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United States v. Polchan

October 1, 2010

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
MARK POLCHAN, MICHAEL SARNO, ALSO KNOWN AS, "BIG MIKE, "MIKEY," "LARGE," AND "THE LARGE GUY," SAMUEL VOLPENDESTO, ANTHONY VOLPENDESTO, AND CASEY SZAFLARSKI



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Ronald A. Guzmán

Memorandum Opinion and Order Determining Defendant Polchan's Motion to Preclude Hearsay Admissions or in the Alternative, Motion for Severance [#202], Supplemental Severance Motion [#279], and Szaflarski's Motion for Severance [#303]

The defendants are charged in a multiple count indictment with racketeering conspiracy (Count One), illegal gambling (Count Two), arson, conspiracy to commit arson and use of a destructive device in connection with the bombing of C & S Coin Operated Amusements (Counts Three through Five), conspiring to obstruct justice (Counts Six and Seven), receipt of goods stolen from interstate and foreign shipments (Count Eight), and multiple related tax fraud offenses (Counts Nine through Sixteen). In connection with their association with this enterprise, the defendants are alleged to have engaged in a wide array of crimes between 2001 through the date of the return of the indictment. Those crimes included certain of the substantive offenses listed above, as well as robbery, access device fraud, and interstate transportation of stolen goods, for the purpose of generating money for themselves.

The government gathered the evidence it intends to use in this prosecution in a variety of ways, including: wire taps, hidden microphones and cameras, consensually recorded conversations by cooperating individuals. According to the government, the evidence so gathered established that Sam Volpendesto and Mark Polchan were involved in the bombing of C & S Coin Operated Amusements in 2003; that Polchan utilized the Goldman Jewelers as a place to buy and sell a variety of stolen merchandise, and to coordinate an illegal gambling business and other illegal activities with Michael Sarno, that Anthony Volpendesto provided stolen goods to Polchan until his arrest; that Dino Vitalo, a corrupt Cicero police officer, provided law enforcement sensitive information to Polchan in an effort to uncover and thwart the federal investigation, and that Szaflarski participated in conducting the enterprise's illegal gambling business.

Polchan moves to exclude conversations between Mark Hay and Anthony Volpendesto, or in the alternative for severance. Specifically, Polchan moves to exclude the following conversations:

February 17, 2005 Recording: Near the end of the conversation, and in reference to Polchan, Volpendesto remarked, "at least he (Polchan) could give me an old pinball machine; I blew up enough of them."

March 25, 2005 Recording: Volpendesto complained about "working" with Polchan; claiming Polchan never does any of the "work." Volpendesto explained that, on the night of the alleged bombing, there was a "cop" sitting at gas station at 16th and Ridgeland in Berwyn near the location of C&S and that Polchan told Volpendesto that he was worried about the cop and wanted to "wait til' the cop left" to do the bombing.

May 17, 2005 Recording: In reference to the bombing of C&S Amusement, Volpendesto stated:

"we blew part of that away."

Volpendesto explained that it was "Mark" [Polchan] who involved Volpendesto in the bombing:

"Mark was the original guy that knew what the fuck it was about, you know what I mean?"

"Goldberg [Polchan] made money [from the bombing], I made shit,"

"yeah, a brown van, that's not what we had,"

"we laughed the next day when we found out that they (the police) were saying it was a van."

CW also relays to Volpendesto that he told "Goldberg" that a brown van had been spotted at the scene of the bombing to which ...


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