No home sweet home for mob tax cheat

January 27, 2010 7:50:56 PM PST
The wish of a reputed Chicago mob boss to become known as Rudy "the Homemaker" Fratto was dashed Wednesday by a federal judge, who sentenced him to a year and a day in prison for being a tax cheat."This is not a crime of impulse; not a mistake. It's a choice" said assistant United States Attorney Patrick King. "Fratto led a comfortable lifestyle. Money goes farther when you're not paying state or federal taxes."

Fratto, 66, had pleaded guilty to not paying federal income taxes for seven years. He admitted not paying $141,192 in taxes on more than $835,000 income beginning in 2001.

"I was living beyond my means to give my kids a good education," the lanky Fratto told Judge Matthew Kennelly at Wednesday's sentencing hearing. "This has been the most stressful year of my life."

Fratto family members wailed in court at various points in the proceeding. Fratto had begged the court for a sentence of home confinement, claiming he needed to take care of his ailing wife who broke bones in both feet last summer in a fall on her front porch.

"I'm completely devastated about my tax case and Kim's health," Mr. Fratto told the judge.

Kim Fratto - with the aid of a walker - and several of their children tearfully testified that the purported Outfit figure was a good husband and father. Because of his wife's painful recovery, Mr. Fratto was also needed to perform regular household functions in the couple's Darien home according to a defense lawyer.

"I don't make decisions on whether someone is a good or bad person," Judge Kennelly told Fratto. "When you commit a crime you put your family in harms way...many times the sentence falls harder on the family than the defendant."

With that, Kennelly sentenced Fratto to the 366 days in prison and an additional three years of supervised release. He will also have to pay $141,192 restitution to the government.

Fratto's surrender date is late April.

As the I-Team first reported, federal investigators considered the modern-day Fratto to be a major threat to the safety of mob witness and reformed hitman Nicholas Calabrese. Calabrese' compelling testimony helped put away top hoodlums during the recent Family Secrets mob murder trial.

Fratto was also photographed over the years by federal surveillance teams during meetings with mob leaders. In 2001, he was seen at a secret Outfit summit to plot the takeover of video-poker turf in the suburbs.

On another occasion, Fratto was observed meeting with former Chicago Police Chief of Detectives William Hanhardt. The men were to work out details of a proposed gangland hit, according to testimony in 2002 during a sentencing hearing in Hanhardt's jewel theft case. The hit did not occur and Hanhardt is serving a federal prison sentence.

After court on Wednesday, despite the six-figure fine and her mobility issues, Mrs. Fratto was overheard making arrangements with her convict-husband to meet at the swank and pricey Gene and Georgetti steakhouse in Chicago. The post-sentencing Fratto family luncheon was either to mourn the home confinement that might have been or to celebrate a sentence shorter than the 18 months requested by the government.