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Five Lose Appeals in Casino Skimming Case

May 16, 1988

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Five reputed organized crime figures convicted two years ago of skimming $2 million in gambling proceeds from two Las Vegas casinos lost Supreme Court appeals today.

The court, without comment, refused to hear arguments that the five were denied a fair trial and were not properly sentenced on a variety of criminal- conspiracy charges.

The five include Joseph J. Aiuppa, 80, and John P. Cerone, 71, described by federal prosecutors as the boss and underboss of the mob in Chicago.

Also convicted were Joseph ″Joey the Clown″ Lombardo, 60, a reputed mob assassin from Chicago; Angelo LaPietra, 67, of Chicago; and Milton J. Rockman, 75, described as the financial brains of organized crime in Cleveland.

Their sentences - some of which were amended last February by U.S. District Judge Joseph E. Stevens Jr. - include lengthy prison terms, fines and restitution payments. All five are now imprisoned.

Auippa was sentenced to 28 1/2 years in prison, Cerone to 24 1/2 years, Lombardo and LaPietra to 14 years, and Rockman to 21.

Federal prosecutors said the five participated in a conspiracy to gain and maintain a hidden interest in the Stardust and Fremont casinos, owned by Allen Glick’s Argent Corp.

The government said the conspiracy was put into motion through influence over trustees of the Central States Pension Fund of the Teamsters Union. The trustees lent Glick $87.7 million in 1974 to buy and remodel his two casinos.

Glick testified as a government witness at the 1986 trial that he was told to contact Frank P. Balistrieri, reputed head of the Milwaukee mob, when he sought a $62.7 million pension fund loan to buy the casinos.

Glick said Balistrieri said he could help Glick get the loan, and that the trustees soon approved it and an additional $25 million for remodeling. Glick testified that he later was forced out of Argent Corp.

Balistrieri, 69, pleaded guilty to criminal charges and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Four others named in the federal government’s 1983 indictment - Anthony Chiavola Sr. and his son, Anthony Jr., both of Chicago, and Carl Civella and Peter Tamburello, both of Kansas City - also pleaded guilty.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the convictions last Oct. 8.

Its opinion noted that from 1979 to 1981 Aiuppa, Cerone, Lombardo and Rockman ″took measures to support Roy Williams to succeed Frank Fitzsimmons as Teamsters president and later to support Jackie Presser to succeed Williams in order to maintain the conspirators’ influence with the Teamsters union.″

Presser was elevated to the Teamsters presidency in 1983 after Williams was convicted of conspiring to offer a bribe to former U.S. Sen. Howard Cannon, D- Nev., in an effort to defeat deregulation of the trucking industry. Williams is serving a 10-year prison sentence.

Presser, who has been receiving cancer treatments, last week announced he is taking a temporary leave of absence from his union presidency. He is scheduled to stand trial in July on federal charges in connection with an allegedly mob-inspired scheme to pad the payroll at a Teamsters local in Cleveland that Presser also leads.

The cases are Aiuppa vs. U.S., 87-1365; LaPietra vs. U.S., 87-1409; Cerone vs. U.S., 87-1419; Lombardo vs. U.S., 87-1446; and Rockman vs. U.S., 87-1543.

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