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Reputed Mob Leader Enters Guilty Plea

January 01, 1986|United Press International

KANSAS CITY — A reputed organized crime leader, among eight men charged with skimming $2 million from Las Vegas casinos, pleaded guilty Tuesday to a racketeering charge and to having a hidden interest in the gambling houses.

Frank Balistrieri, 67, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison and fined $20,000 by Judge Joseph E. Stevens, said Lloyd Monroe, an attorney for the government's strike force.

Balistrieri pleaded guilty to maintaining a hidden interest in the Stardust and Fremont casinos. Both casinos were owned by the Argent Corp., which the government says was formed with loans from Teamsters Union pension funds.

6 Counts Dismissed

Balistrieri, a reputed organized crime leader from Milwaukee, also pleaded guilty to interstate travel in aid of racketeering.

Six other counts against Balistrieri were dismissed in return for the guilty pleas. His sentence was the maximum allowed for the two counts, Monroe said.

Court statements Tuesday said Balistrieri aided the interstate travel of defendant John Phillip Cerone of Chicago on Jan. 11, 1979. Cerone allegedly was traveling to Kansas City to meet with other co-conspirators to discuss the gaming interests of the Argent Corp. casinos, Monroe said.

Balistrieri is serving a sentence for a 1984 conviction of extortion and managing an illegal gambling operation. His health has been deteriorating for several weeks, culminating in severe internal bleeding, Monroe said.

Transferred to Hospital

He will be transferred to the U.S. Federal Medical Center for Prisoners in Springfield, Mo., for treatment, Monroe said.

In addition to Cerone, 71, Balistrieri was on trial with his two sons, Joseph P. Balistrieri, 45, and John Joseph Balistrieri, 37, both of Milwaukee; Joseph Lombardo, 56, Angelo LaPietro, 60, and Joseph John Aiuppa, 77, all of Chicago; and Milton Rockman, 73, of Cleveland.

The men are charged with using influence with the Teamsters Union to gain hidden control over the Argent Corp.

The trial of the remaining seven defendants will resume Thursday.

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