Prison-bound mob boss nabbed on new charges

March 12, 2010 3:16:06 PM PST
A reputed Chicago mobster left court Friday hours after being arrested and charged in an alleged bid-rigging scheme. Rudy Fratto is accused of using inside information to win a forklift contract at McCormick Place.

Fratto was already scheduled to report to prison next month for tax evasion. He now faces a charge of mail fraud as well.

The Dirksen Federal Building appearance by Elmwood Park outfit boss Rudy Fratto was a stellar performance. Fratto's day in federal court included a self-styled perp walk in the lobby, a couple of wise-guy wise-cracks on the sidewalk, and some special sound effects from a daughter who was behind the wheel of the family Range Rover.

Sixty-six-year-old Rudy "the Chin" Fratto wandered back and forth following his court appearance, chatting at times with his wife Kim, after a federal judge allowed him free on bond with an electronic home monitor wrapped around his ankle.

Fratto was rudely awakened Friday morning at his west suburban Darien home. He joked that at least he was inside with a cup of coffee when the FBI came to arrest him on fresh charges. The I-Team acquired photos from the Fratto's do-it-yourself real estate listing for the house, a sale made more crucial in January when Fratto was sentenced to a year in prison for being a tax cheat, and he was ordered to repay years in back income taxes. He is to report to prison next month.

Friday, the Elmwood Park mob boss -- one of Chicago's top five most powerful hoodlums, according to investigators -- was indicted on charges that he rigged contract bids at McCormick Place.

Authorities say Fratto and Inverness businessman William "Billy" Degironemo squeezed a consultant for inside information that helped then land a forklift contract. In exchange, Fratto allegedly offered to settle a $350,000 debt the consultant had with mafia bosses in Cleveland. Neither Fratto nor his partner knew that consultant was working undercover for the FBI.

Fratto's uncle, "Cockeyed Louis," testified at a 1950 Senate organized crime hearing. Another relative, Frankie "One Ear" Fratto, was a skilled loan shark.

So, Friday, with the outfit in Rudy Fratto's DNA, mob-ologists were stunned that the charges showed he was so easily duped by the FBI. He pleaded not guilty during an initial appearance before US Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez and left the courthouse surrounded by cameras as his daughter honked the horn to disrupt reporter's questions.

Fratto and his wife did manage to offer a review of the federal building cafeteria.

"It was as good as Gene and Georgetti's," said Rudy Fratto. Wife Kim confirmed: "It was."

In a press release, the feds Friday identified Fratto's mob nickname as "The Chin." Outside court, Fratto said reporters must have made up that moniker, although he didn't deny it. It is true that Fratto has a unique, understated chin, and with the death five years ago of New York mob boss Vincent "The Chin" Gigante, the nickname was officially available for use.