I-Team: Mario Rainone sentenced to 15 years

Chuck Goudie Image
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
I-Team: Mario Rainone sentenced to 15 years
Mario Rainone was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison Wednesday for being a felon in possession of a gun.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Most people would consider a 15-year prison sentence a tremendous loss, but not when it comes to a career criminal and Chicago mobster who could have been sentenced to many more years behind bars.

For decades, Mario Rainone has been known in outfit circles as "The Arm" for his talent at muscling people. Rainone was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison Wednesday for being a felon in possession of a gun.

While that may seem like a stiff sentence for a simple gun charge, the government actually wanted Rainone to get 25 years in consideration of his resume as a mob enforcer and all-around bad guy.

"We thought it was going to be a higher sentence and we were very surprised, and we were very happy," said Joe "The Shark" Lopez, Rainone co-counsel.

Such exuberance comes when your client has been running the rackets for four decades. Rainone was adept at burglaries and beat-downs and became an outfit handyman - their go-to guy in the 1980s.

In court Wednesday, federal prosecutors hoped that Rainone's rap sheet and reputation as a career predator would have convinced judge Harry Leinenweber to throw the book at him on the single gun charge. Assistant U.S. Attorney Amar Bhachu told the judge that Rainone is one of the most dangerous individuals of his era.

"He obviously thought Mr. Rainone was different than some of these other criminals (Scalise, et al) that he had sentenced in the past and took into account the crime that he was charged with, and he also took into account the age and the nature and circumstances of the offense," said Lisa Lopez, Rainone co-counsel.

Rainone claims to have left the outfit in 1989 when he realized that he was actually the target of a hit he was sent to commit. But his cooperation with the FBI was short-lived.

Even behind bars once at the Oxford Penitentiary, Rainone couldn't stay out of trouble.

He was busted for bribing guards to smuggle in contraband, but as his attorney Joe "The Shark" Lopez said in court, "... it wasn't drugs or anything like that," it was

just "salami and some other Italian food products."

After court, Lopez said Rainone has health problems and the judge showed mercy.

"I think that he felt that Mr. Rainone has finally reached his pinnacle, this was his swan song, this is the end of it," Lopez said. "And when Mr. Rainone is released and he's going to have five years supervised release with this judge."

Whether you call him "Rainonee," "Rainone," or just "The Arm," there is one thing that his lawyer says he shouldn't be called, and that is a snitch. According the Lopez law firm, there has never been an offer to cooperate or any interest in cooperating. He just wants to get this case behind him.

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