The Other Indictment

Mob gambling scheme

The charges against Chicago alderman Isaac Carothers cast a huge shadow on a far more colorful - and heinous - indictment announced by federal prosecutors on Thursday that would have gotten much more attention on any other day.

After all, consider the opening to this Tribune report:

"With the protection of two suburban police officers, a reputed mob figure allegedly helped run a violent ring that pulled off jewelry heists, stole cars, committed arson, intimidated witnesses and bombed a competitor's video poker business.

"The federal indictment unsealed Thursday charged that since 2001, the enterprise took in nearly $1.9 million by robbing jewelry stores in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin and its other illegal activities.

"Michael Sarno, a reputed Outfit figure nicknamed 'the Large Guy,' allegedly led the enterprise's illegal gambling wing and played a key role in the 2003 bombing of C&S Coin Operated Amusements in Berwyn."

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald wouldn't call the crime spree a mob venture, but the Sun-Times reports that Sarno "has been described as 'Outfit Member A' in a federal court filings relating to the pipe bombing."

"When it comes to the world of organized crime, not many have done it better than Michael Sarno," writes April Gardner of Casino Gambling Web.

The FBI at one time ranked Sarno as the fifth biggest threat to mob turncoat Nicholas Calabrese.

The current case seems to stem in part from a raid by authorities of Sarno's Westchester home last summer. Sarno has a long criminal history, though, befitting a reputed mobster.

In an earlier case, Sarno was once furloughed from jail so he could get married. "He also was reported by federal investigators to have severely beaten a rival and acquaintance, Michael Giamarusti, whom Sarno had caught sleeping in Sarno's fiancee's apartment," notes Sarno's Wikipedia page.

Steve Rhodes is the editor and publisher of The Beachwood Reporter. He profiled Joey "the Clown" Lombardo for Chicago magazine in October 2005.

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