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Monday, March 29, 2004

Detroit Mafia cases wrap up

Feds won't appeal this time, ending decades-long ordeal






GROSSE POINTE PARK — The government’s long prosecution of the Detroit Mafia, which began with secret FBI recordings of mob meetings in the late 1970s, has finally come to an end.

Jack W. Tocco, the convicted boss of Detroit’s La Cosa Nostra, paid $950,000 this month to settle up financially with the U.S. government. And federal prosecutors decided not to press for more prison time.

“It has been a long ordeal for everyone involved, and we are all pleased that it is apparently over,” said Jim Bellanca Jr., an attorney for the convicted Grosse Pointe Park mobster.

Federal prosecutors and U.S. Judge John Corbett O’Meara have been wrestling over Tocco’s prison sentence since 1998. O’Meara first sentenced Tocco to a year and a day. The government, which wanted him to serve 20 years, successfully appealed, and O’Meara added 22 months to the prison term. The government appealed again, and O’Meara sentenced Tocco in December to time served — the 34 months he had previously been imprisoned.

“I would like the privilege of dying at home with my family,” Tocco, 76, told O’Meara.

Federal prosecutors decided this time not to appeal, effectively ending the case.

In 1998, Tocco — who owned Hazel Park racetrack — and three associates were convicted of 50 counts after a 1996 indictment of 17 men that the Detroit FBI said “drove a stake through the heart of La Cosa Nostra” in the Motor City. Thirteen were convicted while one man died awaiting trial. The government dropped charges against two men, and one was acquitted.

Among those convicted with Tocco were his cousin, Nove Tocco; and Anthony Corrado and his nephew, Paul Corrado.

After he testified against Jack W. Tocco at a sentencing hearing in 2000, Nove Tocco received a reduced sentence. He has since been released from prison. Anthony Corrado died in October 2002 in prison. Paul Corrado, 45, is in the federal prison in Milan.

As for Detroit’s other mobsters:

* Reputed mob captain Anthony “Tony Jack” Giacalone died in 2001 without standing trial on 14 counts that included racketeering, conspiracy and extortion. Giacalone was scheduled to meet with former Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa in 1975 when Hoffa disappeared from the parking lot of a Bloomfield Hills restaurant.

* In January, convicted mobster Anthony Zerilli, Tocco’s cousin, drew a 71-month prison sentence for his 2002 conviction on seven counts of racketeering and extortion. He wants out of prison, citing failing health; the government opposes his release.

* Mafia captain Vito “Billy Jack” Giacalone, 80, of Clinton Township, who is Anthony’s brother, is scheduled to be released in July. Giacalone of Clinton Township served three years in the early 1990s after being convicted of hiding $410,000 from the IRS. In January 1998, he pleaded guilty to racketeering. The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Giacalone still owes $284,000 in illegal profits the court ordered forfeited.

The case against the Detroit mob began in June 1979 when FBI agents secretly recorded a Dexter Township meeting of mobsters, who named Jack W. Tocco boss of the Detroit La Cosa Nostra. The FBI investigated for 17 years before it brought the central indictments in 1996.

You can reach David Shepardson at (313) 222-2028 or

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