"Family man" sentenced in family secrets mob case

Judge doesn't buy leniency arguments by Outfit bit player
CHICAGO Today, the 65-year old Venezia may have earned his own mob moniker. Joe "The Family Man" Venezia.

That was the gist of Mr. Venezia's plea for mercy as he stood to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel. Venezia contended that he should get a break because he was a good family man to his wife and kids.

The government contended that Venezia was a good member of another family: the Chicago Organized Crime family, where he worked for an illegal video poker racket in the suburbs.

In the end, Judge Zagel brushed aside Venezia's standing in the Venezia family.

"He is a good family man and a good neighbor," Zagel said. "He is not a good citizen."

With that, Zagel sentenced the aging hoodlum to 40 months in federal prison and three years of probabtion once he is released.

Venezia pleaded guilty to gambling and tax offenses that were leveled against him in the landmark Operation Family Secrets mob case, but he was not implicated in any of the 18 murders allegedly committed by some co-defendants.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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