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UNITED STATES v. INFELISE

July 15, 1993

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
ROCCO ERNEST INFELISE and ROBERT BELLAVIA


Williams


The opinion of the court was delivered by: ANN CLAIRE WILLIAMS

On March 10, 1992, the jury in this five defendant trial reached its verdict. The jury found defendant Rocco Ernest Infelise guilty on Counts 1-2, 6-7, 12-17, and 33-42 of the indictment. *fn1" With respect to Count 1, the jury found Infelise guilty of all charged unlawful debts and Racketeering Acts 5(a)-(c), 6-7, 10(a)-(b), 11(a)-(b), 17(a), 24, and 26. *fn2" The jury found Infelise not guilty of Racketeering Acts 8 and 9(a), and could not reach a verdict on Racketeering Act 17(b). *fn3" The jury also could not reach verdicts on Counts 8-9. *fn4"

 The jury found defendant Robert Bellavia guilty on Counts 1, 2, and 6 of the indictment. *fn5" With respect to Count 1, the jury found Bellavia guilty of Unlawful Debt 4 and Racketeering Acts 5(a), 17(a), and 24. *fn6" The jury could not reach verdicts on Racketeering Act 17(b), and Counts 8-9. *fn7"

 This case is currently before the court on defendants Infelise's and Bellavia's objections to their presentence investigation reports ("PSIs") and the government's motion for upward departure. *fn8" For the reasons stated below, this court finds that Infelise's total adjusted offense level is 43, his criminal history category is IV, and his guideline sentence is life in prison. This court also finds that Bellavia's total adjusted offense level is 43, his criminal history category is I, and his guideline sentence is life in prison. Since none of the counts for which Infelise and Bellavia were convicted bear a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, this court will impose consecutive sentences on all counts.

 Given the length of this opinion, the court has provided a Table of Contents.

 Table of Contents

 I. Background

 
A. Overview of the Ferriola Street Crew's Illegal Activities
 
1. Illegal Gambling Operation
 
2. The Collection of Unlawful Debts
 
3. Payoffs and Bribes
 
4. Hal Smith's Murder
 
B. Defendants Infelise's and Bellavia's Roles in the Ferriola Street Crew
 
1. Infelise's Role
 
2. Bellavia's Role

 II. The Objections to the PSIs and the Government's Motion for Upward Departure

 
A. Joint Objections
 
1. Defendants' and the Government's Proposed Calculations
 
2. Defendants' Accountability for Hal Smith's Death
 
3. The Masters Decision
 
4. The Application of the Masters Decision to This Case
 
a. Enhancements for More Than Minimal Planning, Use of a Dangerous Weapon, and Degree of Bodily Injury
 
b. Enhancement for Pecuniary Motive for Smith's Murder
 
c. Enhancement for the Physical Restraint of the Victim
 
B. Objections Only Applicable to Infelise
 
1. Enhancement for Serving as an Organizer or Leader
 
2. Enhancement for Obstruction of Justice
 
C. Objections Only Applicable to Bellavia
 
1. Enhancement for Serving as a Supervisor or Manager
 
2. Reduction for Being a Minor Participant and Enhancement for Obstruction of Justice
 
D. Conclusions Regarding Infelise's and Bellavia's Objections
 
E. The Government's Motion for an Upward Departure for the Conspiracy to Murder Hal Smith
 
1. The Application of U.S.S.G. ยง 5K2.1
 
2. The Extent of the Upward Departure
 
3. Infelise's Argument Against the Imposition of Consecutive Sentences
 
4. Infelise's Comparison of His Sentence to the Maximum Sentence for Career Offenders
 
5. Infelise's Ex Post Facto Argument
 
6. Summary of the Court's Ruling
 
F. Other Upward Departure Issues and Enhancements
 
1. Upward Departure for Participation in Organized Crime
 
2. Objections Regarding Other Offense Level Calculations
 
a. The Calculation of Infelise's Offense Levels for Racketeering Acts 6, 10(a), and 11(a)
 
b. The Calculation of Infelise's Offense Level for Racketeering Act 26
 
d. Relevant Conduct
 
(i) Infelise's Extortion of Ken Eto
 
(ii) Infelise's Extortion of Gerald Kurth
 
(iii) Bellavia's Collection of Juice Loan Payments for "Romi's Guy"
 
e. The Calculation of Infelise's Offense Level for Unlawful Debt 23
 
f. The Calculation of Bellavia's Criminal History Category

 III. Conclusion

 Background

 A. Overview of the Ferriola Street Crew's Illegal Activities

 This case involves the illegal activities of one operating unit of the Chicago Outfit or mob known as the Ferriola Street Crew. *fn9" This crew existed primarily to provide income to its members through: (1) the operation of various illegal gambling businesses such as sports bookmaking, parlay cards, and casino games, (2) the collection of "juice" or interest on usurious loans made by the crew, (3) the collection of "street tax" or money from individuals engaged in illegal or quasi-illegal businesses, and (4) the use of these proceeds in the criminal enterprise and other business ventures. *fn10" To conceal their actions, the crew also provided monetary payments to crew members who refused to testify against the crew, instructed potential grand jury witnesses to lie, and attempted to and bribed various police officers, judges, and other political officials.

 From 1979 through the indictment in this case, the Ferriola Street Crew was involved in several illegal gambling businesses including a sports bookmaking business, two parlay card businesses from 1979 through 1983, floating blackjack games, and a casino. DeLaurentis also operated gambling rooms in 1982 and a floating dice game from 1986 through 1989 on behalf of the crew.

 From 1976 through 1979, defendant William Jahoda operated a sports bookmaking business with Sam Sammarco. In early 1979, Jahoda told Sammarco that he wanted to switch to another bookmaking group and later told Sammarco that he would be working with Infelise. Shortly thereafter, Jahoda had several meetings with Infelise regarding setting up a bookmaking business. In the spring of 1979, Jahoda and representatives of the Ferriola Street crew agreed to form a bookmaking partnership by which profits would be split evenly between Jahoda, Infelise, and the crew. Jahoda was given responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the gambling operation including supervision of the wirerooms. Jahoda reported to Infelise on almost a daily basis regarding daily operations. This partnership continued until 1988 and generated profits of approximately $ 8 million.

 In 1988, Jahoda was arrested twice for operating illegal blackjack games for the crew. As a result, Infelise replaced Jahoda with DeLaurentis, who became a partner and assumed responsibility for the day-to-day management of their gambling operation. *fn11" Defendant William DiDomenico acted as DeLaurentis' principal assistant. Jahoda remained involved in the business as a 50/50 bookmaker. *fn12"

 Many other defendants were involved in the sports bookmaking business. For example, Bellavia was a collector and a supervisor for the operation. He also supervised the bookmaking activities of Freddie Braun. Marino started as an agent *fn13" and later became a collections supervisor. Marino also supervised the bookmaking activities of Homer Gonzalez for the crew. Michael Zitello acted, at various times, as an agent, 50/50 bookmaker, wireroom clerk, manager, and collector. Robert Covone, Ronald DeRosa, and Frank Maltese were agents, James Coniglio was a 50/50 bookmaker and a collector, James Nicholas was a 50/50 bookmaker, and Thomas McCandless and Robert Garrison were 50/50 bookmakers and wireroom clerks. Paul Spano permitted his business, Flash Interstate Delivery System, Inc. ("Flash Trucking") to be used as a meeting place and operations center for the business. He also kept money at Flash for use in the crew's bookmaking business.

 From 1979 through 1983, the crew operated a parlay card business. This operation was initially operated by Infelise, Marino, DeLaurentis, Jahoda, and George Miller. During this time, parlay cards were distributed through agents. In the early 1980's, DeLaurentis attempted to take over all the parlay card businesses in Lake County, Illinois. During the business' later period, it was operated by Infelise, Jahoda, DeLaurentis, Michael Sarno, James Damopoulos, and others. Sarno provided the parlay cards for distribution.

 From 1986 through 1988, the crew also operated a floating blackjack game managed by Jahoda under Infelise's supervision. Bellavia, Garrison, Nicholas, and Damopoulos acted as agents for this game. The blackjack games' net profits were split equally between Infelise, Jahoda, Ferriola, and Chuck Burge. The games were rigged through the use of professional card cheats and mirrored shoes. In total, approximately 24 floating blackjack games were held and nearly $ 1 million in profits was generated.

 And, in the spring and summer of 1982, the crew operated a casino in a house in Libertyville, Illinois known as the Rouse House. The casino was managed by Jahoda under Infelise's supervision. The casino had rigged blackjack and craps games. Marino, DeLaurentis, McCandless, and Zitello worked at the casino, and DeLaurentis, McCandless, Zitello, and others provided players for the games. Casino profits were split equally between Infelise, Jahoda, Ferriola, and the crew. During its operation, the casino generated approximately $ 500,000 in profits.

 The Ferriola Street Crew also collected unlawful debts, including gambling debts from losing bettors and interest and principal payments on juice loans. Interest on juice loans varied from 10% per month to 10% per week. Losing bettors who were unable to pay their gambling debts often were given juice loans for the balance of their gambling debts. *fn14" The crew also provided bankrolls to crew members and other from which to make juice loans and from which the crew received a percentage of the money obtained. *fn15"

  Beginning in approximately 1974, the crew also sought to control all independent sports bookmaking businesses, particularly in northern Cook, Lake, and McHenry Counties, Illinois. *fn16" The crew forced independent bookmakers to either pay the crew a monthly street tax, make the crew a partner in their bookmaking business, or get out of the business. Partnerships were usually 50% partnerships by which the crew and the bookmaker would share profits and losses on a 50/50 basis.

 In the late 1970's and early 1980's, the crew expanded this operation to include collecting street tax from houses of prostitution and adult book stores. During the early 1980's, the crew also attempted to take over independent parlay card gambling businesses and independent high stakes card games. Violence or the threat of violence was used by crew members to maintain control over the independent operators. *fn17"

 The Ferriola Street Crew also made great efforts to conceal their illegal activity. For example, the crew provided monetary payments to imprisoned members who refused to testify against the crew. During the grand jury investigation of this case, crew members Garrison, Nicholas, John Caulderullo, and Anthony Petronella, and street tax victim Chuck Cesario were subpoenaed to testify, asserted their Fifth Amendment privilege, were immunized, and still refused to testify before the grand jury. All five were ultimately incarcerated for civil contempt. While incarcerated, they received cash payments which were deducted from the crew's profits. *fn18" Crew members Jahoda, Harry Aleman, and Jerry Scalise also received cash payments from the crew during or after their imprisonment for various offenses. *fn19"

 Crew members also instructed potential grand jury witnesses to lie. For example, DeLaurentis told street tax victim Gerry Otto to lie to the grand jury. Infelise and R.J. McDonnell joked about the "story" agent Navorat Boonpituk told to the grand jury. And, DeLaurentis and DiDomenico created a story for undercover agent Larry Weeks *fn20" to tell authorities if he was contacted regarding their Lake Geneva bribery scheme.

 In addition, crew members attempted to and bribed police officers, judges, and other political officials to assure the acquittal of crew members indicted on criminal charges and for police protection for the crew's gambling operation. *fn21" For example, in 1977, Robert Cooley fixed a murder trial for Aleman. On Pat Marcy's instructions, Cooley paid $ 10,000 to the presiding judge to fix the case. *fn22" Aleman was subsequently acquitted in a bench trial.

 In 1981, Ken Eto made a series of monthly $ 1,000 payments to John Monteleone through Infelise and Marino. These payments were to buy police protection from the Vice Control Division of the Chicago Police Department for Eto's monte game.

 In 1982, Pat Gervais paid a total of $ 12,000 to the crew for permission to operation his house of prostitution in Lake County, Illinois. DeLaurentis and Marino told Gervais that his $ 3,000 per month payment would take care of the crew and the Lake County Sheriff's Department, and that the sheriff's department would give him advance warning of any raids or investigations. Gervais received such a warning about a raid in March 1982.

 Also in 1982, Infelise instructed Jahoda to give him $ 1,500 per month out of the Rouse House casino profits so that he could bribe the Lake County Sheriff to get advance notice of raids. Infelise told Jahoda that Ferriola had a contact in the sheriff's department and Infelise had a "hot phone" installed in the casino where the advance raid warnings would be received.

 From 1982 through the fall of 1986, the Outfit and the Ferriola Street Crew also controlled the issuance of liquor licenses through Steve Bayovich, the Liquor Control Commissioner in Cicero, Illinois. This was originally accomplished through Bucky Ortenzi, but after Ortenzi's death in 1986, Infelise took over for him. In 1986, Infelise agreed to obtain a Cicero liquor license for a client of Robert J. McDonnell. During this period, monthly bribe payments were made to Bayovich.

 In 1986, Infelise, through Pat Marcy and others, bribed his federal probation officer by finding the probation officer's son a job. The probation officer's son interviewed with Frank Maltese and Dino Marino, Louis Marino's son and a high ranking employee at the Town of Cicero Department of Public Works ("DPW"), and was ultimately employed by DPW.

 In 1987, DeLaurentis informed Jahoda that he paid $ 1,000 per month to the Forest Park Police Chief to protect the crew's floating craps game. Shortly thereafter, Infelise told Jahoda that the game had been moved to the Argo/Willow Springs area and that protection money was being paid there.

 In 1988, Infelise told Jahoda that he had been giving $ 5,000 per month to Undersheriff of Cook County James Dvorak to be forwarded to the Cook County Sheriff for protection. In the fall of 1988, Infelise told Jahoda that this payoff bad been increased to $ 10,000 per month. In September 1989, Infelise again confirmed to Jahoda that the crew was paying Dvorak monthly payoffs and that $ 35,000 in crew funds were being paid each month to incarcerated crew members and "the coppers."

 In February 1988, Jahoda was arrested by the Illinois State Police for operating a blackjack game at the Arlington Hilton Hotel in Arlington, Illinois. From the time of his arrest through the fall of 1989, Jahoda had a series of conversations with Infelise, DeLaurentis, and Maltese regarding payoffs they were offering to three Cook County judges to fix Jahoda's case. Infelise told Jahoda that he believed something could be done to have the first judge on the case, Judge Christy Berkos, take care of Jahoda's case.

 In the summer of 1988, Maltese told Infelise and Jahoda that he had met with Berkos and that Berkos was holding out for a trip for two to Hawaii. Berkos denies having been offered a bribe, but acknowledges that he received strange contacts while assigned to Jahoda's case. In early 1989, Berkos recused himself from the case because he knew one of Jahoda's family members. The second judge on the case, Judge Thomas Hett, also recused himself during the summer of 1989 because he knew one of Jahoda's family members. After Hett's recusal, Infelise told Jahoda that Maltese had met with Hett and that Hett would have been given $ 7,500 to take care of the case. Later, Infelise and DeLaurentis told Jahoda that the third judge assigned to his case, Judge Richard Neville, would be paid $ 10,000 to fix the case. According to Infelise, Pat Marcy was to handle it. The State eventually dismissed the case on its own motion.

 In September 1989, Garrison wanted to run a regular high stakes poker game in Lake County, Illinois. DeLaurentis gave him permission to operate this game on the condition that Garrison pay the crew half of his profits and $ 250 per month for police protection.

 Also in 1989, at DeLaurentis' request, Rocco Pellettiere attempted to make a payoff to DeLaurentis' former brother-in-law, Lake County Deputy Sheriff Willie Smith. Pellettiere offered Smith $ 500 per month for his approval to place DeLaurentis' joker poker machines in certain Lake County bars and early warning of any police raids on those bars. DeLaurentis later confirmed to Jahoda his belief that Smith had been bribed to permit them to operate illegal gambling activities in Lake County, Illinois.

 Every Christmas, Infelise also instructed Jahoda to give him or DeLaurentis money from the bookmaking business to payoff various individuals in the Cook County Sheriff's Department. Upon DeLaurentis' demand, Lake County bookmaker Gerry Otto also paid $ 1,000 per year into this "Christmas fund." These payoffs ranged from $ 1,500-$ 5,000 per year.

 Infelise, DeLaurentis, and Jahoda also engaged in a scheme with undercover agent Larry Weeks to bribe a local Wisconsin zoning official to gain favorable treatment in their efforts to get commercial/industrial property near Lake Geneva, Illinois zoned as residential property. This bribe was to be financed by a $ 50,000 juice loan to Weeks from funds provided by Infelise, DeLaurentis, and Jahoda. At Infelise's direction, Jahoda obtained the $ 50,000 to give Weeks from money Spano kept for the crew at Flash Trucking. Jahoda then repaid Infelise for his and DeLaurentis' share of the juice loan. DiDomenico subsequently delivered DeLaurentis' share of the loan to reimburse Jahoda.

 Some members of the crew were also responsible for conspiring to murder independent bookmaker Hal Smith. *fn23" Since at least 1981, Smith was aware of the efforts of the Ferriola Street Crew, particularly Marino and DeLaurentis, to impose a street tax on independent bookmakers in Lake County or force them to become partners with the crew. Smith resisted these efforts. In March 1983, the IRS seized $ 600,000 in cash from Smith's home during a highly publicized raid. After this raid, the crew stepped up its efforts to gain control over Smith's bookmaking operation. For six months in 1983, Smith and his partners, Dave Puhl and Phil Janis, paid DeLaurentis $ 3,000 per month in street tax.

 In the fall of 1983, DeLaurentis arranged a meeting with Janis and Robbie Hildebrandt, one of Smith and Janis' phone clerks. At this meeting, DeLaurentis told Janis and Hildebrandt that they and Smith would have to pay street tax. When Hildebrandt told Smith about the meeting, Smith said "fuck that little guinea" and told Hildebrandt that he would take care of it. Janis retired to Florida shortly thereafter.

 In late February or early March 1984, DeLaurentis again contacted Hildebrandt about paying street tax. At a subsequent meeting, DeLaurentis told Hildebrandt and Smith that Smith had to pay $ 6,000 per month in street tax. Smith offered $ 3,000 and then $ 3,500, but DeLaurentis refused these offers. Smith then said, "Now you get nothing." A very loud and public argument ensued in which Smith made numerous ethnic slurs about DeLaurentis. DeLaurentis told Hildebrandt that he was going to get a "slap" and told Smith that he was going to be "trunk music." Smith's refusal to pay street tax motivated some members of the crew to conspire to kill him.

 In the spring of 1984, Infelise asked Jahoda to show him where Smith lived. Thereafter, Infelise, Marino, and Bellavia went looking for Smith. Infelise asked Jahoda to set up meetings with Smith so that they could observe him. In the fall of 1984, Infelise instructed Jahoda to keep in contact with Smith.

 On or about February 5, 1985, Infelise ordered Jahoda to bring Smith to Jahoda's house in Long Grove, Illinois. Jahoda arranged for Smith to meet him at a bar on February 7, 1985. Jahoda reported this arrangement to Infelise and told Infelise that he would try to get Smith to come back to his house with him.

 On February 7, 1985, Infelise, Marino, and Bellavia came to Jahoda's house. Infelise told Jahoda that only he and Smith should come to his house, preferably in Smith's car, Smith should enter the house alone through the kitchen, and Jahoda should try not to go in the house. Later that day, Jahoda met Smith at the bar and brought him back to his house as instructed. Jahoda told Smith to go in through the kitchen while he pretended to go over to his mailbox. Jahoda saw Infelise, Marino, and Bellavia in the house after he arrived with Smith. The last time Jahoda saw Smith, he was dazed and slumped on the floor with Infelise, Marino, and Bellavia surrounding him.

 Later that evening, Jahoda returned home and found his house empty. Jahoda noticed that part of the kitchen floor had been mopped. Infelise then called Jahoda and told him to look for a cigar and glasses which Marino thought had been left behind. Jahoda looked for these items but could not find them. Both items were later recovered from Smith's car by the Arlington Heights Police. Jahoda left for Mexico the next day.

 Smith's body was found in the trunk of his car on February 10, 1985. The coroner who examined Smith's body concluded that Smith died of strangulation. The coroner also found that Smith had been tortured because Smith had been severely beaten about the head and face, he had numerous superficial incisions and cuts in his neck and chest, and his throat was slit. None of these cuts were fatal.

 While in Mexico, Jahoda received a phone call from Infelise who told him that Smith's body had been found. Alter Jahoda returned from Mexico, he met with Infelise. Infelise told him that they were all "hot" because of "that thing," and Jahoda was particularly hot. Infelise commented that the murder of Chuckie English was a good distraction and would take the heat off the Smith murder. In subsequent conversations, Infelise told Jahoda that Smith was a snitch and Ferriola wanted to thank him for "that Smith thing."

 While working as a government informant, Jahoda obtained consensually recorded conversations with Infelise and Bellavia regarding Smith's murder. *fn24" Jahoda told them that "Officer Friendly," a supposed crooked police officer, had passed on bits of information about the Smith murder investigation to him. On October 25, 1989, Jahoda showed Infelise a list of clues supposedly gathered by the police regarding the murder, including cigarette evidence left at the crime scene and a reference to the route the police believed Smith's car took the night he was murdered.

 After reading the list, Infelise stated: "when you tell me something like this, you think I could go home and sleep, without having this information? It might not be important to you, but maybe I know more than you do. Do you understand, you know?" Infelise also questioned the accuracy of the police notes on Smith's car. He stated: "The car, right? It come from there to your house. It went all the way to mother fuckin' Arlington Heights. That's where they found the car. So how could the speedometer only have three miles on it." Government Exhibit 453.

 On October 30, 1989, in a consensually recorded conversation, Bellavia and Jahoda also discussed the Smith murder. Jahoda discussed his concern that little clues might have been inadvertently left which would trace the murder to them:

  
Jahoda: Here's a fucking success. I just want to point out an error or two. He should never have picked up that phone. The biggest break we got is the next day. I don't know if he told you this. Cook County's all over ...

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