After a visit from Mark Dziuban and his hired goons, a Wisconsin businessman slept with a gun under his pillow.
He kept another in his car and he looked over his shoulder every hour of every day, prosecutors said. He owed Dziuban more than $100,000. And Dziuban had warned him in 2010: “You don’t want these guys to come back here.”
It wasn’t the first time Dziuban employed men working for extortionist Paul Carparelli to collect a debt. It wouldn’t be the last. But U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang said Monday “it really should have ended” with the Wisconsin businessman.
“You sat there as he became frozen in fear,” Chang told Dziuban.
Then he sentenced Dziuban to 46 months in prison as a reminder that society is not governed “by the will of the stronger man.”
The sentence came five months after a jury convicted Dziuban on three extortion counts for attempting to collect on massive debts from people in Las Vegas, Wisconsin and New Jersey. Dziuban’s attorney, Jeffrey Steinback, made a lengthy plea for leniency. The 54-year-old Dziuban, who was already in federal custody, also apologized to his victims and his family.
“I accept why I am here,” Dziuban said. “I did this to myself. I apologize.”
Steinback called the crime an aberration in his client’s otherwise generous lifetime. He said Dziuban prays “every single day,” plays an essential role in the care of an adult family member and has spent his life trying to help others. Once, he said Dziuban paid for a struggling family to take an all-inclusive vacation around Christmas time.
“Mark Dziuban is a truly extraordinary individual,” Steinback said.
But prosecutors said the part-owner of the American Litho printing company became “greedy” and “angry” when sales dropped in 2009 — affecting his bottom line — and debtors weren’t paying up. Dziuban turned to his longtime business associate, Frank Orlando, for help collecting. Orlando put him in touch with Carparelli, who prosecutors say has ties to the Chicago Outfit.
Prosecutors said Dziuban agreed to pay for Carparelli and George Brown — who has been described in court as a “300-pound muscle guy” — to travel to Las Vegas to collect on a debt of “several hundred thousand dollars.” They were unsuccessful.
Next, Dziuban personally flew Brown and Vito Iozzo to confront the Wisconsin businessman at a Fuddrucker’s restaurant. The man’s company owed American Litho more than $172,000, prosecutors said. Iozzo copied the businessman’s home address off his driver’s license, and the men persuaded him to give up his new Ford Mustang.
The businessman wet himself, and the men laughed about it later, prosecutors said.
Finally, Dziuban paid for Brown, Iozzo and Robert McManus to travel east to confront a man whose New Jersey company owed American Litho $146,000, prosecutors said.
Brown wound up cooperating with federal authorities, though, and Carparelli and his crew were indicted in a series of extortion plots. Chang sentenced Iozzo to 38 months in prison in March, Orlando to 46 months in April, and McManus to five years in May. Carparelli has pleaded guilty but has not been sentenced.
Dziuban’s day in court drew several friends and family members to Chang’s courtroom. Some watched in tears as Dziuban told the judge, “nobody deserves to be threatened under any condition or circumstance.” Dressed in orange jail garb, he also quoted Proverbs and said, “as in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects man.”
Soon he was led away. But as people in the gallery called out to him, he looked back one more time.
One of their voices said simply, “Bye, Dad.”