Feds wrap up mob racketeering case

December 17, 2010 4:23:52 AM PST
In federal court late Thursday, U.S. prosecutors finished closing arguments in their racketeering case against Chicago Outfit boss Mike "The Large Guy" Sarno and four accused accomplices.

In this Intelligence Report: Why this could be the end of a money-making machine for the mob and the end for one of its rising stars.

The quote of the day from federal court was this: "If there was money to be made, these five guys did it no matter what the consequences." That could be considered the Chicago mob's mission statement.

In other words, prosecutors contend, Mike Sarno makes money the old-fashioned way: He takes it.

Twenty years ago, on his wedding day, when Sarno was known as "Fat Boy," he was already married to the mob, according to federal authorities, having taken his Outfit vow of "til death do we part."

At the time, Mr. Sarno had already been tapped as a budding outfit boss and fulfilled his oath in 1995 by quietly doing a six-and-a-half-year federal prison sentence in a gambling rackets case.

Thursday night, a downtrodden-looking Sarno left court after a devastating day of government closing arguments.

Even the small pile of hard candy on the defense table in front of Sarno couldn't sweeten what the prosecutor was feeding the jury.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tinos Diamantatos ticked off a list of crimes that he said Sarno supervised, including jewel theft, home invasions, burglaries, trafficking stolen goods and witness tampering.

While there are four other defendants -- including some connecting the Outfit with the Outlaws motorcycle gang -- Sarno, now known in the mob as "the Large Guy", is also the girth and gristle of this prosecution.

Among the crimes Sarno is accused of masterminding: A 2003 bomb attack on a Berwyn video poker machine company that was in direct competition with a mob-backed firm. The prosecutor told jurors Thursday: "It doesn't get more malicious than this."

The government Thursday recounted much of its evidence for the jury: Testimony from more than 80 witnesses, 320 exhibits and at least 70 undercover audio and video tapes made by the FBI.

Lawyers for Sarno put up no defense. Not a single witness.

Beginning Friday, defense lawyers will get their only shot at convincing the jury: By discrediting the government's case.


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