Gennaro even pressured her into taking out a new mortgage on her house in order to get upfront money for the winning game piece. "My life was in danger," Brown said. "I almost felt kidnapped."

Though even Gennaro himself stepped into the spotlight by using a stolen game piece to "win" a Dodge Viper.

Reporter Jeff Maysh had even uncovered an old McDonalds commercial featuring Colombo touting a win for a new car –– arraigned by Jacobson. The advertisement is also featured in "McMillion$."

His wife Robin said in the documentary "that commercial ... that almost cost him his life" going on to describe him as a "ham."

The series itself helps accentuate Gennaro's larger-than-life personality by talking about into his management of a night club known as the Church of The Fuzzy Bunny – at first a gentleman's club that he then attempted to turn into a religious establishment that prominently featured scantily clad women.

Robin explains she met Gennaro in 1995 and "the chemistry was crazy," she told the filmmakers –– describing the marriage as a rebellion against her "strict" family while displaying her excitement in talking about Gennaro's ties to organized crime.

However, Robin contends that Jacobson is the true "Uncle Jerry" that was behind the scam – after briefly confusing the documentarians while frequently using "Uncle Jerry," to refer to Jacobson, and Jerry, referring to her husband. But Gennaro himself would not ultimately be around for the collapse of the scheme. Just three years after meeting Jacobson, Gennaro would be involved in a horrific car crash in Georgia that sent him into a comatose state. Doctors turned off his life support two weeks later, according to The Daily Beast, and Jacobson soon moved on to find new accomplices.

More of the story will be illuminated in HBO's "McMillion$," which is currently airing on HBO.

Thanks to Connor Mannion.

Thursday, February 06, 2020

Details on the Guilty Plea by Martin Sandoval, the Former Illinois State Senator, on Federal Bribery and Tax Offense Charges

Former Illinois State Senator Marin Sandoval
Former Illinois State Senator Martin Sandoval pleaded guilty in federal court in Chicago to bribery and tax offenses included in an information filed in federal court.

Sandoval, 56, of Chicago, pleaded guilty to one count of federal program bribery, which is punishable by a maximum sentence of ten years in federal prison, and one count of willfully filing a false income tax return, which is punishable by up to three years. As part of a plea agreement, Sandoval has agreed to fully and truthfully cooperate in any matter in which he is called upon by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The government requested that Sandoval’s sentencing be delayed until his cooperation is complete. U.S. District Judge Andrea R. Wood did not immediately set a sentencing date.

The guilty plea was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the FBI; Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent-in-Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago; and Andrea Kropf, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Department of Transportation-Office of Inspector General in Chicago. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher J. Stetler and James P. Durkin.

Sandoval admitted in the plea agreement that he solicited and accepted financial and other benefits from an individual affiliated with a Chicago-area red-light camera company, in return for Sandoval using his official position as a state senator to block legislation harmful to the red-light-camera industry. Sandoval also admitted that he engaged in corrupt activities with other public officials and accepted money from other individuals in return for using his official position to attempt to benefit those individuals and their business interests. Sandoval admitted accepting more than $250,000 in bribes as part of criminal activity that involved more than five participants.

In addition to the bribery, Sandoval admitted that he willfully caused his accountant to file income tax returns that Sandoval knew underrepresented his income for the calendar years 2012 through 2017. Sandoval admitted in the plea agreement that his tax offenses caused a total loss to the IRS of at least $72,441, and a loss to the Illinois Department of Revenue of at least $13,384.38, which he has agreed to pay.

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Did the Gambino Crime Family Hire a Mafia Ninja to Stalk Jeffery Epstein?

Jeffery Epstein told police that a man dressed in traditional ninja garb was stalking him during his house arrest. This man was also in the mafia and had ties to the Gambino crime family according to Epstein and his lawyer.

Documents obtained by The Sun reveal that Epstein's lawyer shared this information in a letter to the State's Attorney's Office while asking to modify his client's probation.

Jack Goldberger said that Epstein's security "intercepted a person who was dressed in black like a ninja and hiding in some bushes." The security guards then chased down the man to his car and take down his license details, explained Goldberger. A search of that info then allegedly revealed that man was in the mafia and had strong ties to the Gambino crime family.

The State's Attorney's office sent a measured reply to Goldberger while fuming about the fact that he would even ask to have Epstein's sentence modified in internal emails. In one of these emails, a member of the office states that Epstein got "the deal of the century."

Goldberger was also the man behind the biography of Epstein that was sent to officials during negotiations for that plea deal. Included in that was a testimonial from Ghislaine Maxwell, among others. "My experience of Jeffrey, is of a thoughtful, kind generous loving man, with a keen sense of humor and a ready smile - a man of principles and values and a man of his word," Ghislaine is quoted as saying in a document obtained by The Sun. "If he made a promise, he would always follow through. In fact, I never saw him break a promise."

This testimonial was included in a 15-page biography of Epstein that was sent to Alex Acosta, who was the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida at the time.

"He is disciplined in business and conscientious," said Ghislaine, at a time when over 40 minors had come forward with allegations of sexual abuse. "A man always quick to help someone who is down, or to offer an opportunity to someone to pursue a dream or a goal."

The testimonial seemed to work in the end, and Epstein managed to get off with what a member of the State's Attorney's office called "the deal of the century."

Ghislaine was never seen with Epstein after he made his plea deal, but was remained a fixture on the New York social scene. That all changed in 2015 when she was sued by Virginia Roberts for defamation after denying claims of sexual abuse. She then went completely off the map earlier this year following Epstein's latest arrest, and has not been seen in months.

Twelve years after that case, many of the victims are still seeking closure and have pursued lawsuits against the pedophile, who took his own life in August. Those women are now getting a helping hand too from officials at the island territory where a number of them suffered their alleged abuse.

Epstein's estate is being sued by multiple women as well as the Virgin Islands, with the latter hoping to seize or force the sale of his two island properties and other holdings in the US territory.

Thanks to Chris Spargo.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The @NBA All-Star Game Expected to Increase Human Trafficking Activity in Chicago #NoRoomforTrafficking

On Friday, January 31, hotel industry officials, lawmakers, local partners, and leading experts are joining forces in Chicago during National Human Trafficking Awareness Month to rally against human trafficking ahead of the National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star Game. Large events, such as the NBA All-Star game, can lead to increased instances of human trafficking activity due to an influx of visitors traveling to a particular location for a short period of time.

As part of the No Room for Trafficking campaign,  The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association (IHLA) and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) are convening Governor J.B. Pritzker, Attorney General Kwame Raoul, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, state lawmakers and local hoteliers to expand on nationwide efforts. The event will feature a panel exploring the importance of coordination with law enforcement to eradicate exploitation as well as a training session hosted by ECPAT-USA for local hotel employees hosted at the Sheraton Grand Chicago.

WHO:
  • Governor J.B. Pritzker
  • Attorney General Kwame Raoul
  • Mayor Lori Lightfoot
  • State Representative Terra Costa-Howard
  • AHLA President & CEO Chip Rogers
  • IHLA President & CEO Michael Jacobson
  • AAHOA President & CEO Cecil Staton


WHEN:  Friday, January 31, 2020 at 9:00AM CST

WHERE: Sheraton Grand Chicago - 301 E North Water St, Chicago, IL 60611


Thursday, January 23, 2020

Top 10 Criminal Crime Groups of 2019

Top 10 Criminal Crime Groups of 2019 (Click on Map to Enlarge)



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