FBI: Mob boss on tape in McCormick Place case

April 12, 2010 (CHICAGO)

The existence of dozens of undercover tapes is disclosed in defense motions filed Monday in federal court in Chicago.

Fratto, 66, the leader of the Mob's Elmwood Park crew according to federal authorities, was indicted with another man last month on charges that he used inside information to score a forklift deal at McCormick Place.

The Darien resident was due to report to prison on April 28 to begin serving a year-long sentence for income tax-evasion. Today's motion filed by his tax-case attorney Arthur Nasser asks for a delay in Fratto's reporting date. An attached affidavit from Donald Angelini, Jr., the attorney handling the sweetheart contract case, states that Fratto's defense would be "greatly hampered" if he was imprisoned and couldn't assist in the preparation.

Fratto is scheduled to serve the tax sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Ashland, Kentucky. Angelini Jr., son of the late Mob bookmaker Don "the Wizard of Odds" Angelini, said that he had received a 1500-page transcript of FBI undercover recordings along with more than 50 tapes. Mr. Angelini, Jr. said that he was only able to listen to three and a half hours of secretly recorded tapes and that without Fratto's help in deciphering the conversations, the defense would suffer.

The filing by Mr. Fratto's legal team in federal court also stated that there is "noise interference" on the tapes, making them "extremely difficult to interpret or understand."

Mr. Nasser will appear in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly Tuesday morning to argue for an unspecified extension in Fratto's surrender date.

The plea for freedom seems far more somber than last month's swaggering courthouse performance by Fratto himself, that 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 his driver who was behind the wheel of the family Range Rover.

Fratto, considered by Mobwatchers to be one of Chicago's top five most powerful hoodlums, was indicted with Inverness businessman William "Billy" Degironemo. The men allegedly 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.

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