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Rudy Fratto waits inside the lobby of the Everett McKinley Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago

By Annie Sweeney, Tribune reporter

Rudy Fratto, a  reputed Chicago  Mobster in the Chicago Outfit pleaded guilty Thursday to a bid-rigging scheme involving forklift contracts for two trade expositions at McCormick Place.

Fratto, nicknamed “the Chin,” admitted he and a co-defendant used confidential pricing information about competitors’ bids to undercut the competition and come in with the low bid.

Fratto, who pleaded guilty to a single count of mail fraud, faces up to two years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines, according to his plea agreement. He remains free on bond until his scheduled sentencing on Feb. 28.

At the hearing in federal court, Fratto, 67, of Darien, told U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber that he occasionally sees a doctor and takes medicine for migraines. To ensure Fratto was clear-headed enough to enter a guilty plea, the judge asked if he had suffered any migraines in the last few days.

“No, remarkably,” said Fratto, wearing a pinstriped suit over a V-neck sweater.

Fratto, an alleged made mob member connected to an Elmwood Park street crew, held himself out as a Chicago Outfit figure during the bid-rigging scam, authorities alleged in charging him last year.

A consultant for a Las Vegas exposition firm who owed $350,000 to organized-crime figures in Cleveland leaked the confidential information on competitors’ bidding in late 2005 after Fratto agreed to intervene with the Ohio mobsters, prosecutors said.

Armed with the inside information, Fratto’s co-defendant, William Anthony Degironemo, submitted the lowest bids for two trade shows at McCormick in 2006, prosecutors said. With Fratto’s knowledge, Degironemo also provided documents claiming that MidStates was a leader in the forklift business for more than 20 years and up to the task — all false, according to prosecutors.

MidStates won the contracts but was never able to deliver the forklifts, prosecutors said.

By fall 2008, concerned that a grand jury might be investigating, Fratto advised the consultant not to testify, according to his plea agreement. Fratto assured him that neither he nor Degironemo would talk and then told him that the government would never be able to prove a case “as long as it don’t come out of your mouth,” prosecutors said.

Degironemo, 67, of Inverness, pleaded guilty last week to mail fraud and is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 16. read more  Click here: Reputed mob lieutenant pleads guilty to bid-rigging scam at McCormick Place –

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