Son of one-time outfit boss sentenced

March 11, 2009 10:26:39 AM PDT
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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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