Paul Carparelli’s own lawyers call him a “hothead,” a “big mouth” and a mobster “wannabe.”
But when the reputed Cicero Street Crew member faced a federal judge for sentencing Wednesday, he hit the nail on the head with four words: “I have anger issues.”
“My big mouth gets me into trouble,” Carparelli told U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman.
The man caught by the feds on thousands of profanity-laced recordings acknowledged it’s “as if I have no filter” before Coleman sentenced him to three and a half years in prison for a series of extortion conspiracies. As she did so, the judge agreed that Carparelli’s mouth turned out to be a boon to prosecutors.
“The defendant made it easy for them,” Coleman said. “Gave them lots to work with.”
Carparelli’s f-bombs echoed through Coleman’s stately courtroom as prosecutors played some highlights of Carparelli’s conversations with George Brown, a 300-pound mixed-martial arts fighter who wound up cooperating with the feds as they prosecuted Carparelli and several of his associates.
“This is the way I have to live my life,” Carparelli, now 47, said on one of the recordings made in 2011. “I’ve been doing it all my life. I’m 43 years old, I’m not about to change right now. I don’t think I’m about to change, so if somebody tells me something, I have to f—ing listen. It’s not that I have to, I wanna listen to it. Because this is what I’m made of, this is where I f—ing come from and I’m f—ing proud of it.”
Carparelli’s lawyers have denied his mob ties — they’ve said he simply watched “The Godfather” and “The Sopranos” too often. But Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather McShain tried to connect Carparelli to the Outfit through his relationships with top Chicago mobster Michael “The Large Guy” Sarno, ranking Outlaw motorcycle gang member Mark Polchan and others. She said Carparelli was indeed a “wannabe.”
“Paul Carparelli is a wannabe made member of the Chicago Outfit,” McShain said.
Meanwhile, defense attorney Charles Nesbit pleaded to the judge that Carparelli needed to be home with his son, who just entered high school and has health issues. Carparelli appeared to tear up when Nesbit made his appeal.
“He needs to come home, and his son needs to know when he’s coming home,” Nesbit said.
Carparelli pleaded guilty in May to his central role in a series of extortion conspiracies around Chicago as well as in Las Vegas, the East Coast and one in Wisconsin that caused the victim to wet his pants and give up a Ford Mustang out of fear of Carparelli’s goons.
By the time Carparelli admitted his guilt, the judge had already tossed him in jail for allegedly threatening fellow extortionist Vito Iozzo, who was sentenced to 38 months in prison last year. The feds, who did not name Iozzo directly, say Carparelli yelled at one of Iozzo’s employees. Carparelli’s lawyers later identified Iozzo in court records.
“Tell [Iozzo] he is a f—ing rat,” Carparelli allegedly said. “Tell him he knows what happens to rats.”
They also said Carparelli threatened a business partner as recently as August in an email sent from the Metropolitan Correctional Center. His lawyers deny the email was a threat.
The feds captured the reputed Cicero Street Crew member’s colorful way with words on thousands of secret recordings as he bossed Brown around, ordered up brutal beatings, and concerned himself only with the hierarchy of the Chicago Outfit.
While demanding that the “f—ing thorough beating” of a car salesman in Melrose Park include broken legs, he allegedly added, “Hey, in that situation, if it’s your legs or not, what’s the f—in’ difference, you ain’t movin’.”
Other times, the feds say he described the beatings more simply: “Guy gets out of his car. Boom, boom, boom. That’s it.”
The feds said Carparelli committed to the mob life and claimed to live by three cardinal rules:
“As long as you don’t steal from me, f— my wife or rat on me, you’re my friend 1,000 percent,” Carparelli said in October 2011. “Do you hear that? Do you hear those three things I just told you?”
Carparelli started out as a member of the 12th Street Players before becoming a member of the Cicero Street Crew, prosecutors allege.