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posted: 3/13/2010 12:01 AM

Feds charge suburban men with mob-connected mail fraud

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An Inverness owner of an equipment-rental company and a Darien man who allegedly claimed to be a member of the "Chicago Outfit" were charged with mail fraud Friday in federal court over a bid-rigging scheme at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago.

Rudolph Fratto, 66, of Darien, was charged along with William Anthony Degironemo, 66, of Inverness. According to the indictment, Fratto, who also goes by the nicknames "The Chin" and "Uncle Rudy," identified himself as a member of the "Chicago Outfit" to an unidentified individual who worked for Greyhound Exposition Services on McCormick Place contracts and also owed money to Cleveland mobsters. Fratto allegedly offered to intercede on the individual's behalf on his "debt to Cleveland" in exchange for swinging a forklift contract to Degironemo's business, MidStates Equipment Rentals.

The indictment says they discussed leaving MidStates' bid blank, to be filled in by the individual at the last moment, but that instead they received information on competing firms and outbid them when the convention forklift contract was awarded in January 2006.

Both were charged with mail fraud over letters others were compelled to write stating that MidStates was a reliable forklift company, when, in fact, "MidStates was not actively involved in the forklift business," the indictment stated.

Degironemo, who according to the indictment goes by the name "Billy D," was also charged with lying to FBI agents.

The mail-fraud count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and making false statements a maximum of five years, both with a possible fine of $250,000.

Fratto recently pleaded guilty to tax evasion. He was released on $200,000 bond with home confinement. Degironimo will be arraigned at a later date.

Degironemo could not be reached for comment, and Fratto's attorney did not return a call for comment.

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