Judge grants compassionate release to alleged mob enforcer

Updated 6/22/2020 8:37 PM

CHICAGO -- A federal judge on Monday ordered the release from prison of an alleged organized crime enforcer who is said to have health issues that place him at heightened risk from coronavirus.

Mario Rainone, 65, has spent nearly half of his life in prison for extorting borrowers with death threats and throwing a grenade onto a theater roof in an effort to take over the business, among other crimes. He was serving time for gun possession.


Rainone asked for release to home confinement last month, saying prostate cancer, liver disease and heart problems make him susceptible to COVID-19. Court records show U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber rejected prosecutors' objections and granted Rainone's request, ordering prison officials to release him for time served.

'The court is optimistic that Rainone understands that given his long criminal history and his advancing age, he is likely to spend the rest of his natural life imprisoned if he breaks the law again,' Leinenweber wrote, noting Rainone's last conviction for violent crime was more than 30 years ago.

Rainone was released from prison in in 2006 after serving time for racketeering and extortion and was not allowed to have a firearm. Then, in 2009, authorities found a stolen Smith & Wesson revolver during a search of his home. Leinenweber gave Rainone a mandatory minimum 15-year sentence

Assistant U.S. Attorney Amarjeet Bhachu said Rainone's prostate cancer had been successfully treated seven years earlier, and he accused Rainone of misleading the judge.

Defense attorney Joseph Lopez argued Rainone has been a model prisoner and is no longer a threat to society. He requested to live with his daughter and grandchildren outside Chicago and work at his brother's jewelry business.

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