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Tag: Chicago

Chicago Area Businessman Pleads to Assaulting FBI Agent

illinioisBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A suburban Chicago business man, who was charged with assaulting an FBI agent, has decided to stop gambling on his fate.

John Esposito, a Franklin Park businessman, agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor after a jury failed to reach a verdict on Monday on felony charges, the Chicago Tribune reported.

His attorney James Streicker told the Tribune that the jury was split in half and his client decided to go for a sure thing rather than take a chance with a new trial.

Esposito got into a a scuffle with agent Brian Etchell, who had come to his business to investigate suspected fraud. The two ended up rolling on the ground during a confrontation.

Advocates Ask For More Flexibility in Fed Sentencing Guidelines

The system needs flexibility when it comes to sentencing. In some instances, the guidelines just don’t make sense. All we can ask for is that the sentence befits the crime.jail

By Kari Lydersen
Washington Post Staff Writer
CHICAGO — Advocates for added flexibility in criminal sentencing took their appeal to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, which heard testimony here Wednesday and Thursday as part of the agency’s first nationwide series of public hearings since federal sentencing guidelines took effect 22 years ago.

Criminal justice reform proponents have long pushed the federal government to back alternatives to incarceration and more flexible sentencing for drug, child pornography and other convictions.

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85-Year Old Chicago Mobster Still Has Soft Spot for Al Capone

Chicago Mobster Sam Valpendesto may be 85. He may appreciate a good early bird special meal. And he may be eligible for a senior discount at the movies. But he’s still very dangerous, prosecutors insist. A judge agreed.

Al Capone/fbi photo

Al Capone/fbi photo

By MIKE ROBINSON
The Associated Press
CHICAGO –– Even at age 85, reputed mobster Sam Volpendesto clearly has a soft spot for the days when Al Capone was boss in Chicago’s ruthless mob scene. In wiretap recordings released by federal prosecutors Monday, he seems to delight in telling how he lived among “very dangerous people” and watched one mobster put a human body through a meat grinder.

Prosecutors argued that Volpendesto is still a dangerous man, and only six years ago set off a pipe bomb that demolished a video poker company in Chicago’s suburban Berwyn. No one was injured, but prosecutors said it was a warning to stay away from the mob’s gambling monopoly in the area.

The recordings made by a confidential informant in May 2005 are part of a sweeping federal racketeering case. Volpendesto, diminutive and white bearded, is among seven men accused of plotting to carry out burglaries, robberies, arsons and other crimes dating back to 2001.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Sidney Schenkier seemed to agree with prosecutors and on Monday denied bail for Volpendesto, who has pleaded not guilty to racketeering and other charges. He has sought bail several times since his arrest last summer.

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Woman Offers Undercover FBI Agent Swimming Pool and Gas Money to Kill Ex-Boyfriend

illinois-map1The FBI suggested this was the first time a murder-for-hire case began with text messaging. The woman wasn’t exactly offering the world for the murder: an above-ground swimming pool and $200 in gas money. She could have at least thrown in a couple inflatable rafts for the pool in the whole deal.

By Steve Schmadeke
Chicago Tribune reporter
CHICAGO — An Indiana woman offered an undercover FBI agent posing as a professional hit man her above-ground swimming pool and $200 in gas money to kill an ex-boyfriend who wanted custody of one of her children, federal authorities in Chicago charged Tuesday.

Heidi Friedburg, 30, and her current boyfriend, William C. Alexander, 31, of New Carlisle, Ind., were arrested Monday as they unloaded Friedburg’s disassembled swimming pool to seal the deal with the would-be hit man in a south suburban parking lot.

Ross Rice, the FBI spokesman in Chicago, said he believed it was the first murder-for-hire case that began with text messages — and without a doubt the first time a pool had been offered as payment.

“How low can we go?” said Rice, who indicated the swimming pool had been seized as evidence.

Shortly after her Illinois ex-boyfriend filed a paternity lawsuit, Friedburg asked a former co-worker via text message to help find a hit man, the criminal complaint stated. The co-worker contacted the FBI the same day.

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Transportation Security Adm. Workers to Patrol Chicago Commuter Trains

chicago-commuter-trainYes, the same folks who tell you to take off your shoes, put your laptop in a separate bin, make sure you don’t have any coins in your pocket, are coming aboard the Chicago Metra trains.

Mark Brown
The Chicago Sun-Times
CHICAGO — Remember how a Secret Service agent boarded a Metra train this past winter while wearing his gun, which freaked out a ticket agent, who alerted police, who called in a SWAT team, which freaked out the rest of the passengers as the heavily armed officers swooped down on the unsuspecting Secret Service guy?

Well, consider this a public service announcement in the interest of making sure our suburban rail commuters don’t get another scare like that.

Metra is alerting its riders that they will soon see federal Transportation Security Administration personnel patrolling their commuter trains.

The so-called VIPR teams — that’s short for Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response and pronounced “viper” for those of you keen on law enforcement acronyms — will consist of federal air marshals, transportation security officers, TSA-certified canine teams, surface transportation security inspectors and local law enforcement.

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FBI Arrests White Supremacist Blogger on Charges of Threatening Lives of 3 Chicago Judges

Hal Turner/msnbc photo

Hal Turner/msnbc photo

The white supremacists movement seems to be grabbing headlines as of  late. A white supremacist killed a guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington a few weeks ago. Now we’ve got the arrest of Hal Turner. The movement, which has become more disorganized in recent years with the deaths of key leaders, is trying to make inroads. The FBI is concerned the ailing economy and the election of an African American president could help recruiting.

By The Associated Press
CHICAGO – A white supremacist blogger was arrested at his New Jersey home Wednesday and charged with threatening to assault or murder three Chicago-based judges who refused to overturn local ordinances banning handguns.

Hal Turner, 47, a former Internet radio talk show host, was taken into custody by FBI agents who went to his North Bergen home with a search warrant, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Prosecutors quoted a Turner Internet posting as saying: “Let me be the first to say this plainly: These judges deserve to be killed.”

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Chicago Fed Prosecutors Trying to Determine if ex-Gov Blago Used Influence in College Admissions

Ex-Gov. Blagojevich in happier days

Ex-Gov. Blagojevich in happier days

Some how you figured there might to be more suspicious activity involving ex-Gov. Blagojevich that went beyond his thick indictment. You also figure U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald plans to bury the ex-gov one way or another.

By KAREN ANN CULLOTTA
New York Times
CHICAGO – Federal prosecutors are trying to determine if former Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich and his allies used political muscle to influence student admissions at three state universities.

United States Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald issued subpoenas this week seeking admissions office records from the University of Illinois, Northern Illinois University and Southern Illinois University. The request was related to Mr. Blagojevich and three of his co-defendants on criminal corruption charges, William Cellini, Christopher Kelly and Alonzo Monk.

The investigation also seeks records related to Antoin Rezko, a Chicago businessman and political operative, who last June was convicted of fraud and bribery.

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Reputed Chicago Mob boss Michael “The Large Guy” Sarno, a Cop and 5 Others Indicted

chicagomap

MIKE ROBINSON
Associated Press
CHICAGO – A reputed mob boss, a police officer and five other men were charged Thursday in a sweeping racketeering indictment that alleges eight years of armed robberies, burglaries, jewel thefts and arson based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Michael “The Large Guy” Sarno, 51, of Westchester allegedly masterminded much of the group’s illegal activity, including a February 2003 pipe-bomb explosion that wrecked the storefront offices of a company distributing video poker machines.

Prosecutors say the bombing was a message from organized crime to stop intruding on its $13-million-a-year video poker gambling business.

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