Multitude of mob figures appear in Chicago court

February 7, 2012 4:22:11 PM PST
You'll need a scorecard to keep track of the Chicago mobsters lined up in front of federal judges in Chicago this week.

If this was a horseracing wager, it would be a trifecta. Three men rooted in the mob, Scalise, Szaflarski and Sarno, a line-up that only sounds like a law firm--they are three men who were lawless, and that is why they were in federal criminal court Tuesday and one will be Wednesday.

We start with an outfit shakedown in the west suburbs that ended with a bomb blast. The bombed out west suburban business had been competing with a video poker company owned by mob boss Mike "the Large Guy" Sarno and run by Casey Szaflarski, seen Tuesday heading to his sentencing hearing.

Day after day, Szaflarski collected money from his gaming machines, which were placed in bars for illegal payouts to winners. For 10 years this is how Szaflarski earned his living, without reporting profits on his taxes.

Yet, in federal court Tuesday morning, his attorney argued Szaflarski respects the law. Defense attorney Catherine O'Daniel appealed to district judge Ronald Guzman that her client is a gentleman, a good family man and "doesn't have a violent bone in his body." She told the judge that those traits, coupled with numerous health issues, should qualify the 54-year-old Szaflarski for probation.

The government vigorously disagreed, saying Szaflarski had no remorse for his crimes. Prosecutors said, they "don't care if he sent his kids to school with dirty money," Szaflarski didn't have to be violent because "he allied himself with outfit thugs." His physical condition, they said, didn't stop him from committing crimes daily and argued Szaflarski deserved four and a half years.

Judge Guzman sentenced Szaflarski to three and a half years and placement in a federal medical facility, adding, he won't have to turn himself in for 60 days.

Earlier in the day, Judge Guzman heard about the ailments of another member of the outfit, 73-year-old Jerry "One Arm" Scalise, convicted of conspiring with other outfit members to rob a home and an armored truck. Scalise says he needs emergency cataract surgery to prevent him from going blind. Defense attorney Ed Gensen explained that his client just found this out Monday and needs another three weeks before turning himself in to begin serving his sentence. Judge Guzman denied the request, saying the surgery is elective.

Prosecutors -- and the judge -- noted that Scalise has been free on bond for two years and could have had his eyes examined at any time.

Wednesday wraps up this week's trifecta of mobsters in the courtroom when Mike Sarno will be sentenced in that west suburban racketeering case.


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